How rusty nails can help your plants

Wondering how rusty nails can help your plants? A little-known gardening trick.

Some gardeners swear it’s a fairy tale, but others talk about its good results. Whichever side you’re on, it helps to understand the theory behind this gardening tip.

It’s not just nails that help your plants, but rusty nails. Indeed, they contain iron oxide, this reddish layer that the nails acquire when they rust. This is created when oxygen and iron react in the presence of water, either through direct contact or through air.

Sometimes called ferric oxide, this oxide has a high iron content and, as you probably know, plants need iron.

Although plants do not need iron as much as other nutrients, such as phosphorus, nitrogen or potassium, it is still an essential micronutrient. Iron is a constituent of certain enzymes and pigments; It helps reduce nitrates and sulfates, as well as the generation of energy within the plant. Although iron is not used in the synthesis of chlorophyll, it is essential for its formation.

A lack of iron in plants can cause leaves to become weak and yellow and plants to not grow as they should. It can also cause plants to lose their leaves completely.

Iron deficiencies are not common in plants, but often if your soil is too alkaline or contains too much lime, it can lead to iron deficiency. You can use an iron-based fertilizer to remedy this, but it can be expensive.

Instead, rusty nails can provide the iron needed for your plants to grow. Iron will reactivate your plants’ ability to synthesize chlorophyll and improve the structures and functions of their chloroplasts.

Rust also increases soil acidity, which can be useful if you are growing acid-loving plants such as: ferns, oaks, camellias, blueberries, azaleas, hydrangeas, carnivorous plants, lilies , pines or gardenias.


How to use rusty nails to help your plants.

Be careful!

If you are considering using rusty nails in your garden or orchard, you should be very aware of the risk involved. A nail in the wrong place could not only easily puncture the wheel of a tractor or lawn equipment, but could also cause serious injury if someone stepped on it.

Therefore, it is best to use rusty nails only in enclosed places, such as in a container or when making a specialized solution. This eliminates the possibility of injury or damage.

The best thing if you are going to bury them is not to use nails, but another rusty part that cannot cause accidents.

Irrigation water from rusty nails.

An easy and safe way to boost your plants with rusty nails is to make a “tea” of rusty nails. If you’ve ever made compost tea, this method is quite similar. Simply soak the cloves in water for five or six days. The water will turn brown due to rust. You can then use it to water your plants as you normally would.


Put rusty nails in flowerpots.

If you are growing container plants, another easy trick you can follow is to simply put nine or ten nails in a perimeter around the outside of the pot, with the most rusty part of the nail inserted into the ground. Although the process is slower, when you water or the rain falls it will dissolve the iron from the rusty nail into the soil, helping to fertilize it and helping the plants grow in the pot.

Rusty nails in gardening: is it a myth?

Do a search on the internet and you will find all the alleged benefits of rusty nails for gardening.

While some gardeners will flat out tell you that’s not true (claiming that the iron produced by rusty nails is insoluble), there are others who swear by it.

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And if you’re not convinced rusty nails can help your plants, feel free to adjust the pH by adding iron sulfate or iron chelate, which will also directly help your plants.

And you, have you ever used rusty nails on your plants?

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