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Feed Your Flowers and Boost Your Garden’s Beauty with These Kitchen Scraps

No need to buy pricey fertilizer — your throwaways can feed your flower beds for the brightest, biggest blooms on the block. Humans aren’t the only ones who can get nutrients from eggs, nuts, and oranges! Learn five ways to use your kitchen scraps to boost your garden.

Ensure irises thrive with a few nut shells

These elegant flowers love well-aerated, moist soil — two things nut shells deliver. “As the shells decompose, they become excellent mulch, helping the soil maintain moisture while keeping it loose, which improves root growth,” says Ashley Christian, founder of Homestead Sweet Home. “Plus, the shells deter weeds, ensuring irises don’t have to compete for key nutrients in the soil.”

Pest-proof marigolds with eggshells

Marigolds are one of the best companion plants in a veggie garden because their scent deters cabbage worms and white flies. But they are susceptible to slugs. To ward off these pests, sprinkle a few eggshells on the soil, advises Erinn Witz of Seeds and Spades. “The shells’ sharp edges deter slugs, and as they break down, they release calcium, leading to larger blooms.”

Perk up pretty peonies with citrus peels

Full of nutrients like folate, riboflavin, and thiamine, the skins of oranges and lemons provide a major boost to peonies, which need especially rich soil, says Rodger St Hilaire, founder of Gardening Boost. “Just chop up the peels and sprinkle them around the base of plants.”

Keep hydrangeas happy with coffee grounds

The remnants of your morning cuppa are rich in tannic acid, which helps hydrangeas flourish. To boost their signature blue blooms, just sprinkle coffee grounds around the base of your plants, advises Daniel Akins, editor at The Yardable. “Coffee grounds are also a wonderful source of nitrogen, which acts as a slow release fertilizer, helping give rise to lush green leaves.”

Grow gorgeous roses with banana peels

When you’re done whipping up your next smoothie, hang on to those banana peels. “They’re loaded with phosphorus and potassium, two minerals essential for healthy rose blooms,” says Akins. “Phosphorus strengthens stems and encourages buds to open, while potassium helps roses resist pests.” Simply cut up the banana peel and scatter it on the soil — and enjoy blue-ribbon roses!

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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