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Don’t Throw Away Orange Peels—Put Them in Your Garden

A pile of orange peels sit on a cutting board.
Natalia Guzenko/Shutterstock.com

When you’re peeling an orange or juicing one for a fresh drink, you probably throw the peels right into the trash. If you have a garden, though, you might want to start saving them.

Orange peels can help deter pests in your garden and provide nutrients to your plants.

How does this work, though? Some pests have a keen sense of smell, and the strong scent of orange peels can help deter them. Aphids and ants in particular are likely to avoid an area with peels present as they contain a chemical known as d-Limonene, and it erodes the waxy coating on ants and aphids, killing them in the process.

All you need to do is be sure that all of the flesh of the fruit is gone (or it’ll have the opposite effect and draw pests to the sugar), and then cut the peels into strips. Place them around areas you’d like to protect or tear a slight line in the peel and place it around the plant’s stem.

In addition to warding off insects, though, the peels will actually help your plants grow. They bring nutrients like potassium, calcium, and magnesium to the soil. The plant then absorbs those nutrients as the peels begin to decay.

If you’re looking for an easy solution to preventing garden pests, just save your orange peels.

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is an Atlanta-based writer who has written about everything from whether Crisco is a good moisturizer to how to KonMari your space. Her work has appeared in Bustle, My First Apartment, and Make It Grateful. Read Full Bio »
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