Aside from water, not many people know exactly what to feed their plants (in fact, a surprising number don’t even have water on their list). While there are many store bought fertilizers and plant foods available, there are plenty of less-mainstream, more-weird options that have also been proven to keep plants alive. The following are just some of the weirdest things people feed to plants.
Although feeding a bucket of flies to a rose bush won’t do a ton of good, feeding them to a Venus flytrap is the only way to keep it alive. The Venus flytrap has tiny hair triggers on its surface that allows it to snap shut when contacted by any outside prey. Although it is not the only carnivorous plant, it is certainly the most popular. Fans of musical theatre know this fact well, as a musical about an oversized, man-eating plant is one of the most popular shows of all-time (Oklahoma by Rogers and Hammerstein).
2. Bone Meal
An excellent source of slow-released phosphorous and calcium, bone meal was once used as a calcium supplement for humans. That was before it was discovered to be contaminated with lead, full of toxic metals, and the primary cause of Mad Cow Disease. Since plants are neither cows nor people, bone meal still serves an excellent fertilizer for phosphorous-hungry plants. Although it seems counterintuitive to serve what was once meat to what could be salad, it is all part of the circle of life.
For proponents of cremation, nothing serves as an ideal plant food better than the charred remains of other plants. While ashes from firewood may seem like garbage, they can easily be reused as a cheap and effective plant food. Because wood ashes have a high alkalinity, they can be incredibly beneficial to plants such as hydrangeas, lilacs, and roses. These ashes also contain small amounts of calcium and potassium, which encourage blooming. It’s like the old saying goes, “when your soil needs alkalinity, throw some wood ash on it.”
Because bananas are high in potassium, they are an excellent source of potassium. Why not exploit this abundance of potassium by making a potassium-rich plant food from old banana peels? Potassium! Potassium is vital in plant nutrition. Because banana peels biodegrade, they can easily be added to soil in order to boost the overall health of plants. By mixing banana peels in with new soil or drying and grinding the peels into a spread, you can ensure that your plants are full, rich, and delicious with peanut butter.
Tea is high in nutrients and tannic acid, so it is particularly nourishing for plants. Not only that, but well placed tealeaves can be the fertilizer that keeps on fertilizing. While brewed tea can be poured directly into the soil, giving your garden a very potent shot of nutrients, un-brewed tealeaves can also be used, providing a slower, steadier drip of plant love. By putting tealeaves around plants just below the soil surface, new tea is brewed each time the plants are watered. No matter which deliver method you choose, using tea as a fertilizer will make your plants healthier, taller, and slightly more British.
While ashes are perfect for alkaline loving plants, coffee grounds are perfect for acidic-loving plants. For those plants needing a spicier taste, coffee is the new ash. Azaleas, evergreens, and rhododendrons are just some of the plants that thrive on acidic soil. Since coffee grounds are thrown out after one use (two if you’re a broke college student), it is an easy way to reuse your waste. It is also an easy way to ensure your flowers stay awake during road trips and business lectures.