Can You Compost Orange Peels?

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Quick Answer: Can You Compost Orange Peels?

Yes, you can compost orange peels but not in huge amounts. They add valuable nutrients to your traditional compost bin. It is preferable to break the large pieces of orange peels into tiny pieces to accelerate the decomposition process. Also, bury them in the center of the pile with brown materials for faster decomposition. Avoid adding them in the vermicomposting.

This is the ultimate guide on composting orange peels.

Read on to know more about the pros and cons of adding orange peels to the compost pile.

Can You Compost Orange Peels?

Yes, orange peels can be composted but in moderation. They are rich in nitrogen and contain three percent phosphoric acid and 27 percent potash which are beneficial. They break down easily if shredded into smaller pieces. It is preferable to use citrus peels from organic growers.

A well-maintained hot compost pile will prevent the mold issues associated with citrus peels. But, many citrus peels will be sprayed with chemicals.

If the spray is moderate, it will break down during the composting process.

Add some white lime to neutralize the acidity provided by orange peels.

Also, you may add bulking agents, including wood chips or shredded cardboard to control the moisture.

Check this video for more information:

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Collect the citrus peels, break into smaller pieces, and mix them with the green matter. They are a source of nitrogen, including manure, lawn clippings, or garden soil.

The various steps in composting orange peels are discussed below:

  • Prepare the orange peels– Collect the orange peels and break them into smaller pieces to aid with decomposition.
  • Add orange peels to the compost pile– Add chopped orange peels to the compost pile. Place them in the center of the pile for faster decomposition. The preferable ratio is one part greens, three portions browns, and water. Add grass clippings to the compost to balance the acidity.
  • Maintain the pile– Place the compost bin in the area that receives direct sunlight and provides ventilation. Turn the pile occasionally to provide aeration. If the peels are not decomposed completely, sift and add them back to the compost pile.

How To Prevent Penicillium Molds On Orange-Affecting Compost? 

There are concerns of penicillium mold that grows on orange affecting the compost pile. A well-tended compost pile may prevent the mold to survive. Also, antimicrobial wax on commercial citrus fruits will prevent mold growth.

Penicillium prefers a cooler environment to survive. A well-maintained compost pile will be warmer and so, the penicillium may not survive.

Also, most orange fruits are sold with a mild antimicrobial wax that may prevent mold growth. The wax will not affect your entire compost pile.

Are Orange Peels Harmful To Worms?

No, orange peels are not harmful to worms. But, many kinds of worms don’t prefer citrus peels in their compost bin due to the antiseptic substance, d-limonene in them. So, many composters avoid adding them to the vermicompost bin.

As orange peels can repel worms that help with decomposition, your compost pile may take more time to break down.

Also, microbes do not prefer the strong scent of citrus peels. So, avoid adding citrus peels in worm bins.

What Are The Benefits Of Composting Orange Peels?

Orange peels are highly nutritious adding potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen to the compost pile.  They may help keep the scavengers out of the compost pile due to their strong scent. Also, orange peels speed up the decomposition process by generating heat.

Many gardeners were against composting orange peels as they contain several volatile chemicals like limonene similar to those used in organic pesticides.

However, these chemical oils break down and evaporate in the compost pile.

What Are The Benefits Of Composting Orange Peels?

Orange peels may take between four to eight months to completely decompose depending on the environment of the compost and the size of the peels. The process may be speeded by cutting the peels into smaller pieces as there may be more surface area for the bacteria to work.

Small-sized peels may decompose easily in four to five months.

The large-sized peels may take between 6-8 months to degrade. You may fasten the decomposition by cutting the orange peels into small sizes.


What are the other things that you can do with orange peels other than composting?

You may use orange peels as an insect repellant, and organic pesticide, and reduce the smell in your compost. Rub them against your skin and use them as a remedy against mosquito bites before going into your garden. The orange peels steeped in water may be sprayed to deter the pests.

Can orange peels increase the acidity of the compost?

Yes, orange peels are acidic and may cause a pH imbalance problem if you add large quantities to your compost bin. It doesn’t create problems if only a small amount is added to the pile. Also, breaking them into smaller pieces ensures faster decomposition.

Bottom Line

Hopefully, this detailed guide has provided you with many tips and considerations in composting orange peels.

Please do share your experiences in composting them.