Growing your own houseplants from kitchen scraps is an easy, fun way to add some green to your home without spending any money. Many common fruits and vegetables can be regrown from the seeds, stems, and roots that you would normally throw in the compost bin. With a little time and care, I can turn kitchen waste into beautiful, thriving houseplants.
What Kitchen Scraps Can Be Regrown
Many people are surprised by how many kitchen scraps have the potential to grow into full-fledged plants. Here are some of the most common ones I like to regrow:
The bottom celery stalk with its base intact can be placed in a small bowl of warm water and will sprout leaves within a week. Once roots develop, the new celery plant can be transferred to soil.
The base of a romaine lettuce head will regrow leaves when placed in a shallow dish filled with water. Refresh the water daily. When roots form, plant in soil.
When the green tops of green onions start to wilt, cut them off while leaving the white bulbous bases attached. Place in a glass of water and new green shoots will emerge in a few days.
Sweet potatoes can be regrown by placing the top half of a sweet potato in water, making sure the cut side is submerged. It will sprout slips that can be planted in soil once roots develop.
The pineapple crown that is cut off the top of a pineapple fruit can be planted in soil to grow an entirely new pineapple plant. Remove some of the lower leaves first.
Fresh ginger root will sprout when submerged in warm water, usually within a few weeks. Plant the roots in soil once sprouted. The new ginger plant will be an exact clone of the parent plant.
A single garlic clove with the skin left on can grow into an entire bulb when planted in soil. Plant the clove root-side down about 1-2 inches deep.
The pit of an avocado can be suspended in water with toothpicks, half-submerged, and will eventually crack open and sprout a stem. Plant the pit in soil once the stem appears.
The bottoms of lemongrass stalks will regrow when placed cut-side down in a bowl of water. Transplant to a pot once new shoots emerge.
Topped carrots can regrow feathery carrot greens when placed in a dish of water. For full carrot regrowth, suspend a carrot top in water with the wide top part submerged. Roots and leaves will sprout in a few weeks.
How to Regrow Kitchen Scraps
Regrowing plants from food scraps mainly involves mimicking natural growing conditions to encourage new growth. Here are my step-by-step instructions for regrowing a variety of kitchen scraps successfully:
Provide Warmth and Moisture
- Place the food scrap such as celery base or ginger root in a small container of warm water. Maintain water temperature between 70-80°F. Change the water every 2 days.
- The warmth and moisture will promote sprouting and new growth.within 1-2 weeks in most cases.
Transfer to Soil
- Once sprouts and roots begin to form, prepare a pot with seed starting or regular potting mix.
- Gently place the scrap such as garlic clove or avocado pit into the soil, making sure any emerging roots are covered.
- Maintain moist soil, provide sun or grow lights, and remove any dead/dying foliage.
Suspend in Water
- For pineapple crowns, sweet potatoes, and avocados, suspend the scrap in water using toothpicks first to encourage rooting.
- Only the very bottom should be submerged, with the top portion exposed to air.
- Once strong roots grow, transfer to soil following the same instructions.
Start with Cuttings
- Use the stems or leaves of plants like basil, mint, or ** spider plants** to grow new plants.
- Remove lower leaves, place the stems in water or soil, and new roots will emerge from the nodes.
Plant Remaining Roots/Bulbs
- With plants like ginger or garlic, you can plant the remaining root portions left over after harvesting.
- Bury them 1-2 inches below the soil surface and they will regrow new plants identical to the parent.
Caring for Regrown Kitchen Scraps
The proper care once your kitchen scrap has began growing will ensure your new free houseplant thrives for a long time. Here are my top care tips:
- Most regrown plants appreciate 4-6 hours of sunlight daily. South or west facing windows are ideal.
- Use grow lights to supplement natural light if needed.
- Water whenever the top inch of soil is dry. Take care not to overwater or leaves may yellow and roots rot.
- Replanted kitchen scraps have limited nutrients to start. Supplement with liquid houseplant fertilizer or compost tea every 2-4 weeks.
- Once the regrown plant is several inches tall with an established root system, transplant it to a larger pot with drainage holes.
- Yellow leaves often indicate overwatering. Allow soil to dry out more between waterings.
- Wilty foliage means underwatering. Water more frequently.
- Slow growth can be remedied by moving to a sunnier location or applying fertilizer.
Regrowing kitchen scraps into houseplants is an eco-friendly, rewarding way to expand my indoor plant collection on a budget. With a little diligence, these scraps will flourish into beautiful, productive plants.