Many people don’t realize that once you’ve had a cup of tea, your tea bag can be used again in quite a few other ways. There are actually many great uses for used tea bags in the garden. And here some of the best!
Free Natural Fertilizer
The tea leaves and grounds found in your tea bags can be used as fertilizer in your garden or for potted plants indoors and out. By cutting open the bags and mixing the contents into the top layer of the soil you’ll be enhancing it with beneficial nutrients and organic matter.
Tea contains nitrogen along with potassium and phosphorous all of which are used in store bought fertilizers to promote healthy plant growth along with other trace minerals as well.
You can also place your used tea bags directly into the bottom drainage layer of potted plants. Just make sure they are biodegradable and made from paper. Another option is to use brew a batch of weak tea using your old tea bags and once it cools use it water your plants.
You’ll want to keep in mind that when using tea as fertilizer, that it can slightly lower the pH making the soil more acidic. So if you’re plants are those which like alkaline soil you’ll want to use it only occasionally or place your tea bags in your compost instead.
Many gardeners use their used tea bags in the garden to help deter backyard pests. That’s because many pests hate the scent of tea. By sprinkling the it on the soil it can help to keep them away. Mice, along with many types of insects, and spiders, can be repelled by peppermint tea in particular.
The scent of lavender tea scent is one that many insects hate as well. Black tea also has a strong scent that is often used around the base of plants to protect them from pests.
Keep Acid Loving Plants Happy
Because they contain tannins most teas are mildly acidic. By mixing the contents of your used tea bags in the garden soil or the soil of your potted plants you can help to make it bit more acidic for acid-loving plants. What plants like tea leaves?
Well azaleas, daffodils, magnolias, camellias, and marigolds to name a few. Blue hydrangeas also require acidic soil, and you can even change your pink hydrangea flowers to blue by giving your soil an acid boost. Of course the tea will also make your soil more fertile as well.
Improve Rose Blooms
Adding the grounds or leaves from your used tea bags in the garden to the soil surrounding your rose bushes can help you to get the beautiful blooms you’ve been after. Unlike other acid-loving plants, roses like soil which is only slightly acidic. Soil with a pH of 7 is considered neutral and roses do best with a pH level anywhere between 6 and 6.9.
In fact, about 6.5 is considered ideal. Because tea is only mildly acidic it’s a perfect solution for helping to get your soil to the right acidity without going overboard. Using a tool such as a soil pH meter will let you know just how acidic or alkaline your soil is before you start. And help you to make accurate adjustments to get just the right balance.
Supplement Your Compost
Putting those used tea bags in the compost can really help to enhance its quality. The tea bags and the leaves inside provide organic matter which will be broken down and eaten by worms and other helpful micro-organisms. And don’t forget the added nutrients and minerals.
Tea bags also stay wet for a long time which in turn helps to keep the surrounding compost moist and encourages helpful decomposing bacteria. While an individual tea bag may seem small they can really add to your compost over time. If you drink a cup of tea per day, or have a family with multiple tea drinkers, this can add up to many pounds of tea bags over the course of a year.
You will want to make sure however that you are using tea bags which are biodegradable. Many tea bags contain plastics such as polypropylene which will not break down. If you’re tea bags do contain plastic you can simply cut them open and pour the tea into your compost and throw the bags away.
Nowadays many tea drinkers actually purchase their own biodegradable tea bags and fill them up with their favorite tea. This not only means they can compost them but also helps the environment by cutting down on plastic waste that would otherwise take up space in landfills.
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