Bananas have long been known for their value as a potassium rich part of a healthy diet. But studies have shown that plants benefit from the nutrients in bananas, particularly the skins, just as much as humans. In fact, banana peels not only carry large amounts of potassium and phosphorus, but they are also a good source of magnesium, sulfur, calcium and nitrogen. With so many plant loving minerals, banana skins are almost a fertilizer unto themselves.
Banana skins have been used by gardeners since the eighteenth century to grow beautiful, healthy roses. Rose growers of that era were apt to depend on "old wives tales" (a story that is thought to be true, but has never been proven) for gardening wisdom. As most people were poor and uneducated during that era, they often used food scraps for fertilizing purposes. Banana peels were often thrown into the bottom of a freshly dug hole before planting roses.Today, the attributes of the banana peel as a garden fertilizer have become much more than an old wives tale. Burying a chopped up banana peel amongst the soil in a rose garden will allow the nutrients to be released to the root system as the banana peels begin to decompose.
According to a field trial run by Jim Sherman, organic gardening consultant, the roots of tomato plants swaddled in banana peels produce tomatoes that are twice as big as plants grown without them. The large amounts of potassium in the banana skins are credited for producing such robust tomatoes. When interviewed by Alison Cook of Chron.com in 2006, he explained that the seedlings' roots will grow right through the banana peels as they decay. Banana peels are often chopped up and used with other organic fertilizers in the tomato garden. Crushed eggshell and banana peels are a common homemade fertilizer for tomatoes, but used coffee grounds are often thrown into the mix as well.
Corn Trees, Ivy and Other Houseplants
Use banana peels to dust or clean the leaves of your houseplants. Corn trees, in particular, will benefit from this treatment. Using the inside of a banana skin to clean and shine the leaves of a corn plant will leave your house with a fresh scent. Cut the banana peels into smaller pieces for more delicate plants such as Pothos Ivy.