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  • Dr. Andrew Plasz

Tips, Tricks & Hacks of Rose Care - An Appealing Fertilizer

This article is from Roses & You, February 2019

Don't throw away that banana peel, it could help you grow better roses. The ubiquitous banana, one of the few fruits readily available all winter long, can make a wonderful supplement to your rose fertilization program.

I first became aware of using banana peels on roses from a 1976 article in the garden section of the Sunday edition of the Milwaukee Journal. The article was only three paragraphs, each one sentence long, which I will plagiarize here.

  • Banana peels buried around rose bushes help produce strong stems and better blooms.

  • But, the National Garden Bureau warns not to use more than 3 peels per bush at one time.

  • Banana peels are 3.25% phosphorus and 41.75% potash.


I like bananas and usually have one for lunch every day during the winter. I save the peels, and friends donate theirs. Since the months of November to February are generally filled with low humidity days, the peels dry out nicely. This facilitates both the handling and aesthetics parameters.

These crisp, black, dried peels are easily broken by crushing them with your hands into several pieces of paper. The crushed peels are stored in a sealed envelopes and marked with the date. Store the envelopes in the garage until you plant in the spring. I use postage-paid return envelopes — saved from all the junk mail received. When planting, use the oldest dated peels first. All your doing is spending a little time and put to good use two things you would normally throw away — peels and postage paid return envelopes!

When planting in the spring, I put the roots of the rose plant over the mound of soil in the hole. First, I put soil over the roots and add an envelope of peels per bush. Then, I fill in the hole with soil and water well. I use the procedure for roses planted in pots and in the ground. When I empty the pots in the fall, I find no evidence of the peels—they have decomposed.

For over 40 years now, I have been practicing this. My garden grows some very good roses amongst the 105 bushes, allowing me to be somewhat competitive at the district and national level. A big part of that is the fertilization program and the use of banana peels.

Why don't you give it a try? I think you will find it ap-peel-ing!

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