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Are Coffee Grounds Good for Plants? Uses, Drawbacks, & FAQ

coffee grounds

Used coffee grounds are the final result of coffee brewing. Coffee grounds contain several beneficial chemical components, although they are often counted as waste and simply thrown away. While used coffee grounds don’t have much practical use, they can positively impact a composting pile, acting as a natural fertilizer for the soil. Coffee grounds have high levels of nitrogen, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and other minerals, making them excellent for a composting pile and promoting aeration and good drainage.

To learn more about coffee grounds’ benefits on a garden and its plants, read the article below.

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The 3 Uses for Coffee Grounds

1. Compost

Composting is an excellent way to turn organic waste from your kitchen into a natural fertilizer for your garden. Instead of throwing out the coffee grounds, try putting them in your compost pile to achieve a perfect balance of ‘’greens’’ and ‘’browns’’. Greens are nitrogen-rich materials such as vegetables and used coffee grounds; browns are carbon-rich materials such as dry leaves, twigs, and paper. The ideal ratio of these two types of materials is one part green and four parts brown. By adding used coffee grounds, you can help in adding nitrogen to your compost pile, thus creating the perfect environment for the pile to develop healthily.

2. Fertilizer

Another excellent way to utilize coffee grounds for plants is to use them as a slow-release fertilizer. Coffee grounds contain large amounts of beneficial nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, and other micronutrients. Simply add used coffee grounds or leftover diluted coffee to your plant’s soil and allow it to gather the nutrients from the coffee slowly. Adding this organic material to the soil will promote good drainage and aeration and help with water retention.

Someone putting coffee grounds in a flowerpot_RVillalon_Shutterstock
Image Credit: RVillalon, Shutterstock

3. Natural Pesticide

Used coffee grounds are an excellent way to fight off any pests lurking in your garden safely. Slugs and snails are one of those pests that constantly nibble on your vegetables but, on the other hand, won’t go anywhere near coffee grounds. The reasons behind this are unknown, although it is thought that they dislike the abrasive texture of the coffee as well as the caffeine content. Coffee may work as a good solution for ants, as ants also tend to avoid them.

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Why Are Coffee Grounds Good for Plants?

There are many benefits of using coffee grounds in your garden and directly on your plants. Coffee grounds are a natural, organic material that can only promote healthy and nutrient-rich soil. Coffee grounds can work as an excellent natural fertilizer; they can also go into your composting pile or serve as an entirely safe and harmless pesticide. They will work as a slow-release fertilizer, adding beneficial nutrients to your soil and providing your plants with much healthier growth.

Reusing coffee grounds for your plants is also an excellent way to reduce waste because you will recycle instead of throwing out this beneficial material. Using a compost pile made of coffee grounds will additionally eliminate the need to buy synthetic fertilizer, thus reducing the use of chemicals.

Coffee Grounds
Image Credit: 0fjd125gk87, Pixabay

Drawbacks of Using Coffee Grounds for Plants

While the benefits of reusing coffee grounds are vast, some downsides are essential to know before putting coffee into your plant’s soil.

Which Plants Enjoy Coffee Grounds?

Several plants will enjoy the use of coffee grounds from their soil and thrive even more than without the use of this natural fertilizer. Vegetables that love coffee ground fertilizer are carrots, radishes, cabbage, and other plants, including roses, azaleas, hydrangeas, hollies, and lilies. (Sip Coffee House has a more extensive list of plants that enjoy coffee grounds)

On the other hand, certain plants don’t enjoy using coffee grounds, and avoiding using them on plants like tomatoes, alfalfa, and clovers is advised.

Coffee grounds as fertilizer_Nor Gal_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Nor Gal, Shutterstock

garden flower divider Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this article has helped you to maintain your plants the right way. Knowing exactly what your plants enjoy and dislike will give you a huge advantage in gardening, making the hobby much more exciting and rewarding. Once you learn the correct way to utilize used coffee grounds, you will see your plants drastically improving and thriving. Always be cautious when using coffee grounds directly on certain plants though; they can harm young stems and affect the growth of seedlings.

Featured Image Credit: Martin Hetto, Pixabay


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