After you’ve finished eating or juicing an orange, your first instinct might be to throw the remnants away. Of course, what you do with your own food scraps is your business, but you should know that orange peels have so much more to give — especially if you have a garden.
Ignore TikTok posts claiming that banana peels are the magical, potassium-rich plant saviors your garden needs: Orange peels produce better results for far less work. Here are a few of the ways to use orange peels in your garden.
Starter pots for seedlings
Even before (outdoor) gardening officially starts, orange peels are there for you, serving as small starter pots for seedlings. Before you eat an orange, cut it in half, and then scoop out the fruit, and poke a hole in the bottom of the peel for draining. Add some dirt and seeds, and watch it grow. When it’s time to transfer it outside, it can be planted in the ground whole.
Snail bait and removal
Need to get rid of some slugs in your garden? Place the peel of half an orange (so it looks like the planter pots above) in your garden (or better yet, several peels throughout the plot). The next morning, there’s a good chance it will contain some of your garden’s resident snails. From there, you can move the peels — slugs and all — somewhere far away from your garden.
Peels as pest control
Snails are only the beginning: Orange peels are capable of warding off all kinds of garden pests. After double-checking that all the fleshy fruit is off the peel, cut it into strips, and scatter those around your garden.
As it turns out, many insects and rodents who are fans of tearing up your garden are not fans of the smell of oranges. So when you place these peel strips around the base of a plant, a lot of pests will move on. Just be sure to switch out the peels once they start drying out (the drier they are, the less effective they are).
A natural pest-deterring spray
Orange peels can also be used to make a natural pest-deterring spray that will keep slugs, aphids, ants, whiteflies, fruit flies, and other insects out of your garden. Just put a few orange peels and one cup of water in a pot and bring to a boil. Let the mixture boil for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat.
Once it has cooled, strain the liquid and put it in an empty spray bottle. Spritz it on the plants in your garden (and house) every three to four days.
As nourishment for plants
When you use orange peels in your garden as starter pots or an insect deterrent, they also provide your plants with important nutrients, like phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium.