Banana water or banana compost tea fertilizer is an emerging DIY hack for your plants.
After eating bananas, utilize the peels in making this compost tea fertilizer.
While it is that talk of the town in being a homemade fertilizer, the jury is still out on whether it is good for your plants or not.
This article allows you to assess the advantages and harms of banana water.
Keep reading to know whether you should be using it on your plants.
But first, let’s find out what it is banana peel tea.
What is Banana Water?
Banana peel tea is similar to compost tea except that it only uses one source.
Here that is cut-up banana peels.
After you’re done eating your bananas, immerse the peels in water.
Gather 3 to 4 banana peels, a quart-sized jar, a pitcher or glass container and water to fill the container you choose.
You can simply add the peels to the water in the container to let it soak while the nutrients leach into the water.
Steep it for a few hours or a few days.
Or you can chop and pulverize the peels in a blender so that there is a seamless release of nutrients in the water.
You may also think about putting the pitcher in the fridge and adding banana peels over the weeks.
Nonetheless, ensure the container is closed so that molds do not form and use aeration tools to prevent fermenting of the peels.
The water will start to darken as the peel blacken too.
Now you can remove the peels and strain the liquid.
Water your plants with this liquid.
Another method of making it involves boiling.
After you have soaked the peels in the water for a few days, boil that water for about 30 to 45 minutes.
This further breaks down the fibers.
Next, allow the water to cool down and strain it.
During application, dilute it further to five parts of regular water for one part of this tea.
Others may suggest using fermented banana water for plants.
This includes using ripe bananas and brown sugar.
Keep it in an airtight container for two weeks till all nutrients leech into the water.
However, remember to dilute it before using the water on your plants as it will be strong enough.
Let’s find out whether this is good for your plants.
Is it Good?
Plant growth needs three essential macronutrients, potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus.
These are the basics of store-bought NPK fertilizers.
Bananas are higher in potassium content.
Though, surprisingly, they are not the only fruit with high potassium content.
The likes of kiwi, avocado and acorn squash have a higher potassium content.
Potassium improves the plants’ resistance to excess water and droughts, ensures plant quality and helps water and nutrients to move efficiently in the plant.
It also increases the resistance of the plant to pests, temperature fluctuations and nematodes.
It also establishes healthy roots of the plant, producing fruit and blossoms.
Hence, banana peels can help fruit-bearing and flowering plants.
A lack of all of this is detrimental to the plant.
Not getting enough potassium will be insufficient to defend the plant against droughts, excess water, diseases and pests.
You can tell when your plants are potassium-deficient.
The symptoms include curling leaf tips and yellow leaves where yellowing is between the leaf veins and the bottom of the plant.
Plus, there will be brown spots on older leaf’s veins as well as purple spots appearing at the leaf’s underside.
As a result, the overall plant growth may slow down or come to a halt.
Due to being rich in potassium, banana water gained popularity for acting as a compost tea fertilizer for your plants.
But (and it’s a big one), simply soaking the peels is not enough in extracting potassium for your plants.
Plants absorb nutrients that have been broken down by fungi and microbes.
Thus, soaking in water alone is not sufficient to utilize the nutritional properties that bananas have to offer.
Instead, decomposition is a necessary step for releasing beneficial nutrients.
Hence, bananas should be decomposed.
Though, before going ahead with it, consider its cons too.
Banana Water Harms
While on the surface it may seem like bananas contain a lot of potassium content so it will be all good for your plants, this method may not work as you want.
Plants require a good fertilizer that has a balanced amount of potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen alongside micronutrients rather than a small supply of one macronutrient.
In that case, it is not the most ideal in providing your plant’s nutrients.
Ler’s not forget it is also very sweet-smelling water.
This can pose problems when the plants are watered and the soil smells of sweet and rotten banana peels.
It can unfortunately attract bugs, gnats, and fruit flies.
The sweet remnants of the water can attract the fungus gnats and that also becomes food for many of them.
This can soon become a huge problem if they start laying eggs in the soil.
You will have another problem on hand if they get out of control. Clearly, it is the sweet water to blame!
But insects and flies are not the only issues.
The tea compost may also leave stains on the leaves of your plants.
This may not cause a huge problem to the plant overall but clearly, they are not as pleasing to look at anymore.
Another overlooked factor is that commercially available bananas are usually grown in an environment that is pesticide-intensive.
Conventional banana farming will use pesticides though, they are not a pesticide-contaminated food.
That is due to the peel preventing common insecticides such as neurotoxicant chlorpyrifos from entering the edible part.
Though if the peels have pesticides and you are using them to water your plants that can introduce contaminants to your plants.
This can be especially detrimental for herbs and other edible plants.
If you really have to try this method, go for organically produced bananas rather than commercial ones.
But Isn’t Potassium Good For Plants?
Well potassium is indeed good for plants.
When there is a lack of potassium in the soil, it turns the leaves yellow around the veins.
Moreover, they will have stunted growth and will also weaken.
This makes them more vulnerable to disease and other unfavorable conditions.
Potassium is also a mobile nutrient allowing the plant to reallocate it throughout the plant.
Since potassium helps plants to absorb nutrients more efficiently it makes sense that the older leaves show signs of potassium deficiency earlier than younger ones.
So by all means it is an essential macronutrient for plant growth.
But there needs to be a balance between the macronutrients and micronutrients the plant gets.
Like humans, plants also prefer a balanced diet hence, they require more nutrenits than simply their potassium supply.
Potassium alone cannot satisfy their growth needs.
They will still need a complete fertilizer occasionally.
Moreover, the potassium content of banana water is not that high to fulfill the plants’ needs on its own.
They are not the best source of potassium even among fruits.
It makes little sense on why they will be a good fit for this tea compost. when there are other fruits and vegetables with a much higher potassium content.
Moreover, even if the potassium content in bananas is high, let’s not forget they do not eat bananas.
Plants absorb the nutrients from the soil only after the complex nutrients are broken down by fungus and microbes.
The peel needs to break down in order for the potassium to be soluble in water.
The breakdown of this organic matter can take a few weeks or more.
Hence, you do not know if the water you serve your plants even contains the potassium goodness of bananas.
Instead, you should go for fertilizers.
Fertilizer Choices to Banana Water
It is good to experiment with things unless it is at the cost of all of your hard work and pretty plants.
Anything trending is not necessarily good for your plants.
Do a fair amount of research before diving into new things.
Plus when you already have good options to flourish your plants available, why would you like to experiment with unverified things?
Use commercial organic fertilizer that lists in detail the nutrients you add to the plants.
This will help you assess what your plant requires and what you need to give to them.
Besides that, composting is your friend.
In fact, you can also compost the banana peels rather than steeping them in water.
That will, however, take as long as a year to break down.
Composting is an excellent way to regenerate soil and recycle nutrients.
Using finished compost is a good idea as it contains a variety of organic matter.
Thus, it has plenty of nutrients to support plant growth, much more than a banana can provide.
Experimenting with your plants is not always the right thing to do.
Banana water may be trendy, but there are other better options to support your precious plants’ growth.
Choose tried and tested methods when it comes to caring for your plants.