12 Days of HOTBIN Composting Christmas Tips
Day 1: From the Holly and the Ivy, Oh Christmas Tree and Away in Hay Manger, there are composting advice and puns galore on everything you can and can't compost in a HOTBIN over the festive period.
At HOTBIN, we advocate doing your very best to care for your favorite Christmas plants. However, if all fails its always good to know what can and can't be composted
The following is a list of most favorite plants used for decoration during the Holiday Season.
Holy and Ivy
Holly and Ivy are both plants with waxy leaves; a coating which acts as a protective outer layer preventing excess water loss. The natural coating of the leaves can make composting leaves a lot slower to compost which is why it’s advised to chop or shred the leaves first to increase the surface area available to bacteria and increase the speed of breakdown.
Some people advocate not composting ivy because it can be quite invasive in the rate in which it grows. However, when hot composting at 104-140°F this shouldn’t be an issue.
Considered by some as a parasitic plant Mistletoe depends on a shrub or tree as a host for water and nutrients to survive. So, whether getting rid of a “plant pest,” or your festive kissing is completed for the year, mistletoe —with its evergreen leaves, berries and woody stems— can all be composted providing leaves are shredded and stalks/stems are chopped.
Conversely the poinsettia with its rich, ruby red leaves do not have a waxy outer layer but will still require shredding even though they will compost down a lot faster than their waxy counterparts. Add into the HOTBIN with the stems and stalks once they have been chopped down.
Native to South America, the Christmas cactus is different to the other festive plants. Part of the succulent family, the leaves retain a lot of water as part of its survival in a natural humid environment. As such the leaves have a high percentage of water meaning when adding large quantities you should also add shredded paper to help re-balance the moisture levels in the HOTBIN.
Notes on Chopping and Shredding
Chopping and shredding is essential to producing amazing compost quickly and although it can seem too complicated at times, there are really good reasons behind it. Do not add shredded leaves into the HOTBIN as a thick layer as this will restrict airflow. Instead, ensure that the waste is fully mixed into the top layers of the bin.
Remember... a lot of festive plants seem to be a bit thorny, so watch your fingers!