How To Use Coffee Grounds For Plants?

How To Use Coffee Grounds For Plants?

Everyone loves coffee and that feeling of freshness when caffeine starts getting into our blood streams. But do you know that the plants can also cherish the brewed coffee grounds which you use to make your delicious coffee? Yes, you have read it right! You can use coffee grounds for plants to help them with their growth and to level up the mineral and nutrient levels of the soil. But how to use coffee grounds for plants? You are going to know about it soon in this article.

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Are coffee grounds good for plants? 

Coffee grounds contain a good amount of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, which are important for a plant’s growth. They work as compost and also help to obtain the right nitrogen levels in the soil. So this means that they are good for giving energy to the plants.

How do you use coffee grounds for plants?

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There are several easy and creative ways by which you can use coffee grounds for the plant. You can make use of coffee grounds in two ways– By using them in compost and by using them as fertilizers. Let’s see how you can use coffee grounds in these two categories.

Coffee grounds in compost

Compost is made by mixing green material with brown. Green refers to materials that consist of nitrogen, while brown refers to carbon-rich materials. Coffee grounds fall under the category of green materials, so it is important to mix them with brown materials like newspaper, dried leaves, twigs, etc. To use coffee grounds in compost, read the following steps:

  • To make compost, always remember to use one part green and four parts brown (1:4).
  • Not mixing the compost using the given ratio will result in a bad smell or the compost not heating up.
  • It takes about 3 to 6 months for the coffee grounds to transform into compost.
  • Mix the coffee grounds thoroughly because if they get to the surface of the soil, they can dry out.

Coffee grounds as fertilizer

Coffee grounds make good slow-release fertilizers. There are two ways you can use coffee grounds as fertilizers:

1. Sprinkle in the soil

  • Take some coffee grounds and slowly sprinkle them on top of the soil.
  • Make sure not to sprinkle too many coffee grounds. Always use an adequate amount that covers the soil but not too much.
  • You can also use coffee grounds in potting mix.

2. Make Fertilizing tea

Making fertilizing tea from coffee grounds is the best way to use coffee grounds as a fertilizer. Here’s how you can make fertilizing tea from brewed coffee grounds:

  • Take some water in a pot and put coffee grounds in it.
  • Turn on the heat and let it stir for a while. 
  • Turn off the flame after some minutes and use a strainer to strain the coffee grounds.
  • Let the tea cool down before using it for the plants.
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You can also use a coffee maker to make fertilizing tea from coffee grounds. You must be wondering why you cannot dump fresh coffee in the soil. The reason is that it’s too strong and it can cause harm to the plant.

Other Benefits of Coffee Grounds for Plants

Coffee grounds aren’t only used for making compost or fertilizer for plants. They also have several other benefits which keep the plant happy and healthy. Here are some other advantages of coffee grounds that you must know:

Feed your worms:

Vermicomposting is a process in which earthworms break down waste material into compost. So if you are using vermicompost on your plants, it is important to feed the worms, too, so they can continue their work. Study shows that these worms love coffee, so what’s a better way than using coffee grounds as their feed? 

Don’t use too much because it can make the vermicompost acidic. Use 15% of their diet to one-eighth of their bedding.

Keep cats away

If you have cats in your house, you must be tired of how they always go around ruining your plants. But with coffee grounds, you can keep them away from the plants. Most people think that cats dislike the smell of coffee. Do keep in mind that this isn’t proven scientifically, but there’s no harm in experimenting with it. Sprinkle some coffee grounds on the soil and see if your cat will run away from the plant or not.

For pest control

Using coffee grounds for pest control doesn’t mean that they can completely wipe out the pests from your plant. However, they can play a pretty good role in slowing down the growth of pests. No one likes pests and slugs on the ground, and by using coffee grounds, you can shoo them away. Coffee grounds can also prevent pests from moving from one place to another, which results in less destruction of the plants.

Which Plants Like Coffee Grounds Most?

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Before reading about which plants like coffee grounds, you must know that used coffee grounds are slightly acidic, while fresh coffee grounds are more acidic. So using coffee grounds for plants that like alkaline or neutral soil will be a huge mistake as it can completely ruin the plant. 

Plants with Acidic Soil: 

The plants which do well in acidic soil(soil with pH below 7.0), like coffee grounds. Many plants love acidic soil, including perennial plants, shrubs, groundcovers, and many trees. Other plants include:

  • Magnolias
  • Azaleas
  • Hollies
  • Tomatoes and Blueberries

Which Plants Don’t Do Well in Coffee Grounds? 

The plants which thrive in alkaline and neutral soil don’t do well in coffee grounds. Other than mature plants, you shouldn’t use coffee grounds for seedlings and young plants as it can stunt their growth.

Plants with Alkaline Soil:

Alkaline soil is soil containing a pH level of more than 7.5. The plants which love alkaline soil are daylilies, aloe, hostas, and geraniums. These plants do not like coffee grounds unless they are rinsed out of any acidity present in them.

Plants with Neutral Soil:

Plants that prefer a pH level of 6.5 to 7.5 are considered neutral. Ferns and asparagus fall into this category. You should avoid using coffee as a fertilizer on these plants as much as you can.

Recommended Tips for Using Coffee Grounds 

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There are some mistakes that gardeners make while using coffee grounds for plants. These mistakes should be avoided for the well-being of your plant. Let’s look at some tips for using coffee grounds:

  • Never use fresh coffee grounds for the plants, as it can increase the acidity level in the soil. If you are using coffee grounds for the first time, always use the brewed ones.
  • Use small pieces of coffee grounds for making compost so they can decompose easily.
  • Do not layer the soil with coffee grounds, as it can prevent the water from reaching the soil completely. Mix them with the potting mix or use it in compost.
  • The best way to use coffee grounds for vegetable gardens is by composting.
  • Do not use bleached or chemically flavored coffee to keep the fertilizer organic.
  • Always do a soil test before using coffee grounds or any homemade fertilizer for the plant.

Possible Disadvantages of Coffee Grounds for Plants

Despite many advantages, you can come across some disadvantages of using coffee grounds for the plants too. 

  • There can be some plant toxic substances present in the coffee ground which can result in poorer growth in different plants, including broccoli, leek, radish, and sunflowers.
  • If your soil is already rich in nitrogen, using coffee grounds can boost the nitrogen levels resulting in stunted growth.
  • Coffee grounds contain residual caffeine, which can stop the growth of seedlings and young plants.
  • They can also cause high acidity levels in the soil.


Make sure that the coffee grounds you are using for the plants are spent ones and not the ones which you use to make the fresh coffee. If you feel like your plant doesn’t like coffee grounds, immediately stop the use of them and listen to what your plant is saying. 

If you liked this article, visit our website for more articles on plant care.

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