Like coffee grounds and banana peels, eggshells are a common household item you can reuse for your garden. It might seem odd to save the shells after cracking a few eggs, but eggshells are surprisingly beneficial to indoor plants. Calcium carbonate is the primary component of eggshells, and using crushed eggshells in potted plants allows you to increase the amount of calcium your plants take in.
Although you might not think calcium is vital for a plant’s nutrition, calcium is an essential nutrient for plant growth. While using crushed egg shells for an extra calcium boost won’t solve every problem your plant faces, plants that lack calcium are more susceptible to diseases like blossom end rot.
While a calcium deficiency does not always lead to diseases, a lack of calcium causes visible problems with your plant’s leaves. Potted plants that don’t receive enough calcium grow small and misshapen leaves, and these leaves develop brown spots that spread across the leaf.
- Are Eggshells Good for Potted Plants?
- How to Use Eggshells in Potted Plants
- Amending Potting Soil with Crushed Eggshells
- Creating Liquid Fertilizer from Eggshells
- Homemade Eggshell Fertilizer for Potted Plants
- How to Improve Drainage with Eggshells
- Repurpose Eggshells into Seed Starters
- Deter Slugs by Using Eggshells in Potted Plants
- Which Plants Benefit from Eggshells?
- How Effective is Eggshell Fertilizer?
Are Eggshells Good for Potted Plants?
Using crushed shells as fertilizer for your potted plants is only one way to use eggshells with plants. Continue reading to learn the various benefits of pairing eggshells and potted plants.
Using eggshells is a simple and natural method for boosting the calcium intake of your houseplants; however, there is more to using eggshells than mixing crushed shells with your potting soil. Saving eggshells for use in gardening comes with many perks and unique ways to benefit your plants.
How to Use Eggshells in Potted Plants
Crushing eggshells into a fine powder is the most efficient method for providing your plants with calcium from eggshells. Although eggshells won’t give your plant all the necessary nutrients, using ground eggshell powder rivals some commercial calcium soil amendments. Epsom salt works also great for potted plants, as it provides magnesium that plants need.
However, if you plan on using eggshells differently and aren’t looking to boost calcium, using larger chunks instead of powdered eggshells may benefit you more. Regardless of how you plan on using eggshells, it’s essential to know how to prepare them.
Avoid using freshly cracked shells because the added moisture and egg protein may lead to diseases in your soil, and the smell attracts pests. To prepare your eggshells, thoroughly rinse them to remove any raw egg protein. Once clean, leave your shells in the sun to dry or place them in the oven for ten minutes at 200°F.
After drying, the eggshells should feel fragile like glass and break if tapped on a plate. How you crush your shells depends on the desired texture. Crushing them in a bag with a rolling pin provides shards while grinding with a food processor gives you powdered eggshells.
Amending Potting Soil with Crushed Eggshells
For those familiar with container gardening, reusing potting soil isn’t new. Many home gardeners grow one plant in a container, and as the growing season ends and they’ve completed their harvest, the soil gets reused for another plant.
Using eggshells is one method for helping retain the nutrients in your potting soil as you transition between plants. To give garden soil or potting mix a boost of calcium, roughly crush your eggshells and sprinkle them across the soil. Use your hands or a gardening tool to dig the shells into the soil, allowing them to degrade over time.
To eliminate bugs that may be lurking in soil that you reuse, try adding some diatomaceous earth to the mix, for houseplants use diatomaceous earth to improve plant health and rid it of unwanted pests and diseases.
Creating Liquid Fertilizer from Eggshells
Are eggshells good for potted plants? Yes, their benefits go beyond including leftover eggshells around your houseplants. Another way to take advantage of the calcium that eggshells provide is to soak eggshells in water to create eggshell tea.
Eggshell tea provides your plants with water and nutrients from an organic matter source. Add apple cider vinegar and Epsom salt to create an ideal homemade eggshell fertilizer for potted plants.
To make a batch of eggshell tea, set aside at least ten eggshells to clean and dry, then crush your shells in a food processor. Bring your water to a boil and add the eggshells. Leave your shells to boil for at least five minutes, then let your eggshell water cool.
