Adding Eggshell water to your plants is a great way of supplementing much-needed calcium to the soil. When prepared by boiling, the eggshells release calcium in a soluble form into the water.
Eggshell water can be used to water plants because it provides the plant with calcium mineral and amino acids. Calcium is used by plants to strengthen stems and leaves while providing structural support for cell walls. Supplying a sufficient amount of calcium results in rapid and healthy plant growth.
In this article, we are going to explain the benefits of using eggshell water on your plants, how to make your own, as well as the methods of application to achieve the best results.
The Benefits of Using Egg Shell Water on Plants:
- The calcium helps regulate the pH of acidic soil
- Environmentally friendly Source of Mineral fertilizer for plants
- Allows us to reuse waste material from the kitchen.
- Saves on the cost of purchasing Fertilizer
- Prevents burns associated with inorganic fertilizer application
- Strengthens stems and leaves while providing structural support cell walls.
- Can be applied through Top watering, Bottom Watering or Misting
Apart from calcium other underutilized kitchen byproducts are banana peels and rice water. Applying banana peel water and rice water to your plants promotes a healthy bacteria population within the soil and adds the macronutrient, Potassium which strengthens the plant.
This saves you from buying fertilizer while organically treating plant nutrient deficiency.
Also, see how you can utilize other kitchen byproducts for the benefit of your plants:
The benefits of using banana peel water on plants. – Adds Potassium
Using rice water on plants – Used as an Insecticide and promotes a healthy bacteria population in the soil
Using pasta water on plants – Used as an Insecticide and promotes a healthy plant growth
Using Potato water on Plants
What does Egg Shell Water Contain?
The main mineral from an eggshell is calcium which comes from calcium carbonate which forms the hard outermost layer of the egg known as the eggshell.
Calcium carbonate is actually a crystalline form of calcium that is arranged so that the egg layer is strong enough to protect the delicate embryo inside.
Calcium carbonate is a common substance found in rocks as the minerals calcite and aragonite and is the main component of eggshells, snail shells, seashells, and pearls.
Calcium carbonate has a very low solubility in pure water (15 mg/L at 25°C), but in rainwater saturated with carbon dioxide, its solubility increases due to the formation of more soluble calcium bicarbonate. Calcium carbonate is unusual in that its solubility increases as the temperature of the water decreases. [Source]
What I do recommend when making eggshell water for your plant is that you grab a container filled with rainwater in order to obtain the more soluble form of calcium (calcium Bicarbonate).
In my opinion, this is the only way to ensure that the calcium from the egg is being moved into the water.
Calcium carbonate is an excellent product for raising the pH of soil.
Most plants do best in soils with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. However, there are some plants that love a more alkaline soil.
Calcium carbonate can be broadcast over and incorporated into soils in need of a dose of alkalinity.
The Egg Shell – Facts!
The shell also has a thin outermost coating called the bloom or cuticle that helps keep out bacteria and dust.
Eggshells are only a third of a millimeter thick, and yet form a very hard protective layer for the embryo within.
Eggshell is made almost entirely of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). This accounts for 95% of the entire shell structure.
While the remaining amount is a mixture of protein molecules (osteopontin) which affects how the calcium carbonate crystallizes. Without the protein, the shell structure would be too brittle.
It has a semipermeable membrane, which means that air and moisture can pass through its pores.
Lying between the eggshell and egg white, these two transparent protein membranes.
These protein membranes are what break down when preparing the nutrient water for the plants.
How is Boiled Egg Water Beneficial to Plants? Explained
The beneficial nutrients in the egg water are proteins and calcium.
Let’s firstly take a look at calcium:
The ability of plants to use calcium requires the mineral to be in a soluble form meaning that it must be fully dissolved in water in order for it to be absorbed by roots for transport to the parts of the plant where it is needed.
Calcium is a secondary nutrient that is critical to crop development. It is needed in large amounts by all plants for the formation of cell walls and cell membranes.
I say secondary because it’s a micronutrient when compared to the primary macronutrients Nitrogen(N), Phosphorus(P), and Potassium(K), along with the array of other micronutrients that plants need for healthy growth and development.
Calcium is used by plants to strengthen stems and leaves while providing structural support for cell walls. It plays a similar role as it does in humans to strengthen bone structure.
Apart from cell development, calcium is needed in plants to produce a response in times of stress by sending stress signals throughout the plant via calcium ions Ca+.
Additionally, an abundant supply of calcium accelerates cell division and expansion, which leads to rapid growth of stems, leaves, and flowers.
These signals are then processed by the part of the plant requiring the response.
A good example of this happening is when you see leaves curling inwards on a hot day to prevent moisture loss or the stomata closing and opening to regulate the water in the plant when there is a change in the environment.
In Plants, calcium:
- Strengthens cell walls
- Helps maintain pH levels
- Activates enzymes
- Improves water penetration
- Increases resistance to disease
Certain types of protein function as enzymes that trigger metabolic reactions within cells, while others provide storage for sugars and other nutrients.
Plants synthesize proteins from the amino acids found in nitrogen fertilizer.
The amino acids stimulate root cells to open up the channels through which calcium can be absorbed.
The protein from eggshells comes from the thin membrane that “hugs” the inside of the eggshell.
When placed in boiling water, these proteins break down and enter the water.
This same water when added to the soil can supply the amino acid needed for the metabolic reactions in the plant.
How Do You Know Your Plant is Calcium Deficient?
Blossom end rot of tomatoes is a classic case of calcium deficiency.
