Many gardeners use eggshells in their garden, as eggshells are considered to be beneficial for many plants. But, are eggshells good for hydrangeas?
Yes, eggshells are good for hydrangeas. Eggshells contain calcium, which improves the growth of the plant and makes the plant stronger.
Should you use large or small pieces of eggshells for hydrangeas?
You should never use eggshells for plants in their uncrushed form, or even if they are coarsely ground. When the pieces of eggshells are large, they will retain their shape and take a very long time to decompose into the soil.
If you really want to use eggshells to your advantage, you will need to grind them into very fine powder. The finer the eggshell particles, the easier it will be for them to decompose in the soil.
Larger pieces of eggshells do decompose in the soil, but it can take years. The soil needs to be very high in acidity for the large pieces to decompose. Most soils do not have that level of acidity.
On the other hand, finely powdered eggshells do not take time and decompose easily even when the acidity of the soil is quite low.
How to create egg shell Powder?
When you start to make a powder of the eggshells, you will need shells of at least 10 eggs. The eggshells should be washed in clean water and left to dry for a while.
Once the shells are dried, you will need to heat them in the oven for some time. This is done to kill the pathogenic bacteria salmonella.
Salmonella bacteria are quite harmful and can pose a serious health threat. If you do not destroy the bacteria, they will spread to your garden when you use the eggshells there.
Set the temperature of the oven at 212 ° F (100 ° C). Keep the eggshells in for about a minute or two, then take them out. Keeping the shells inside for any longer will burn them, and they will not be useful to the plants in any way.
Once the shells are out, you need to grind them to a very fine powder. You can use a blender or a coffee grinder to make your work easier.
You can also use a mortar and pestle, but it will take longer and you will need to put in a lot of effort to make the eggshell powder fine enough.
Grind the eggshells finely. The smaller the microparticles, the better they will dissolve into the soil and improve it.
Once the eggshells have been turned into a fine powder, store the powder in a plastic container and keep the container in a dry place.
When and how to use the eggshell powder
The best time to use the eggshell powder on the plants is spring. During spring, the humidity level is relatively high, and the particles get washed by the water around the plant.
Not only that, this is the time when the hydrangea starts growing and blooming. During this time, it needs extra elements from the outside to aid in the process of growing new shoots.
Use 3 to 7 oz (100 to 200 g) of powder for each bush. Apply the powder evenly under every bush. This amount is enough for the plants.
If you add more, it will not make any difference, as there will not be enough acidity in the soil to decompose a larger amount of calcium carbonate.
One application per year is sufficient for a hydrangea plant to grow healthier. There is no point in applying this powder during summer or autumn, as hydrangeas do not grow during this time, so they will not benefit from the powder.
Using eggshells in compost
Another way to use eggshells for plants is to add them to the compost. They need to be baked and ground into a fine powder first.
Use pruned branches of young trees as the base of your compost. The branches will contain the nutrients necessary for the plant to grow.
The young plants also do not get sick as often, so the branches will be less likely infected with spores of fungi or bacteria. You can also add other elements like kitchen scraps to your compost.
Make sure you do not add much animal residue, as it can lead to a lot of bacterial and fungal growth.
After that, add the eggshell powder to the compost. Make sure that the amount of eggshell powder does not exceed 5 to 10% of the total mass of the compost.
Mix well and leave the compost to decompose for a year.
Do not pile the compost too high. The layers need to have access to air, or else the components in the compost will start the process of fermentation. Due to this, the compost will include aggressive substances that could harm the plant.
During the decomposition process, the compost will become slightly acidic. This will help dissolve the eggshell powder. In the end, you will get an excellent organic fertilizer for your hydrangea.
Do eggshells affect the pH of the soil?
The pH of the soil will be affected by the eggshells, but only if the soil is acidic.
When you add a considerable amount of the eggshell powder to acidic soil, the soil will become neutral. As the pH of the soil reaches 6.8, the acidity of the soil will not be affected by the powder.
In hydrangeas, the color of the flowers of some varieties depends on the pH of the soil. The color can be changed by changing the acidity of the soil.
If the soil is acidic in nature, some varieties of hydrangea turn blue in color. If the soil is alkaline, the color becomes pink, while if the soil is neutral, the color of the blooms becomes purple.
When you add the eggshell powder to the acidic soil, the soil becomes neutral. Therefore, the color of the flowers becomes purple. If you want a different color, you will have to use other elements in the soil.
Adding aluminum sulfate to the soil will make the soil acidic while increasing the amount of aluminum in the soil. Because of the acidic soil, the hydrangea flowers will be blue in color.
If you add the eggshell powder to this, it won’t make a difference, because the eggshell powder will neutralize the action of aluminum sulfate.
If you want your hydrangea blooms to be pink, you will need alkaline soil. The eggshell powder will not make the soil alkaline, only neutral. Therefore, if you want pink flowers, you will need to add garden lime to the soil.
It takes time for the acidity of the soil to change, and even more time for the color of the blooms to change, so do not expect quick results.
It will take at least a year for the changes to show, so you need to be patient and take care of your plant.
Adding other elements to eggshell for Hydrangeas
The eggshell powder contains calcium, but it will provide only a small amount of calcium to the soil. This means that the eggshell powder is only a secondary source of calcium for the plant.
So, if your hydrangea needs a lot of calcium for some reason, you will need to add other elements as well.
Garden lime is a good source of calcium. it also helps make the soil alkaline. Apart from this, any fertilizer with a high calcium content can also be used to fulfill the calcium requirements of your hydrangeas in a short time.
For the eggshell powder to dissolve consistently, your soil always needs to be slightly acidic. You can do so by mulching your hydrangeas.
Mulching will decompose with useful bacteria, and the acidity of the soil will increase, which is what you need for the eggshells to dissolve in the soil.
Compost is the best mulching material. It is an organic fertilizer, which is good for the plant. Not only that, it prevents the soil from drying out too quickly.
Mulching also helps shade the soil from direct sunlight, which means that the soil will not overheat during hot and dry summers.
Just applying eggshell powder to the soil will not do much for your hydrangeas. Hydrangeas grow large blooms, and they require a lot of energy to produce lush flowers.
In addition to the organic fertilizer, you can also introduce a slow-release mineral fertilizer. You get a lot of good quality fertilizers in the market with different NPK formulas, so that you can choose the one that fits your requirements.
For hydrangeas, choose a fertilizer that contains more phosphorous than the other two components. Phosphorous is the component responsible for the development of flowers, so you will get a hydrangea plant with large and flourished blooms.
Ineffective ways of using eggshells
There are also some ways of using eggshells in plants that are ineffective and do absolutely nothing for your plants.
The first method is soaking the eggshells in water for a while.
Many people believe that when you soak the eggshells in water, the calcium content from the eggshells will be mixed with the water, thus increasing the calcium content of the water. When you water your plants with this water, it can benefit the plant.
However, this is not really true. While soaking the eggshells in water for some time will release some calcium in the water, the amount of calcium released is so insignificant that it will prove useless for the plant.
Similarly, boiling eggshells in water will not prove to be effective for adding calcium to your plants.
Another method that is very ineffective is mixing the eggshell powder in water and spraying the solution on the hydrangea leaves.
This is a useless method. The leaves will not absorb the calcium in this way. Not only that but you are left with hydrangea leaves coated with a white powder.
In conclusion, eggshells can be beneficial for hydrangeas if used correctly.