The bottom line: The pH of coffee grounds changes rapidly, so it's not a reliable source of material to raise or lower your soil's pH. You may have heard that coffee grounds will alter the pH level of your garden. But this is only true for unwashed coffee grounds. Coffee grounds won't provide a burst of nitrogen to houseplants or garden plants immediately; they only produce nitrogen over time as they are composted. Coffee grounds are an efficient source of nutrition for plants, but they must be used in moderation. Coffee grounds that haven’t gone through composting can have detrimental effects on your plants like retain excess water and promote fungal growth as a corollary. Coffee contains quite a few nutrients which such plants will love, including potassium, calcium, nitrogen, phosphorous and other minerals. Some plants love coffee grounds and some that do not respond well to them. Using coffee grounds on indoor plants is also a good way to reduce household waste production. Coffee grounds can usually be used on plants that need more acidity but how to use them is important. I give left-over coffee to our houseplants and they love it! Washed coffee grounds have a pH level of 6.5, which is almost neutral. The good news is, all those grounds don't have to end up in the trash and then go on to the landfill. Grounds have a carbon-to-nitrogen ratio of roughly 11 to 20 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen. A real-life test and all the science explodes this popular myth. Cooled vegetable cooking water is fine to add to houseplants. read more. Coffee plants make for great houseplants because they are a striking evergreen addition. Many people feel that coffee grounds lower the pH (or raise the acid level) of soil, which is good for acid loving plants. Oregon State University: Compost Specialist Coffee Grounds and Soil Trial November 2008-September 2009, Oregon State University: Douglas County Master Gardeners: Compost Tea, Washington State University: Whatcom County Extension: Compost Fundamentals, How to Make a Nitrogen Solution at Home for Plants. How to Use Coffee for Houseplants Coffee grounds are a good source of nitrogen, encourage the growth of the beneficial microorganisms in the soil, and help plants that prefer acidic growing medium. Best Answers. You might enjoy cream, sugar, and other additives, but your plants won't. So, coffee grounds as compost is always better. The answer: yes, in some situations this is not only acceptable but a good idea. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series. The filters break down quickly so toss them in as well. Water your plants with the solution about once a month. Plants & Shrubs That Like Coffee Grounds. I have always found that placing coffee grounds in a pail of water and leaving over night makes a very good "drink" for my plants and toss coffee grounds in my compost. Houseplants run on coffee—just not brewed coffee. This rich organic material is good for your plants due to its high nitrogen content, micronutrients, and high-water retention. Yes, coffee grounds are beneficial for indoor plants! Colleen Vanderlinden is a freelance writer and the author of Edible Gardening for the Midwest. You may have heard that coffee grounds can be quite acidic, meaning they have the potential to damage plants that don't favor acidic soil. 5 Simple Ways to Use Coffee Grounds in the Garden, Pinterest's Most Popular Home Gifts All Have One Thing in Common This Year, 10 Tips for Watering Plants Growing in Containers. The absolute best way to use coffee grounds on your houseplants is … Gardens: so you think coffee grounds are good for plants. To prevent plant diseases and repel pests that might attack your houseplants, use your compost to make a compost tea. When used for planting, the grounds create a natural acidic form of bacteria, which boosts the growth of acid-loving plants like tomatoes, roses, blueberries and evergreens. Brewed coffee contains a good amount of potassium and magnesium, which are excellent for plant growth. It is probably better than just dumping it … Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. Coffee is a good home remedy for perking up slow-growing philodendrons, whether the grounds are mixed in with the potting soil or it is simply watered with a solution of half coffee, half water. But I want to be sure that it's OK to put coffee around plants. In some offices, the only "watering" plants received is from working emptying leftover coffee into the pots, and they often do quite well.Â, One caveat: if you add cream, milk or sugar to your coffee, don't pour it into your plants. Microorganisms and earthworms love the stuff and quickly gobble it up, which can result in a richer compost material. “The best way to use coffee grounds for plants is adding it to your compost pile, and then mixing a little bit of that compost in with your potting soil,” Marino says. Part 1 If you add them to the top of the potting soil around your houseplants, they could create a layer that traps moisture, leading to fungal overgrowth. Although coffee grounds are widely believed to be an acidifying agent when added to garden soil, the pH of grounds usually tends to be closer to neutral. If I'm doing houseplants, I add 2/3 potting soil to 1/3 perlite with a handful of coffee grounds/pot. Houseplants require different care than plants that you grow in your garden outside. A plant watered with sweetened or flavored coffee may soon be overrun by fungal gnats.Â. Coffee works great on many types of flowering indoor plants, but can be used outside as well. If the foliage starts yellowing or the tips of the leaves start turning brown, it's a sign that the coffee is adding too much acidity to the soil. Use equal parts cooled plain coffee and water, and water your plants as you normally would. If you decide to try watering houseplants with coffee, keep a close eye on your plant. If the foliage starts yellowing or the tips of the leaves start turning brown, it's a sign that the coffee is adding too much acidity to the soil. It's not a bad idea to dilute your coffee with water, especially if you prefer your daily cup of java on the strong side. But are coffee grounds actually good for your houseplants? Coffee grounds may be somewhat more effective as a rabbit repellent, though here, too, a more aggressive repellant, such as blood meal, will be more effective.