Calcium deficiency symptoms appear initially as localized tissue necrosis leading to stunted plant growth, necrotic leaf margins on young leaves or curling of the leaves, and eventual death of terminal buds and root tips. Generally, the new growth and rapidly growing tissues of the plant are affected first. [Source]
Calcium deficiency can arise if levels in the fertilizer solution are less than 40-60 ppm and/or potassium, magnesium, or sodium levels are too high.
These larger salts “compete” for space and large amounts of sodium, potassium, and magnesium, because of their higher solubility, they will easily be dissolved in water before the calcium does.
Therefore there would be less calcium available in the water that the root takes up from the soil.
How to Make Egg Shell Water for Plants
This is used to obtain calcium and protein within the eggshell. You may want to gather a few eggshells after cooking for a more potent formula. (the more the better)
- Using between 8 to 12 eggshells, wash gently under running water.
- Place the washed shells in a cooking pot
- Place on medium heat (350 oF)
- Stir every 10 – 15 minutes
- Allow to boil for 30 – 45 minutes
- Strain off the residue that lingers on top of the water and save the water for your plants.
Eggshell water obtained from boiling would contain more nutrients than if the shells were broken into pieces and added to the soil.
This is because the heat from boiling causes the calcium and amino acids from the eggshells to be leached into the water.
How to Apply Boiled Egg water to Plants
Boiled egg water can be effective on all plants as it provides vital nutrients for plant growth.
However, the method of application would differ depending on the type of plant that it is being applied to.
Eggshell water can be applied by using any of the three methods depending on the plant variety.
|Plant Type||Watering Method|
|Indoor Plants||Misting, Top Watering, Bottom Watering|
|Garden Plants||Top watering, Soil application via Sprayers.|
Using rice Water with Succulents
Boiled egg water can be used to water succulents while adding vital nutrients at the same time.
The water should be strained so that it can be applied as a spray as succulents require more dry aerated soil.
Succulents can be misted with a solution of egg water during their normal watering schedule. Succulents require a small amount of water and nutrients at any given time.
Misting succulents with eggshell water is a sure method of providing them with the calcium they need without being overwatered and causing problems associated with overwatered soil.
How to Mist Succulents with eggshell Water
- Any household spray bottle can be used as long as it is cleaned properly.
- The eggshell water should be thin enough for the spray bottle to expel the water
- Add the water in the spray bottle
- Spray or mist the plant on the top as well as the underside of the leaves
- Also, spray the top soil with the rice water.
Misting should be done during the morning periods or late evenings to allow the plant to absorb moisture and nutrients. This also prevents the heat of the day from drying out the moisture too quickly.
Bottom Watering with Boiled Egg Water
Bottom watering plants with eggshell water is another way plants can benefit from the calcium and proteins drawn from the egg.
Bottom watering will allow for the water to be absorbed thoroughly into the soil without having it in an overwatered state.
In doing so, the total mass of the plant roots will be able to access the calcium and proteins provided by the eggshell water.
How to bottom water with boiled egg water
- Use a a small, flat container two inches larger than the plant pot
- Place the plant into the container
- Add the water so that the water level reaches 1 to 1 ½ inches high on the side of of the plant pot
- Allow the plant to sit in the water for 15 to 20 minutes
- After the time has passed stick your finger in and test the soil for moisture
- Once you feel that the soil is moist (not wet) you can remove the plant.
- Place the plant to drain out any excess water
See our helpful article on how to apply fertilizer when bottom watering.
Interested in bottom watering trays? I have found durable trays which worked well for all my plants. You can click here to see them on amazon.
Plants that like boiled egg water
The plants that like boiled egg water are plants that love a more alkaline soil of a pH ranging from 7.5 to 8.0.
This is mainly because the calcium carbonate slightly increases the pH of the soil. However, you should be careful not to add too much.
- Anchusa azurea
- Daylilies (Hemerocallis spp.)
- Easter lilies
- Lavender (Lavandula spp.)
To test the moisture and pH of the soil you can use the cost-effective Trazon Soil 3-in-1 Meter. It not only tests for pH but also moisture content and light intensity. You can find it by clicking here!
What are the Precautions When using Egg Water
- Adding too much egg water to your plants can increase the soil’s pH to greater than 8.0.
Higher levels of alkalinity in soil can prevent iron absorption in plants which can lead to chlorosis in young leaves as the result of reduced chlorophyll content.
- When using egg water in the soil you should always ensure that the water is at ambient or room temperature so that it does not kill the bacteria in the soil and harm the plant.
- Boiled egg water is a good additive to soil but care must be taken when watering as it can be easy to overwater the soil which can lead to root rot and yellowing of the plant leaves.
My recommendation is to use the bottom watering method to ensure that the plant is getting the right amount of water for optimal growth.
Using Eggshells Directly in the Soil
After the shells are boiled and the calcium and proteins are extracted you can still use the rest of the shell.
This is because not all the calcium will be leached out into the water. If that happens then shells will totally disappear.
Now, with the leftover shells, after it’s allowed it to cool and dry off, you can pulverize it in a blender.
The resulting powdered shells can now be added to the soil for extra calcium addition.
The eggshell powder will act as a slow-release form of calcium for the plants.
In this way, you make sure that you are using 100% of what the shell has to offer.
Using eggshell water for plants is a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to provide calcium and amino acids for plants.
It can simply be obtained from boiling leftover eggshells and straining off the residue.
The calcium is required by plants to strengthen cell walls and in turn the rigidity of the stems and leaves. Additionally, it helps plants communicate stress signals to areas where an action or response is needed.
Eggshell water can be applied to plants using either misting bottom watering or top watering.
Now you can save those eggshells for good use knowing how it can benefit your plants.