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7 Genius Reasons To Never Throw Away Pistachio Shells

7 Genius Reasons To Never Throw Away Pistachio Shells

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We all enjoy the crunch of pistachios while watching a good movie, or even in some ice cream, but did you know that you don’t have to throw away the husk? There are a couple of ways you can use pistachio shells for gardening or other projects.

Just make sure that the husks of this Middle-eastern-native tree aren’t salted, or rinse and dry them before adding to your garden if they are.

Let’s look at some ways of using them!

Filler For Potted Plants

If you have a large, deep decorative container, you’ve likely dealt with filling issues. It can feel like a waste of good soil mixture to fill it to the top.

One way to avoid this is by adding a layer of pistachio shells to the bottom. They’ll take up a decent amount of space, and you’ll be left with some substrate for other plants too.

Just make sure you leave enough room for your plants to grow. Herbs and similar smaller plants, for instance, need about a foot of soil to thrive, while larger plants such as tomatoes require 2-3 feet.

An additional advantage is that these shells will provide some drainage, making sure your plants’ roots are never in the water.

Drainage For Container Plants

Pistachios are excellent for improving drainage for potted plants.

Even more so if your planter doesn’t have drainage holes and you don’t really feel like getting a new one.

Just add an inch-thick layer of pistachio hulls to the bottom of the container and top it all up with the potting mixture.

Excess water will drain into this layer, which keeps your plants above it and their roots nice and dry.

Regular materials used for this kind of drainage are stones and pebbles, but pistachios also work. And since it may take a couple of years for them to decompose, you won’t have to worry about replenishing them.


Mulching your plants is an excellent way of preserving soil moisture and preventing weed growth, as well as adding some organic matter once it begins to break down.

It also looks great!

Therefore, the next time you’re munching on pistachios, save the shells and mix them with wood chips, bark, straw, or any other organic mulch material, then sprinkle the mixture around your plants and enjoy a waste-free garden.

What’s so great about pistachio shells is that they’re heavy duty and take forever to decompose, so you won’t have to replenish the mulch any time soon. When they eventually do break down, your soil will be richer in carbon. 

Pest Repellent

Kitchen scraps have numerous uses. For instance, there are many great uses for eggshells, one of which is deterring slugs and snails from eating your outdoor plants. You can do the same with pistachio shells, just make sure they’re salted and these pests won’t come anywhere near them.

Of course, you shouldn’t place them too close to your plants since salt can change the soil composition after rain or watering and cause issues. Instead, place them around your garden or in a wide circle to prevent leaching.

If you want to deter squirrels, cats, racoons, and other animals from digging up your soil, then use the hulls as a thick top layer around your plants.

If you have issues with your pet cat constantly messing with your houseplants, just add some shells and see what happens; they won’t like the texture!


When you exhaust all the gardening options for pistachio shells, just throw them in your compost.

They make an excellent brown material, but they also take ages to decompose. Luckily, you can speed up this process by finely crushing the shells before composting them.

The easier option is to soak them in water for about 24 hours before adding them to your compost. Once they’re ready, just dump the pistachios and water in your bin or pile.

Fire Kindling

If you love pistachios so much that you have too many shells for your garden, you can use them for fires.

Their woody texture is excellent for kindling and starting or reviving an almost dead fire. Just add a handful or two to get it going again.

They’re safe to use in fire pits, wood stoves, and camping fires, although they might hop around a bit when heated. You can cram them in an old newspaper or similar material, crumple it up, and toss it into the flames.

Arts And Crafts

Artful gardeners will love this one. Pistachio shells make an excellent material for various creative projects.

Use the rounded husks to make gorgeous flowers, or make your own succulents from them, as well as floral wreaths, decorative trees, candles holders, necklaces, etc.

Here are some more ideas:

Easy Way To Crack Open Pistachios

Pistachio shells split naturally as they mature, making them easy to crack and get to the delicious nut hiding inside.

But we’ve all come across those stubborn shells that won’t budge. Luckily, there’s a solution.

All you need to do is wedge a shell within the gap of the pistachio you want to open and twist it like this:

Or you can just smash it! The fact that they’re so hard to open makes them even more delicious.

Until next time!