Â. Here are some suggestions on how to make good use of coffee and tea: Mix your coffee grounds and old tea bags in a compost bin. Not being able to add coffee grounds directly to your soil doesn't mean you can't use them. Coffee grounds as fertilizer. You can work fresh coffee grounds (used coffee grounds lose their acidity) into the soil to raise the acid level. It is best to only add coffee to plants that thrive in acid-rich soil. You can use it in the following ways: After you have brewed the coffee in a pot, use the leftover to water the plants. It’s the number 1 thing I do with leftover coffee and it has nothing to do with me drinking it! When used as a plant fertilizer, coffee grounds can replenish the soil acidity that is often lost in potted and in-ground plants. But using old tea that will not be drunk, will provide some nutrients for plants, and provided it is not done in excess, should not affect the pH of the soil or cause any other harm to the plant. It's not a bad idea to dilute your coffee with water, especially if you prefer your daily cup of java on the strong side. Coffee and coffee grounds can be acidic, but since we're diluting it so much, that's not really a problem unless you're watering the same plant with it every day. The short answer: unwashed coffee grounds will lower the pH level of your garden (raise the acidity), which is great for plants that like acidic soil, but hurts plants that prefer less acidic soil. I doubt it is cost effective and brewing the water wastes hydro. The bottom line is coffee for houseplants might not be the ideal option, but if you use it efficiently, it can be beneficial for your plants. You can use coffee fertilizer on your potted plants, houseplants, or in your vegetable garden. Diluted coffee is an all-natural fertilizer for houseplants. If you want to try adding coffee grounds directly to the soil of your houseplants, only add a thin layer of no more than 1/2 inch and then cover the coffee with a layer of mulch about 4 inches thick, suggests the Puyallup Research and Extension Service at Washington State University. Watering Grass Seed: Everything You Need to Know, Tips for Fall and Winter Container Gardening. Because of the acidic nature of coffee, this technique should be reserved for plants that do well in acidic conditions, like ferns, roses, and aloe. However, the acidity levels in coffee grounds tend to vary widely based on the level of decomposition. But this is only true for unwashed coffee grounds. Similarly, coffee grounds might attract pests and other insects as well. You can use coffee grounds for your houseplants -- but gardening experts tend to recommend not adding the grounds directly to the soil. Before you pour, dilute it with the same amount of water and make sure to use only black coffee or tea. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. What Do Coffee Grounds Do? You can use coffee grounds for your houseplants -- but gardening experts tend to recommend not adding the grounds directly to the soil. ANSWER: If you are talking about adding used coffee grinds to your garden or to your compost pile, the answer is yes. Or, can the remaining half cup of cold coffee in your mug be poured into that potted pothos plant next to your desk? Learn tips for creating your most beautiful (and bountiful) garden ever. It also makes for an excellent houseplant due to its hardy and resilient nature. The sugars and fats can not only harm your plants and invite pests but can eventually result in a stinky mess. Then strain out the solid material and use the liquid to water your plants, adding enough liquid to soak the soil down to its bottom roots. There are some caveats, though.Â, Coffee grounds are a good source of nitrogen in your compost pile or when added directly to the soil in the garden. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer. Used coffee grounds may benefit plants in several ways. Are Coffee Grounds Good for Magnolia Trees? In addition, coffee grounds make a great addition to the compost pile where the nitrogen will enrich the soil and the acidity will assist in decomposition. Washington State University: Puyallup Research and Extension Center: Coffee Grounds - Will They Perk Up Plants? Sometimes, people do things that aren’t necessarily good for their houseplants in a misguided attempt at giving them an extra dose of love. Coffee grounds have a carbon to nitrogen ratio of 20:1 and should be treated as green material. My plants seem happy enough. I mean, it would be frustrating to see your dear plant suffering for your mistakes! Coffee grounds can be an excellent addition to your compost pile. My houseplants and I have something in common, we both love coffee! Coffee is pretty potent stuff, and you’ll need to go slow when you first start adding coffee to your plants. Planting coffee is a good idea because this plant will stay full and vibrant throughout the year. If you have a few acid-loving plants around, either in the garden or in containers, you can recycle the coffee into a nutritious treat that they'll love. Put finished compost -- which appears dark, crumbly and earthy-smelling -- and water into a bucket at a 1-to-1 ratio. Coffee grounds acidify soil slightly, so although that may benefit gardenias and azaleas, which prefer acidic soils, it won't help an African violet. Ditto for flavored coffees. You can also use the grounds as a top dressing, if you have a good draining soil the grounds will sink into the mix. Let it sit for about 24 hours, stirring it at least every few hours. Putting coffee grounds and brewed coffee into the container your plant is growing in may seem like a good idea, but it really isn’t. Coffee grounds tend to be granules that become compacted easily. Yellowing leaves may be a sign of too much acid in the soil, in which case, abandon the coffee irrigation and repot plants in containers. Coffee grounds act … It depends on the plant. An added advantage is the dark green Coffea arabica plant purifies the air. Tea may benefit your garden or house plants. People have been using coffee grounds in their gardens for years with reasonable success so it’s only natural for people to experiment with using coffee grounds to fertilize indoor plants. Deer are voracious eaters, and a few cupfuls of coffee grounds are unlikely to make much of a difference. For a medium-size house plant, you need roughly 4 cups of solution, suggests Oregon State University's Douglas County Master Gardeners. As long as the grounds dry and are not flavored they will not mold, but if you allow it to clump, you could have a problem. Coffee grounds are particularly good for tomato plants, which thrive on nitrogen. Houseplants benefit from a dose of coffee grounds or a shot of the black stuff because coffee is rich in both nitrogen and acid. There's such a thing as too much of a good thing for both people and plants! Coffee grinds are high in nitrogen and make a great addition to the organic matter around your flowers or vegetables. She said it was good for them. Be sure to check the ph of your plants before adding coffee grounds. How to Add Epsom Salt & Coffee Grounds to Potting Soil. Coffee was once considered unhealthy, but new studies have shown coffee to have powerful health benefits. Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. 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