Are Coffee Grounds Good for Houseplants?

Are Coffee Grounds Good for Houseplants?

Yes, using coffee grounds on your houseplants can have plenty of benefits. Coffee grounds have plenty of organic material that provides plants with micronutrients and nitrogen. It also helps the plants retain water better.

In this article, we will discuss the reasons coffee grounds are good for your houseplants, the correct use of coffee grounds on your plants, and the possible downsides of using coffee grounds on your houseplants.

Why do people use coffee grounds on their plants?

Coffee grounds are rich in nutrients

Coffee grounds contain phosphorus and nitrogen, both of which are essential elements for plants’ survival. In fact, they are so rich in nitrogen that it comprises two percent of their volume.

There are also micronutrients present in coffee grounds that help plants grow better, such as iron, magnesium and calcium.

Coffee grounds cost next to nothing

If you are a fan of coffee and have a mound of coffee grounds each morning after preparing your cup of joe, you can collect these in a container and use them in your garden.

Gardening can be an expensive hobby if you want your garden to really thrive, and saving a few cents on your garden’s maintenance is always welcome. Coffee grounds are essentially waste, so instead of throwing them in the trash, reuse them on your plants.

Coffee grounds are eco-friendly

Reusing coffee grounds that would otherwise be thrown away will allow you to help the environment in your own little way. Because they do not contain the chemicals found in most commercial fertilizers, the use of coffee grounds is safe not only for your plants, but for you and your family as well.

Coffee grounds are readily available

If you do not drink coffee, chances are there are at least one or two people in your household that do, so there will always be coffee grounds to hand. No need for a special trip to the garden shop to spend money you could use for something else.

How can I use coffee on my houseplants?

Liquid coffee fertilizer

This does not mean you can use freshly brewed coffee on your plants; instead, use the coffee grounds to make sort of a coffee-ground tea by mixing the grounds with water.

Add the grounds to a container with water and let it soak or steep for up to two weeks, stirring the mixture once in a while.

Letting the coffee soak allows the grounds to release their nutrients, while also making the soil more attractive to good bacteria. Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth after two weeks, and use it to water your plants.

Make compost with the coffee grounds

This is the easiest way to use coffee grounds on your plants. Place the coffee grounds in your compost pile and use the compost whenever it is ready.

Because a lot of the more popular houseplants come from jungles and places with tropical climates, it is important to simulate that kind of environment in your home. Compost with coffee grounds will help replicate this and provide plenty of nutrients to your plants.

You can either use the compost when you are repotting your plants, or add a thin layer of the homemade compost on top of the soil.

You might have a problem with the idea of compost because you think it might cause a bad smell to linger in the room, but you do not need to worry – the smell will dissipate quickly. If you are still worried about the smell, you can cover the layer of compost with another thin layer of soil to keep the smell contained.

Remember not to put too much compost on the plant’s soil because this acts like a fertilizer and may cause your plant’s foliage to burn. Add only up to an inch of compost and no more.

Compost also retains water well, so you may need to adjust your watering schedule and water it less frequently, or you could end up overwatering the plant.

Add the coffee grounds to the potting soil

You can also use coffee grounds as a slow-release fertilizer by mixing them directly into the potting soil when you repot your plant.

The nutrients in the coffee grounds will be released little by little as it decomposes in the soil.

This method can supply your plant with nutrients for as long as six months.

The level of success here will depend on the type of plant you are growing. There are plants that need more potassium and phosphorus than nitrogen, in which case the coffee grounds may not be able to provide the plant’s specific needs.

What are the disadvantages of using coffee grounds on houseplants?

They attract fungi

This happens most often when the coffee grounds are added on top of the soil’s surface. Fungi like the environment created by coffee grounds on top of the soil, which can unfortunately lead to the proliferation of fungi on your plant and in the soil. You can try to avoid this by incorporating the coffee grounds into the soil instead of simply sprinkling them on top.

They might retain moisture too well

Unfortunately, coffee grounds soak up moisture much like a sponge, which means they will keep the soil around the plant damp and moist for longer than normal. This leads to increased risk of overwatering, even when you water the plant as you normally do.

You can reduce the risk of overwatering by adding perlite or coarse sand to the soil to make it more porous and allow the excess water to flow out of the soil more easily. This will allow the soil to dry out faster and significantly reduce the risk of root rot. Make sure the pot you are using also has large enough drainage holes at the bottom to let the excess water flow out.

There are better alternatives to coffee grounds

Yes, we discussed many advantages to using coffee grounds on houseplants, but that does not mean they are the best choice for fertilizing your plants. There are plenty of safe natural or synthetic fertilizers available commercially that better address the needs of your houseplants. In fact, you are better off using your coffee grounds on your outdoor plants.


Yes, coffee grounds can be good for your houseplants if you do prefer not to spend the money on commercial fertilizers. Just remember that there are also drawbacks to this practice, and you are better off using the coffee grounds on your outdoor, rather than indoor plants. However, if you wish to use them on your indoor plants, make a coffee-ground tea or mix them with your compost before using them on the plants.

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