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Compost Tea Is the Key to Healthy Plants—Here's How to Make It

You can use your food scraps to make tea for your plants. Here's how to make compost tea and why it's beneficial for your houseplants.

Written by
Stephanie Osmanski
Published

You know you’re a true plant parent when you’re always looking for new ways to help your indoor jungle grow big and strong. The answer, however, doesn't always have to do with how much light or water they're getting.

Karina Aldredge, the founder of Sacred Elements, says the key to big, strong, healthy plants is a mixture of organic materials you might normally add to your compost. Aka compost tea.

Aldredge's kitchen sink compost tea might not look appetizing to you, but it definitely does to your plants. It involves four different types of food waste: peels from bananas, the skins of onions, eggshells, and ground coffee bits. Instead of adding these food scraps to your compost, you let them soak—or, umm, steep?—in a pitcher of water or glass jar.

Like a homemade fertilizer of sorts, you can think of compost tea as a plant’s vitamins. It has been known to improve plants’ soil health and also boost their immune system, if you will, so that they can better fight off pests and disease.

"Add banana peels, onion skins, eggshells, and ground coffee," Aldredge says in the video. "Let it steep in water for 3 to 5 days and add it to your water for your houseplants and garden."

While steeping, some of the nutrients and microorganisms will leach from the composted organic materials and into the water. While the nutrient content from steeping is generally low, the microorganisms from the compost materials can really help a plant’s overall health, preventing root rot and other diseases.

The microorganisms found in compost tea are also thought to better aerate plants and improve their water retention, ability to absorb nutrients, and soil structure. Pretty impressive, huh?

If you want to make compost tea for your own plants, follow the simple instructions below.

How to Make Compost Tea for Your Plants

Ingredients:

Banana peels
Onion skins
Eggshells
Coffee grounds

Instructions:

1. Add scraps of banana peels, onion skins, eggshells, and ground coffee bits to a glass jar or pitcher.
2. Once the jar or pitcher is full of your compost scraps, fill it the rest of the way up with water.
3. Steep in water for anywhere from 3 to 5 days.
4. When the kitchen sink compost tea is properly steeped, strain the liquid. Then, water your plants with a 1:4 ratio of one part compost tea to four parts water.
5. Blend up the banana peels, onion skins, eggshells, and coffee grounds with water to create a compost smoothie. Use it to fertilize your garden.