Coffee Grounds for Plants – Organic Fertilizer

The remains of coffee and breakfast, in general, are usually a real treasure to fertilize plants, whether they are ornamental or edible. If on the one hand, the skins of the fruits are ideal for composting, coffee is not far behind. In fact, in addition to being able to add it to the compost pile, they allow many other ways of becoming a fertilizer. All about coffee grounds for plants in this post.

We could say that composting is ecological, and in a way, it would be, since the use of the coffee remains for the plants means recycling a food, although this would have to be organic to be considered truly ecological when it comes to fertilizing a garden that is itself organic.

Used Coffee Grounds for Plants

In this post, we will see different ways to take advantage of the remains or coffee grounds to feed our plants or to use it as a natural pesticide, among other uses that will help us practice more sustainable gardening.

As a first step, before reviewing the different ways to take advantage of coffee grounds, it is important to take into account some practical advice that is key to its conservation. When storing the waste, whether it is in a plastic bag or a glass container, Tupperware or similar, it must be dry, otherwise, the humidity can cause it to rot. Especially if we take a long time to use them.

Another thing is to take advantage of them by throwing them into the compost pile, in which case we can add them as they are, dry or wet, taking into account that they are usually formed by adding layers of fresh and wet materials that alternate with other layers of dry materials.

Thus, whether it is as organic fertilizer mixed with the soil, as food for the worms in the compost, to form traditional compost, or as a repellent for garden bugs, coffee has different uses in the garden, among them the following.

used coffee grounds for plants

How to Use Coffee Grounds for Plants

The remains of coffee have mainly two functions when added to the compost for the soil of our garden, orchard, or potted plants:

Enriches the soil: fertilizing with compost regularly by mixing coffee with the soil and compost can reduce the need for conventional fertilizer, and even make it unnecessary. It is also effective to pour the coffee grounds directly around the plants, together with the compost, both in pots and in larger gardens. The result will be a fertilizer that works like any other organic fertilizer, that does not acidify the soil in excess, but rather is somewhat alkaline. To make liquid fertilizer, you will only have to mix it with water and let it stand overnight. We will obtain a liquid fertilizer that we can apply by way of irrigation or by applying it directly to stems and leaves.

Nitrogenating the soil: although nitrogen fertilizer alludes to a chemical element unless we follow its conventional definition, it is also true that the coffee we drink is derived from processed seeds, which means that the coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen. Its proportion of around ten percent is ideal for enriching the soil with nitrogen, which will be of great help for the growth of plants, their flowering, and, in the case of having an orchard, their fruits as well.

Thus, coffee can be added to the compost, coffee grounds are a source of nitrogen so they are brown and are considered a green composting material and are ideal for adding with plant remains and cut herbs. Active composting is necessary, most experts recommend this material with some coffee. You should know that your coffee grounds should never comprise more than 20% of compost because it could then have a negative impact.

used coffe grounds in the garden

To Scare Snails and Slugs

A thin layer of ground coffee or coffee grounds can help improve the soil in your garden, but the natural composition of the coffee also combines to act as a barrier to slugs, since it will not be easy for a slug or snail to move over a surface of ground coffee. It is effective to place it in a circle around the plant.

If you have slug problems in your garden, ground coffee as you see it will be your great ally because, also, caffeine is toxic for the slugs so they will not try to get near your plants or your home. You can use ground coffee to put around your plants. But we advise you not to use a thick layer of the coffee grounds because they could compact and create a solid crust that would not allow air or water to enter the roots for the plant to live. The ideal is to use a thin layer of ground coffee.

coffe grounds soil
About Henry Morgan

We are the Morgans, Henry, and Julia, both agronomists from the University of Michigan, where we met. We are experts in putting our hands in the soil and developing organic foods and improving production processes for decades. Likewise, we have worked for companies such as Mondelez International, BASF, Monsanto, etc. currently in our role as science writers for as well as advisors in promoting large scale food growing in urbanized areas. In this website, we share what we are most passionate about, gardening and farming. Enjoy and see real photos on our website.