3 Homemade Plant Fertilizers an Expert Swears By

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"The best part: You can use things you already have at home—no trip to the store required."

Sure, you can buy plant essentials at the store. But using what you already have at home is a great way to live sustainably and save money. That’s exactly why Nkhensani, the plant expert behind @hermerakai, is a fan of homemade plant fertilizer.

Fertilizing your houseplants is an important step, but it’s one plant parents often forget about. “In their natural environment, [plants] get nutrients from rain, droppings, other plants, and insects that are in their ecosystem,” she shared on Instagram. “When they’re in our homes, they need a bit of encouragement to help them grow.”

Now’s the perfect time to start using a homemade plant fertilizer: “Fertilizers are amazing to use during the summer and spring if you want to encourage happier, healthier, flourishing plants,” Nkhensani says. “I use fertilizer every two to three weeks on my plants.” And making one is easy. Here are three DIY homemade fertilizer options she recommends trying.

3 Homemade Plant Fertilizer Options to Try

1. Banana Peels

homemade plant fertilizer

Before composting banana peels, try using them to make fertilizer for your plants. “Place two or three banana peels in a mason jar with water,” Nkhensani says. “Leave it sealed for a week, and then after seven days, I’ll throw the peels out and use the banana peel water on my plants.”

Alternatively, Nkhensani says you can dry out the peels, grind them up, and mix them right into the soil. “I’ll usually do this when repotting a new plant that doesn’t look too happy,” she says. Just note: If you go this route, the drying-out step is crucial to preventing pests.

2. Eggshells

Give your eggshells a second life by transforming them into a homemade fertilizer. “Crush 12 eggshells and boil them in water. Then pour the water mixture into a bottle that holds about one liter of water and leave it for 3 to 4 days,” Nkhensani says. “Strain, then water your plants.”

If you really want to level-up your homemade plant fertilizer, try making compost tea. It uses eggshells, banana peels, coffee grounds, and other food waste.

3. Freshly-Cut Grass 

homemade plant fertilizer

Did you know that freshly-cut grass is chock-full of nutrients that plants love? “If you have freshly-cut grass clippings, you can pour water in a bucket and add the grass clippings,” Nkhensani says. “Let it soak for 3 to 4 days to allow the nutrients to release into the water, then water your plants.”

Curious about a zero waste lifestyle? Want to know what the “circular economy” really means? Subscribe to Brightly’s top-rated podcast, Good Together. Every 30-minute episode features daily, actionable tips to help you live your life more sustainably.

The best part: You can use things you already have at home—no trip to the store required.

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