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Are Coffee Grounds Good for Christmas Cactus? Benefits, Drawbacks, Uses, & FAQ

Christmas cactus in the planter in full bloom

People worldwide consume coffee daily as it gives them a needed energy boost to get through their day. However, many believe humans are the only living creatures who can benefit from coffee, which is not exactly true.

Although this might sound strange, specific succulents and houseplants like a Christmas Cactus can thrive on coffee grounds. You’re probably wondering how this is possible, so we want to provide you with more details about the effect of coffee grounds on Christmas Cactuses and how to use them to promote your plant’s growth.

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Why Should You Use Coffee Grounds on a Christmas Cactus?

Coffee grounds act as a fertilizer for Christmas Cactuses, promoting growth and helping your cactus bloom. Like many other houseplants, Christmas Cactus needs potassium and nitrogen to thrive and grow, and coffee grounds contain both. Once you add them to the soil, your plant absorbs them and gets the needed boost.

christmas cactus with flower
Image By: chakoteh, Pixabay

Benefits of Using Coffee Grounds for Christmas Cactus

It may sound bizarre that pouring coffee grounds on your Christmas Cactus has benefits, but it’s still true.

Below are some of the advantages of coffee grounds for Christmas Cactuses:
  • Helps during the bloom season
  • Can revive a dying plant
  • Provide nutrients for the plant
  • Increases soil acidity
  • Improves soil structure

Adding coffee grounds to your Christmas Cactus will have positive effects throughout the year, as long as you nurture your plant as usual. That means providing it with enough sunlight and water.

The 4 Drawbacks of Using Coffee Grounds for Christmas Cactus

Although there are a lot of positive sides to using coffee grounds for your Christmas Cactus, there are also drawbacks to using this fertilizer.

Christmas cactus plant limping
Image Credit: alerypetr, Shutterstock

1. High Acidity

Increasing the soil acidity can be beneficial if your soil doesn’t have the required acidity level for your Christmas Cactus to thrive. However, if your soil acidity level is already balanced, adding too many coffee grounds can make the soil acidity level too high.

That’s why you should ensure you’re not adding an excessive amount of coffee grounds to your plant.

2. Moisture Retention

Coffee grounds in the soil can cause moisture retention, and once the water starts collecting in the soil, it can make it heavy and change its texture. The soil for your Christmas Cactus should be porous and light, so this type of issue could damage your plant.

Christmas Cactus
Image Credit: nightowl, Pixabay

3. Fungus

When there’s a lot of moisture in the soil, it becomes prone to fungus and bacteria. Those could be hard to get rid of, and they could also cause multiple issues for your Christmas Cactus.

4. Compact Barrier

If you add a lot of coffee grounds to the soil of your Christmas Cactus, it will eventually compact the soil as it dries out on the surface. That will affect the plant as it won’t be able to get enough oxygen and water needed for growth. In such cases, your plant could die, which is why it’s helpful to mix coffee grounds with dried particles and organic matter.

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The 4 Different Uses for Coffee Grounds for Your Christmas Cactus

There are a few different methods you can use to get the most benefits out of putting coffee grounds on your Christmas Cactus. Although you can simply pour them over the plant, you should also consider one of the techniques below.

1. Compost

Coffee grounds contain nitrogen that makes them easy to break down. Therefore, you could make a coffee ground compost to use on your Christmas Cactus. The plant will grow faster and get the needed nutrients, while you will avoid possible issues that could happen when using raw coffee grounds.

fresh compost_jokevanderleij8_Pixabay
Image Credit: jokevanderleij8. Pixabay

2. Mulch-Coffee Mixture

Another excellent way of using coffee grounds for your Christmas Cactus is to mix them with mulch. As coffee grounds can cause moisture retention, the mulch will improve the drainage and soil’s structure, allowing the plant to grow undisturbed.

3. Potting Mix With Coffee Grounds

You could also add coffee grounds to your potting mix to promote blooming and boost growth. This way, the soil will absorb the nutrients much faster, resulting in a quick, desirable outcome for your plant.

Coffee Grounds
Image Credit: martin_hetto, Pixabay

4. Compost Tea With Coffee Grounds

Last but not least, you could make a compost tea with coffee grounds. It will act as liquid fertilizer, boosting your plant from the inside. The grounds will be diluted, so they won’t be overpowering, while they’ll still have enough nutrients for your Christmas Cactus.

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How Much Coffee Grounds Should You Use?

There’s no defined formula for how much coffee you should put in a Christmas Cactus, but there are a couple of things you should consider. Too much coffee grounds can lead to several issues, so it’s always helpful to mix it with other substances and use different methods with coffee grounds for fertilizing your Christmas Cactus.

However, 1 or 2 tablespoons should be more than enough for your plant to thrive without developing any problems.

Coffee Grounds_Katy Tomei_Unsplash
Image Credit: Katy Tomei, Unsplash

How Often Should You Fertilize a Christmas Cactus?

You won’t need to fertilize your Christmas Cactus if you repot it every year. However, if you still want to do it, make sure you balance out the fertilization times and try not to over-fertilize the plant.

There’s no direct rule for how often you should fertilize a Christmas Cactus. Instead, try to provide your plant with fertilizer if you notice slow growth, dried, yellow leaves, and similar issues.

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Coffee grounds can be a valuable addition to the development of your Christmas Cactus. However, you should try to balance out its usage and try to avoid adding too many coffee grounds to the soil. Also, instead of applying them directly to the soil, consider using some of the methods we provided, as they will have a better effect on your plant.

Featured Image Credit: Burkhard Trautsch, Shutterstock


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