Many people take coffee whenever they need to cheer up or increase their energy levels, especially early in the morning.
Just like humans, coffee can also make some plant varieties perk up. Thus, it’ll help to know which plants thrive when fed with coffee grounds and those that don’t.
More people are now interested in knowing the plants that flourish when fed with coffee grounds, especially now that more people are preferring to brew coffee at home rather than buying it from local coffee shops.
Also, a growing number of people are looking for creative ways of using food waste. Coffee grounds are a perfect food waste that can be used as a fertilizer for some plants.
However, there’re certain things you need to know before feeding plants with coffee grounds. Here’s what you should know.
Why do some homeowners succeed in feeding plants with coffee grounds while others don’t?
Well, many people report mixed results when it comes to feeding plants with coffee grounds. The mixed results are largely a result of the kind of grounds used. You may get suggestions from the internet or friends that a specific plant flourishes when fed with grounds but when you try doing it, your plant fails to flourish. The reason behind this issue is that different people may be using different kinds of grounds. As a result, it becomes quite challenging to tell the plants that thrive when fed with grounds and the ones that don’t.
Essentially, there’re two major types of grounds including used grounds and fresh grounds. To start with, used grounds are leftover grounds after brewing coffee. On the other hand, fresh grounds are freshly ground beans that are yet to be used in brewing coffee. It’s recommended to only feed your plants with used grounds. Fresh grounds are too acidic such that some plants may not handle the extreme acidity.
Although some plant species may thrive when fed with extra acidity such as hydrangeas, most plants don’t thrive in highly acidic soil. Used grounds have much of their acidity extracted during the brewing process. Thus, used grounds don’t add a lot of acidity to the soil, making it possible for most plants to thrive.
Although used grounds lose much of their acidity when brewing, their essential nutrients aren’t lost. Potassium and nitrogen are the main nutrients found in used grounds. These nutrients are usually added to commercial fertilizers. Luckily, these nutrients are available in used grounds for free.
Using grounds as fertilizer isn’t a trade secret. While grounds may help some plants, they may not always work. Thus, you can’t use them with a guarantee. Coffee grounds are best used for trial purposes and as a means of reducing food waste.
Which plants thrive when fed with grounds and which ones don’t?
Since feeding plants with used grounds to boost their growth isn’t always guaranteed, it’s quite challenging to tell the plants that can benefit and those that won’t thrive. Current evidence is inconclusive. Thus, it’s recommended to test the grounds gradually with different plants and see the ones that’ll benefit.
Nonetheless, used grounds have a positive impact on moisture retention. Mixing fertilizer with used grounds improves the soil’s ability to retain water. Improved moisture retention is beneficial for certain plant species. In this regard, you can experiment with grounds by applying them to plants that love moisture and avoid those that dislike a lot of moisture.
Plants that love moisture (those you can experiment with) include:
- Elephant ear
- Lily of the valley
- Forget-me-nots (Scorpion grasses)
Plants that love dry soil (those you can’t experiment with) include:
- Madagascar periwinkle
- Sago palm
- Cactus and succulents
- Black-eyed Susan
- Century plant
- Spider plant
- Snake plant
Tips for Nourishing Your Plants with Coffee Grounds
It’s important to know how you’ll apply the grounds. A common mistake that many individuals make when applying coffee grounds is applying them excessively. You might assume that applying a high amount of grounds will result in increased benefits for your plants. However, the potassium and nitrogen in the grounds are best when added moderately. You should dilute it to avoid introducing excessive potassium and nitrogen to the soil.
It’s advisable to add the grounds to compost manure and mix them into the potting soil. Diluting the grounds is similar to how you dilute fertilizer during application. For the best results, apply 1 teaspoon of the grounds for each water gallon. You can mix them in a container and stir them together until fully diluted. Allow them to mix and settle for some nights. Next, sieve the mixture with a strainer or cheesecloth. That way, you’ll end up with diluted grounds.
Also, using grounds moderately on a single plant will allow you to assess how it responds to the grounds. If you notice that the plant is thriving after applying grounds, then you can feed more similar plants with the grounds. However, if you notice that the plant is getting harmed, avoid feeding it with the grounds.
Besides using grounds as a fertilizer, you can as well use them in mulch. It’s suggested that adding coffee grounds to mulch assists in keeping slugs away. The reason behind this is that slugs find coffee to be toxic and avoid it. Also, there’s evidence that grounds attract beneficial earthworms. Earthworms enhance soil health by mixing organic matter with soil. They also enhance water infiltration in the soil.
Whether you prefer using grounds as mulch or fertilizer, remember that seasons change. When using commercial fertilizers, you apply them in certain seasons only. The same case applies to coffee grounds. They should only be applied during the plant growing seasons, which are summer and spring. Avoid using grounds during winter months since plants tend to be dormant during the cold season.
Also, if you’re struggling with pet cats that are eating young plants, consider applying some grounds around the plants to deter the pets from destroying them. Several people suggest that used grounds keep cats away from plants. Thus, it’s something worth trying.
As you can see, applying coffee grounds as fertilizer for your plants is quite tricky. There’s no guarantee that used grounds will help your plants. However, you should give them a try to see whether your plants will benefit. That way, you’ll reduce waste and promote environmental sustainability. Consider applying grounds to the recommended plants in this article and assess whether they’ll benefit before making it a ritual.