5 Ways to Use Eggshells for Plants

My Garden Life
November 11, 2020
Table of Contents

Using eggshells for plants can make a great contribution to your home or yard’s health and productivity.

Eggs are one of nature’s wonder foods, packing delicious flavor into a convenient parcel of goodness. But their value doesn’t end once the breakfast dishes have been tidied away. The empty shells can provide a second life in your garden.
Here are five ways to use eggshells in your garden to improve the soil quality, water retention and health of your plants :

1. Eggshells for Natural Soil Improvement

crushed eggshells enrich garden soil

Eggshells are rich in calcium, and this makes them a common ingredient of commercial organic fertilizers. But there’s no need to pay for the nutrients these products could bring to your soil. Simply crumble the empty eggshells roughly, then scatter them over your flower and vegetable beds.
Dig eggshells carefully into the earth, and they’ll release their calcium and other minerals as they degrade. At the same time, they’ll improve the soil’s texture, aeration and drainage.

2. Deter Slugs and Snails with Eggshells

crushed eggshells in garden used to repel slugs

Using crushed eggshells to
deter slugs and snails is actually
a source of controversy among gardeners. The
theory is that the sharp, brittle edges of a crumbled eggshell aren’t a comfortable
surface for slugs and snails to slime their way over. By scattering broken
shells around the base of your seedlings it is thought that you can build a
physical barrier to discourage slugs and snails from making a meal of your
tender plants.
Given that eggshells are a natural (free) byproduct of cooking, and
because they add minerals and help condition soil, it wouldn’t hurt to give this a try, but
it’s probably best to consider broken eggshells as just one tool among your arsenal
for controlling slugs
given that its effectiveness is questionable.

3. Fertilize Outdoor and Indoor Potted Plants with Eggshells

crushed eggshells nourish soil of potted or houseplants

Just like in the garden, finely crushed eggshells provide an organic source of nutrition for houseplants, patio pots and hanging planters. Sprinkle the pulverized shells on the soil surface and they will break down over time whether you are using eggshells for houseplants or outdoor containers.

4. Eggshells Provide Natural Drainage for Container Plants

eggshells in garden used to create drainage in a planter

You can add roughly crumbled eggshells to the bottom of containers to increase drainage. This is perfect for calcium-hungry plants such as tomatoes, as the mineral is delivered directly to the roots as they grow. Tomato plants that develop a calcium deficiency are more susceptible to a common tomato disease called “blossom end rot.”

5. Eggshells are Great Food for Garden Birds

crushed eggshells provide nourishment for wildlife

Crumbled eggshells are valued as a food supplement by garden birds, who need the base mineral content to produce their own eggs. Crush the shells and mix them into your regular bird feed, or place whole shells on the bird table to be pecked at. The grateful avian diners will repay your thoughtfulness by helping keep slugs, aphids and other garden pests in check.

Here’s a list of different techniques to easily crush eggshells to use in your garden:

techniques for crushing eggshells to use in the garden

  • Rolling pin
  • Mortar and pedestal
  • Hammer or mallet
  • Heavy object such as rock, brick or can
  • Place in a heavy plastic bag and crush with hands or step on (wearing shoes)
  • Coffee grinder (you could invest in a grinder just for crushing eggshells)
eggshells are a great addition to a compost pile

Whether you’re an egg enthusiast or an occasional eater, don’t waste the natural resource that egg shells provide for your garden. Either take them into your yard immediately or give them a quick wash and store them until you’ve collected enough to use. Or, our Guide to Direct Composting explains how easy it is to compost eggshells and other kitchen scraps straight into your soil.

8 Comments

  1. RAJANNA S

    Very Useful Information about Egg Shell. What a great wonderful Fertilizer it is.. Thanks a lot.

    Reply
    • My Garden Life

      Thank you, we’re glad you found this information helpful!

      Reply
  2. Lois Harris

    Does the inner membrane of an egg shell need to be removed before adding shells to garden?

    Reply
    • My Garden Life

      Hi Lois,
      It is best to remove the membranes from eggshells as the protein-rich membrane can provide a food source for rodents. We found a video that demonstrates how easy it is to remove the membrane from an eggshell (click here). Don’t forget to crush the shells thoroughly so they break down faster in the soil, making the nutrients available to your plants more quickly. The more crushed the better, a fine powder would be ideal.

      Reply
  3. Abdul Garba

    Thanks for this very valuable information. My question is;
    Can one mix eggshell powder and aspirin for cucumber plants

    Reply
    • My Garden Life

      Hi Abdul,
      It shouldn’t hurt anything to put both on your plant. The eggshells will add calcium to the soil. Whether or not the application of aspirin is of any benefit remains uncertain. There are reports that aspirin can benefit the growth and development of cucumber plants, or help prevent disease, but we could not find any scientific studies to support those claims.

      Reply
  4. Claire Soper

    Are eggshells from hard-boiled eggs as good for the soil as shells from fresh uncooked eggs?

    Reply
    • My Garden Life

      Hi Claire,
      An interesting question! Boiling the eggshells does release some calcium from the shell but the shells are so calcium-rich, they’ll still have plenty of nourishment remaining to add to soil. You can use the (cooled) water from boiling your eggs to water potted plants or pour it in your garden.

      Reply

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