Eggshells are often regarded as waste and are often just thrown out after you cook a sunny side up egg or bake a cake. There are a lot of gardening sites, however, that have been recommending eggshells as natural fertilizers plants. But are they good for pepper plants?
Eggshells can act as a good fertilizer for pepper plants. They provide nutrients and help correct the soil’s pH levels due to their rich levels of calcium so you can have healthy plants over time.
What else can you expect from eggshells? What are the benefits of using eggshells to grow your peppers? We’ll answer these and also debunk some common myths while learning how to use eggshells to fertilize your plants.
Are Eggshells Good for Pepper Plants?
Eggshells are reputed to contain enough calcium to prevent some diseases in peppers while also giving the soil the nutrients it needs for you to have a healthy pepper plant.
It is also said to help keep pests such as slugs and snails away while correcting your soil’s pH levels.
What Benefits Do Eggshells Provide Pepper Plants?
Eggshells have a lot of calcium, with one gram of shells providing anywhere from 381 to 401 milligrams of the nutrient. What’s more, the calcium is in a form that is readily available and absorbable. On top of that, there are also traces of:
Professor and author Jeff Gilman found that eggshells also contain potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus, which are other nutrients that when mixed into the soil help plants to thrive.
Potassium helps transport nutrients and water throughout the pepper plant, while phosphorus regulates photosynthesis. Magnesium encourages the growth of green leaves, while calcium will be crucial in developing leaves and fruits.
Organic Matter in Eggshells
More than just the calcium and other nutrients, eggshells also have organic matter found in the inner membrane. If you don’t wash it out, the inner skin will give the soil nitrogen, promoting the growth of lush green leaves.
Eggshells Amend the Soil
Pepper plants like loamy soil that has a lot of organic matter and drains well. You can use ground-up eggshells as one of the materials to amend clay soil and make it drain better while improving aeration.
Use another material such as coco peat, sawdust, or shredded bark along with crushed eggshell to make the soil drain more easily.
Eggshells Lower Soil Acidity
In one study, it was found that finely crushed eggshells help to neutralize the soil’s acidity. The powdered eggshells are more effective than agricultural limestone in making your soil more alkaline.
Peppers often prefer a pH level of 6.0 to 6.8. If your soil’s pH is below 6.0, adding powdered eggshells can undoubtedly help.
Myth: Eggshells Keep the Snails and Slugs Away
Several sources swear that eggshells can discourage snails and slugs from destroying your plants. The reason is that eggshells have sharp edges that can pierce through the soft bodies of these pests.
But experiments like this one show that slugs and snails can happily walk on eggshells on their way to dinner. And this video shows that slugs can even crawl over sharp blades:
So, eggshells’ ability to deter snails and slugs is still debatable, but it appears that it is a myth that eggshells will protect your pepper plants from snails and slugs.
What Pepper Plant Ailments Do Eggshells Prevent?
Eggshells can help prevent blossom-end rot in pepper plants. Blossom-end rot happens when your plants do not get enough calcium from the soil.
In peppers, blossom-end rot shows up as a sunken and dark area on the bottom part of the fruits. Some peppers manifest these dark spots on either side of the fruit near the bottom. The tan, black, or brown spots can also invite secondary infections.
To combat blossom-end rot, you can add eggshells to the soil near the plant’s base. If it’s a new pepper plant you are planting, you can put crushed eggshells in the hole first before the seeds.
According to this site, however, that’s not all you should do. For one, you should find out if the soil is too acidic. If it is, correct it by amending the soil with agricultural lime, in addition to eggshells. After that, keep a consistent watering schedule to help transport the added calcium to your pepper plants.
How to Add Eggshells to Your Pepper Plants
There are three common ways to incorporate eggshells and their nutrients to your pepper plants.
- You can put the eggshells in your compost bin and then allow them to decompose so that the calcium carbonate and other nutrients are readily available for the soil.
- You can crush them into tiny pieces and then put these into the soil before you put in the seeds or when you’re transplanting your pepper plants. You can also put the crushed eggshells into the hole right before you plant the seeds. And if you want to try to see if the eggshells do deter slugs, you can sprinkle the crumbled pieces on top of the soil.
