Bougainvillea plant is grown for its aesthetic appeal. Its array of blossoms colours include in red, pink, white and orange.
Though you can grow this plant in container like houseplants, but it needs good amount of fertilizers to produce coloured blossoms.
Can you use kitchen leftovers to fertilize this ornamental plant?
Eggshells are found in every kitchen, can they be used to enrich the growing soil of bougainvillea?
Eggshells have organic matter that can give much needed nitrogen to your potting soil. It also includes 0.38 ratio of phosphorus and 0.14 of potassium. But, they need to be decomposed to add these nutrients to the soil.
Use of eggshells in garden is surrounded by myths and few facts. This write will help to answer the query, are eggshells good for bougainvillea?
Few informative lines on Bougainvillea
This hardy tropical ornamental plant can be grown in hardiness USDA zones 9 to 11. Young bougainvillea plants can’t survive temperature below 40F.
True flowers of this flowering plant are small white or yellow in color covered with petals like leaves. Often people assume its petal like bracts to be flowers.
As mentioned, this plant needs regular fertilizing to be able to produce colorful blossoms.
Nitrogen and phosphate rich fertilizers will boost the formation of foliage and plant blooms extensively in growing season. (Source)
You can use liquid fertilizers after every 2 weeks.
Avoid using general fertilizer; a well-balanced fertilizer does well to your plant.
Also Read: Best Potting Soil for Jade Plants?
How can eggshells benefit your plants?
Eggshells include calcium carbonate that contributes to strengthen plant cell walls.
Similarly, other nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium are housed in this kitchen leftover.
White membrane in eggshells includes organic matter that enriches growing soil.
Alternatively, you can add crushed eggshells to compost bin.
Pulverized eggshells can improve drainage ability of your potting soil.
But, can eggshells replace store bought fertilizers? Should you stop using other organic fertilizers? This will answered in below section.
Are Eggshells Good for Bougainvillea Plant?
You already knew nutritional value of eggshells, but these leftovers must be decomposed to reap its nutrients.
Nutrients and minerals in eggshells are not ready to be used by plants. They must undergo decomposition process to be available for plants.
So, your plant can’t depend on this fertilizer to enrich its soil.
Eggshells can’t replace your store bought fertilizer.
And adding this home available leftover won’t show instant effect on your plant.
It’s a slow releasing fertilizer, which may take months to make your soil fertile.
Is it worthless to use eggshells for bougainvillea plant?
Instead of throwing leftovers and adding wastage burden on earth, you can use eggshells to make your garden soil fertile.
It demands some time, but with a green thumb gardeners don’t like to litter around.
So, it is worthy to use eggshells to fertile bougainvillea. But, there are few myths surrounding its use. Let me address it in simple points.
Check this out: Can I Use Eggshells for Peace Lily?
Gardening Myths: Eggshells
It is important differentiate facts from myths; else your bougainvillea plant may face the wrath.
- Small sharp edges of eggshells won’t stop or deter slugs and snails.
- As mentioned already, it is a slow releasing fertilizer that needs to be decomposed initially to be used to enrich plant. Use of powdered eggshells won’t stop blossom end rot not it reduce calcium deficiency issues.
- Eggshells can’t be an ideal way to start seed germination.
Note: It is important that you know how to use eggshells for plant grown in containers. Else, the moisture left with its shells can trigger infestation.
How to Use Eggshells for Bougainvillea Plant?
Let me make this clear.
Eggshells aren’t the ideal way to fertilize your bougainvillea, indeed there are other organic rich fertilizers that can make the growing soil fertile.
But, instead of throwing them it is worthy to be used for plants.
You may end-up ruining your plant if you don’t follow the instructions while using eggshells.
You can use eggshells for bougainvillea plant in 3 notable ways.
- Add to compost bin.
- Mix it with potting soil.
- Spread the eggshell powder over top layer of the soil.
Before that, to avoid bacterial infestation due to the leftover moisture in eggshells prepare them.
- Wash eggshells in water to remove leftover egg white.
- Dry them under sunlight for 2-3 days.
- Grind the dried eggshells to powder.
- This eggshell powder is readily available to use to compost or potting soil.
Adding to Compost Bin
Pulverized eggshell powder can acts as organic matter. In your compost bin this eggshells may take months to be decomposed and it slowly release nitrogen and calcium to the compost.
You can use this compost to fertilize bougainvillea.
Read more on composting on this site (informative).
Using Eggshells while Planting
Bougainvillea plant grows in well-drained soil. You can add powdered eggshells to this potting mix soil.
Apart from improving drainage ability of your potting soil (to some extent), pulverized eggshells can enrich your soil with nutrients in long run.
Spread on Top Layer of the Soil
Alternatively, you can just spread powdered eggshells around the bougainvillea plant and cover it with thin layer of soil.
Though it may not address calcium deficiency issue instantly, using eggshell powder will add nutrients and minerals when they get decomposed in coming months.
Growing Bougainvillea Plant
Based on how you want to grow, bougainvillea plant can be differentiated in different types, vines, bushy plants and compact varieties.
These plants grow well in sub-tropical to tropical climates.
To successfully grow bougainvillea plant you must ensure to provide adequate amount of light, consistent water, well-drained soil and fertilizers to enrich the growing medium.
- 8 hours of full sunlight will make this ornamental plant healthy and it blooms extensively. In colder climates, shift the bougainvillea plant pot indoors.
- Consistent watering helps the plant to produce its food. However, allow the plant to dry between watering.
- Mix 3 parts of potting soil with 1 part of cacti potting mix; this will ensure the plant gets well-drained soil.
- Extensive use of peat moss can hold extra water and result in root rot.
- Regular pruning will encourage the plant to produce blossoms and healthy foliage.
- Look out for pests and disease affected leaves regularly.
Eggshells are packed with essential nutrients and minerals that can benefit your bougainvillea plant.
But, it needs to be decomposed to be used by growing soil.
Washed, dried and powdered eggshells can be added to compost bin or potting soil.
Did you ever use eggshells to fertilize bougainvillea plant? Lets others know about your experience.
Khaja Moinuddin, a computer science graduate, finds joy in gardening and homesteading. Join him on this blog as he shares his experiences in homesteading, gardening, and composting