While cooling, add apple cider vinegar to assist with pulling the calcium from your shells. Epsom salt is an optional addition to your eggshell tea, but it helps your plant’s roots absorb nutrients and increases chlorophyll production.
Pour your water into a container with a lid to allow it to steep for two days before straining the water to use on your plants. Water your plants as usual with your calcium-enriched eggshell tea.
Homemade Eggshell Fertilizer for Potted Plants
How to put eggshells in potted plants? Once you crush your eggshells, to use eggshells for established plants, grab a handful of crushed shells, sprinkle them over the top of your plant’s soil, and water the plant.
The water helps carry some of the smaller eggshells down to the base of your plant near the roots. The more you water your plant, the more the shells move throughout your plant’s container.
Eggshells are often used in homemade fertilizer for squash and zucchini and a host of other veggies and plants, whether in a pot or the garden. They are part of any natural elderberry fertilizer, too. When repotting plants or planting for the first time, add the crushed shells with the potting soil. For repotted plants, create a layer of crushed shells below the root ball.
How to Improve Drainage with Eggshells
To use eggshells with your plants without creating an eggshell fertilizer, lightly crushed shells make an excellent drainage layer in plant containers. Before sowing seeds or while repotting, add a layer of crushed shells to the bottom of your plant’s container.
Adding a layer of shells before pouring potting soil into the container creates a layer to help drainage. Some home gardeners use stones in the bottom of their containers, but by using eggshells, you also gain the benefit of the shells breaking down and providing your plants with calcium over time. This calcium boost is essential for tomato plants that are heavy feeders.
Repurpose Eggshells into Seed Starters
Eggshells are an inexpensive method to start growing small plants. The eggshells are roughly the same size as seed trays; however, unlike plastic seed trays, using an eggshell planter is a biodegradable option for seed starting.
Choose shells that have at least half of their shell intact for germinating seeds. Wash and dry your eggshells and place them back into the egg carton. Fill the shell with potting soil and plant your seeds inside.
Place a cloth or paper towel under the carton and water your seeds until they sprout. When you’re ready to transplant your seedlings into larger pots, crack the bottom of the eggshell and directly plant it into the new pot.
Deter Slugs by Using Eggshells in Potted Plants
If you leave your potted plants outside to grow, you risk them coming under attack by garden pests. Row covers and natural insecticides are the ideal solutions for most pests; however, not every pest flies. Snails and slugs are common pests, especially when growing lettuce. Their presence around your plants is evident by the slimy trails they leave behind.
To deter these pests, add eggshells around the base of your plants. Lightly crush your eggshells to retain their sharp edges, then layer your shells around the plant’s base. The sharp edges of the eggshells dig and cut into their bodies and may pierce them, causing them to die.
Which Plants Benefit from Eggshells?
Calcium is a nutrient that every plant benefits from, but you may find that certain plants benefit from powdered eggshell fertilizer or crushed shells layered on top of their soil. Eggshells provide plants with nutrients they may miss from not growing in the ground.
Blossom end rot is a severe threat to nightshade plants like tomatoes. Once infected, blossom end rot causes rotted spots to develop on your crop. To help avoid a calcium deficiency, include crushed eggshells in the potting mix.
Plants like marigolds are often victims of snails and slugs. To keep these pests away, layer shells in the soil to create a sharp terrain to deter them from feeding on your plant.
How Effective is Eggshell Fertilizer?
To get the full benefit of calcium from eggshells, we need them to decompose and break down. This process takes a long time, and using large eggshell chunks means you’re less likely to get all the benefits eggshells offer. Aside from calcium, eggshells provide trace amounts of nitrogen, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus, all essential to healthy plant growth.
Even when ground to a powder, eggshells cannot provide your plants with all the nutrition they need. Eggshells work best when combined with other organic fertilizers or when mixed into your compost pile.
Are eggshells good for potted plants? Yes, eggshells provide potted plants with many benefits, from a calcium boost to natural pest control. If you’re growing potted plants and are looking for a simple and creative way to help your plant grow healthy, we suggest reusing eggshells to help your plant grow.
We hope our guide on how to use eggshells in potted plants helped you and that you’ll share our tips on making a homemade eggshell fertilizer for potted plants with your fellow home gardeners on Facebook and Pinterest.