Orchids are some of the most popular indoor plants because of their lovely blooms and unique beauty. However, to keep them healthy and thriving, orchids need proper care, including the right nutrients.
While commercial fertilizers are readily available, many orchid owners are looking for more natural ways to nourish their plants. Crushed eggshells have become a popular option for providing calcium and other minerals to orchids.
Are crushed eggshells good for orchids?
Yes, crushed eggshells can be good for orchids as they give a slow-release source of calcium, which is essential for orchid growth. Eggshell calcium can also help prevent the build-up of salts and chlorosis in orchids.
How Eggshells Benefits Orchids?
Eggshells are rich in calcium and a vital nutrient that orchids need to thrive well. When crushed, eggshells release calcium slowly over time, providing a slow-release source of this essential nutrient. This helps to prevent calcium deficiency in orchids, which can lead to weak stems, leaves, and blooms.
Moreover, eggshells can also help prevent the build-up of salts in orchid soil. Salt build-up can damage their roots and prevent them from absorbing nutrients properly. Eggshells act as a natural barrier to salt, which helps to protect orchids from this problem.
Furthermore, eggshells can help stop chlorosis in orchids, which is a condition that causes yellowing of the leaves. The calcium in eggshells helps to reduce the pH level of the soil, making it easier for orchids to absorb micronutrients and prevent chlorosis.
(Read my article: Where Should I Put My Orchid in My House?)
Nutrients needed by orchids
Like all plants, orchids also require nutrients to grow and thrive. Other than calcium in eggshells, orchids require other essential nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These nutrients are often found in commercial fertilizers and can be added to orchid soil to promote healthy growth.
Plants need nitrogen for growth as it aids in the production of chlorophyll, which is necessary for photosynthesis. Without enough nitrogen, orchids may have stunted growth and pale leaves.
Another one is phosphorus is necessary for the development of strong roots and blooms. A lack of phosphorus can lead to weak roots and poor flowering.
Potassium helps to regulate plant growth and is important for the overall health of orchids. It can also help orchids to better tolerate stressors such as drought or extreme temperatures.
Moreover, orchids also need micronutrients like iron, magnesium, and zinc. These nutrients are needed in smaller amounts but are still crucial for healthy growth.
Are Crushed Eggshells Good for Orchids?
Yes, eggshells are good for orchids and are a great source of calcium, which is a vital nutrient that orchids need to grow well.
When eggshells are crushed into small pieces, they release calcium slowly over time, which provides a natural slow-release source of this important nutrient. Calcium helps to prevent deficiencies in orchids and makes them thrive well.
But that’s not all! Crushed eggshells also help to stop the build-up of harmful salts in orchid soil. The calcium in eggshells works as a natural wall against salt, keeping your orchids healthy.
Moreover, as mentioned above, eggshells can help prevent chlorosis too.
Overall, crushed eggshells are an eco-friendly and affordable way to provide your orchids with the calcium they need to thrive. While they may not provide all the necessary nutrients that orchids need, they are a great addition to any orchid care routine.
How to Use Eggshells to Fertilize Orchids?
Using crushed eggshells to fertilize orchids is easy and simple. Here are some simple steps to follow –
- Save your used eggshells – After using eggs, rinse the eggshells thoroughly. Before using it, let them dry completely.
- Crush the eggshells – Once the eggshells dry out totally, crush the eggshells into small pieces. Be sure to do it correctly.
- Add the crushed eggshells to your orchid soil – Now, sprinkle the crushed eggshells on top of the soil around the base of your orchid. Be careful not to get any on the leaves or flowers.
- Water your orchid – Water your orchid as you normally would, and the crushed eggshells will slowly release calcium into the soil over time.
Crushed eggshells should not be used as the only source of fertilizer for your orchids. While they provide a natural source of calcium, orchids also need other essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to thrive.
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Myths About Using Eggshells
Here are some myths about using eggshells –
Myth – 1 Eggshells Stop Slugs and Snails
Have you heard that placing crushed eggshells around your plants can keep slugs and snails at bay? While it may seem like a logical solution, the truth is that eggshells alone are not an effective deterrent for these annoying garden pests.
Slugs and snails can easily glide over eggshells, and they may even be attracted to them as a source of calcium. To effectively control slugs and snails, it’s important to use other methods to prevent them.
Myth – 2 Eggshells Decompose Quickly in Compost Bins
Some people believed that eggshells break down quickly in compost bins, but the truth is not. While eggshells are certainly compostable but they do not break down as quickly as you think.
Eggshells are a slow-release fertilizer. This means that they may take several months to fully break down in a compost bin. If the eggshells are not crushed into small pieces, they may take even longer to decompose.
Despite their slow decomposition rate, eggshells are still a valuable addition to your compost bin.
Myth – 3 Eggshells Help to Prevent Blossom End Rot in Tomatoes, Aubergines and Peppers
Adding eggshells to the soil or compost doesn’t help prevent blossom end rot in tomatoes, aubergines, and peppers.
Commercial tomato, pepper, and aubergine growers do not use eggshells as a cure for blossom end rot. Even if the soil or compost is short of calcium, adding eggshells is unlikely to make a significant difference as the calcium in eggshells takes a long time to break down and become available to the plants.
Myth – 4 Eggshells are an Effective Organic Pesticide
Eggshells are not a reliable way to control pests in your garden. While they may have some pest-repelling properties as they can work as an insecticide against cotton leafworm infestations. But, they are not proven and effective organic pesticides.
In fact, relying solely on eggshells to control pests can lead to disappointment and frustration when they don’t work as expected. Instead, use a variety of proven pest-control methods for this.
Alternative natural fertilizers for orchids
Aside from using eggshells, there are some alternative natural fertilizers for orchids –
1. Epsom Salt
Epsom salt is a natural mineral compound made of magnesium and sulphate. It has many uses and is often used as a natural fertilizer for plants, including orchids. Epsom salt can help to enhance the absorption of nutrients in the soil, making it a great choice for promoting healthy growth in orchids.
Use Epsom salt as a fertilizer for orchids. All you need to do is mix one teaspoon of Epsom salt with one gallon of water and apply it to the soil once every month. Avoid over-fertilizing your orchids with Epsom salt as this can lead to salt build-up in the soil and cause damage to the roots.
Unpeeled potatoes can be a useful and affordable natural fertilizer for orchids. The starch and other nutrients in potatoes can provide essential elements like potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen to the plants.
Simply cut the potatoes into small pieces and boil them until they are well cooked. Once the potatoes have cooled down, add them to the bark in the pot. This will provide the orchids with potassium and phosphorus, which are important nutrients for healthy growth.
3. Rice water
Rice water can be used as a natural fertilizer for orchids. It’s easy to make rice water. After cooking rice in water, let the water cool down completely. And this water can be used to water your orchid’s plant. This water contains nutrients like nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, which can promote the growth and health of orchids.
There are many natural and alternative options for fertilizing orchids, and some of them may already be in your kitchen. Crushed eggshells are a popular option and good for your orchids. However, other options such as Epsom salt, unpeeled potatoes, and rice water can provide the necessary nutrients for healthy orchid growth.
Moreover, orchids have specific nutrient requirements and over-fertilization can be harmful. So it’s always best to be careful when adding fertilizer to your plant.