- Steep the eggshells in boiling water and then leave it for a few minutes to a few hours. Once the eggshell “tea” is cool, water your pepper plants with the water. The eggshell tea can help keep your indoor plants look better without the unsightly pieces of broken eggshells.
These suggestions are great but understand that it may take a while for the eggshell to decompose, which will not make the calcium accessible to your plants for quite some time. If you need results now, the best way is to crush the eggshells into a fine powder. You can use a blender to powderize the eggshells before applying them to your pepper plants.
Fun Technique Using Eggshells and Pepper Plants
But while these may be easy and quick ways to add eggshells to your pepper plants, it can be a bit boring. Here’s an idea that can make it more fun if you’re starting a new batch of pepper plants.
Because eggshells have a shape that can hold soil and water in them, you can use whole eggshells as a mini planter. Here’s how:
- Poke holes on the bottom of the eggshell with the top already broken off.
- Put in 50 percent compost and 50 percent cocopeat in the eggshell.
- Plant the pepper seeds into this makeshift planter.
- Using this method, you can see pepper seedlings sprouting out in as little as 15 days. If more than one seedling is growing, take out the weaker sprouts so that only one is left growing in the shell.
- Once the pepper seedlings are big enough, you can transplant the entire seedling, complete with the eggshell pot, into a medium containing good loamy soil and compost. Be sure to crack the eggshell before planting.
This video will show you how this is done:
What is the Correct Amount of Eggshells to Add to Pepper Plants?
The exact number of eggshells that you should add to your soil to help your pepper plants thrive differ from one source to another. It is pretty common to use five crushed eggshells per plant or sprinkling enough eggshells into a planting hole right before transplanting your pepper plant.
However, the recommendation that makes the most sense to us is that it depends on the composition of the soil you have. If you have acidic soil, then more eggshells would be needed to help bring up your soil pH. And to have this effect, you will need to use powdered eggshells.
If your soil has enough calcium in it, forget about the eggshells and add in nutrients and use proper watering techniques so that your pepper plants can use up the calcium that’s already in the soil.
This is why it is always important to test your soil’s pH level before amending the soil with any nutrients.
What Happens if You Add Too Many Eggshells to Pepper Plants?
Some readers may argue that if eggshells have mostly calcium in it, it will make the soil too alkaline, making it less than ideal for growing a pepper plant. It may even kill it. What’s more, if your plant gets too much calcium, it may affect the uptake of potassium and magnesium.
The possibility of raising your soil’s pH levels is possible, as this Desert Gardener piece explains. That is true if you use finely crushed or powdered eggshells.
For the most part, however, eggshells can take a long time to decompose. Until it breaks down, the calcium might not even be available to your plants. So, unless you already have more of an alkaline soil, using eggshells for your pepper plants should be a safe exercise even if you accidentally put in too much.
While there are many myths and misconceptions about using eggshells to help your pepper plants thrive, the fact remains that they have high levels of calcium that can help fight blossom-end rot and help make your soil less acidic. And while they may not be great at deterring snails and slugs, eggshells can provide useful nutrients to your pepper plants. Using powdered eggshells and sticking to a proper watering schedule can help you get the most out of eggshells.
Here are Some of my Favorite Gardening Products and Tools
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful for growing some new plants in your home or garden. Here are some products I like that I hope you’ll also find helpful. These are affiliate links, and I am compensated for referring traffic. But in all honesty, these are the exact product that I use or recommend to everyone.
Soil: For high-quality soil, I really like Fox Farm Ocean Forest. I do all my growing in containers and this soil has worked great for me. I like how they use nutrient-rich contents like earthworm castings, bat guano, and composted crab and fish.
Fertilizer: Currently I am using a seaweed-based organic fertilizer call Neptunes Harvest. This is a great milder fertilizer option if you want to use something organic. If you want a more powerful fertilizer, I recommend Fox Farm Liquid Nutrient Trio, lots of people have had great growing success with this product.
Pruning Shears: Pruning shears are one of the most useful gardening tools to have because it’s important to prune your plants to keep them healthy. The pruning shears I recommend are the Gonicc 8’’ pruning shears. I like them because they are built sturdy and work both on bigger and smaller plants, so you don’t need to have multiple pruning shears.
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