Using Coffee Grounds As Natural Fertilizers

Written by: Lars Nyman

Coffee Grounds

Coffee Grounds

Once your cup of coffee is finished, the grounds at the bottom of your coffee filter can still be used! Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen, which is essential to plant health and production. When added to compost, the nitrogen in the coffee grounds mixes with organic material to improve drainage, water retention, and aeration. The used coffee grounds will help microorganisms beneficial to plant growth thrive as well as attract earthworms.

Coffee Grounds Cheatsheet

Fertilizer Basics:

🌱 Plants love coffee grounds as natural fertilizers

✅ Increase soil nutrient levels

✅ Improve drainage and water retention

Easy Application:

🌿 Sprinkle coffee grounds around base of plants

🌿 Mix with soil before planting seeds

🌿 Compost coffee grounds for nutrient-rich soil

Plant-Specific Tips:

🍅 Tomatoes thrive with coffee grounds - boost growth by adding 1/4 cup per plant

🌼 Acid-loving plants like azaleas and roses benefit from coffee grounds

🌿 Avoid using coffee grounds around plants that prefer alkaline soil

Extra Benefits:

💪 Increase earthworm populations

🐞 Attract beneficial insects like bees and ladybugs

🏥 Suppress certain plant diseases

Environmental Impact:

🌍 Reduce food waste by recycling coffee grounds

💚 Organic and sustainable gardening choice

💧 Less reliance on chemical fertilizers

Using Coffee Grounds As Natural Fertilizers

Why I Swear by Coffee Grounds as Natural Fertilizers

I have been gardening for over 20 years, and let me tell you, coffee grounds are the secret weapon that every gardener needs in their arsenal.

1. Coffee grounds, my friends, are a rich source of organic matter that will do wonders for your garden soil. Not only do they provide vital nutrients for your plants, but they also improve the texture and structure of the soil.

2. As an organic fertilizer, coffee grounds are a fantastic choice because they release nutrients slowly over time, providing a natural, long-lasting boost to your plants. They contain essential elements like nitrogen, potassium, calcium, and phosphorus that plants need to thrive.

3. Did you know that coffee grounds are also an effective deterrent for pests? Slugs, snails, and even cats can't stand the smell of coffee grounds, so sprinkling them around your garden can help keep unwanted critters at bay.

The Dos and Don'ts of Using Coffee Grounds in Your Garden

Here's a rule of thumb: moderation is key when it comes to using coffee grounds in your garden. Too much of a good thing can have adverse effects.

Do: Compost Your Coffee Grounds

4. Adding coffee grounds to your compost pile is an excellent way to recycle this waste product and create nutrient-rich compost for your garden. Just make sure to mix them with other compost materials to maintain a balanced carbon-to-nitrogen ratio.

5. When applying coffee grounds directly to your soil, it's crucial to do it sparingly. Aim for a thin layer, no more than half an inch thick, to avoid creating a dense crust that can hinder water penetration.

Don't: Use Coffee Grounds as the Sole Fertilizer

6. While coffee grounds are beneficial for your plants, they should never be the sole source of nutrients. Think of them as a supplement rather than a standalone fertilizer. Combine them with other organic fertilizers, such as compost or well-rotted manure, for optimal results.

Do: Consider the pH Level

7. Coffee grounds are slightly acidic, which makes them perfect for plants that prefer acidic soil, like blueberries, roses, and azaleas. However, if you have plants that thrive in alkaline soil, it's best to use coffee grounds sparingly or avoid them altogether.

How to Apply Coffee Grounds in Your Garden

Here's my tried-and-true method for incorporating coffee grounds into your gardening routine.

1. Collect and Store Coffee Grounds

8. Start by collecting used coffee grounds. You can save them from your morning brew or ask your local coffee shop if they can save some for you. Once you have a good amount, store them in an airtight container to preserve their freshness.

2. Prepare Your Soil

9. Before applying coffee grounds, prepare your soil by loosening it with a garden fork or tiller. This will help improve aeration and drainage, allowing the nutrients to reach the plant roots more effectively.

3. Apply the Coffee Grounds

10. Sprinkle a thin, even layer of coffee grounds around your plants or mix them into the top few inches of soil. Remember, moderation is key, so don't go overboard.

4. Water and Monitor

11. After applying the coffee grounds, water your plants thoroughly to help the nutrients penetrate the soil. Keep a close eye on your plants and adjust the amount of coffee grounds if necessary. Each garden is unique, so it may take some trial and error to find the right balance.

The Bottom Line

Coffee grounds are nature's gift to gardeners, providing a natural source of nutrients, enhancing soil texture, and deterring pests. When used correctly, they can be a game-changer for your garden.

So, fellow gardeners, embrace the power of coffee grounds and watch your plants thrive. Just remember to compost them, use them in moderation, and consider the pH level of your soil. Happy gardening!


1. Can coffee grounds be used as fertilizers for plants?

Yes, coffee grounds can be used as natural fertilizers for plants.

2. How do coffee grounds benefit plants?

Coffee grounds provide essential nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus to plants, promoting healthy growth.

3. Which plants benefit the most from coffee grounds?

Many acid-loving plants like roses, hydrangeas, and azaleas thrive when coffee grounds are applied as fertilizers.

4. How should I apply coffee grounds to my plants?

Spread a thin layer of coffee grounds around the base of plants, avoiding direct contact with the stems.

5. Can I use coffee grounds on all types of plants?

Avoid using coffee grounds on plants that prefer alkaline soil, as they may not tolerate the acidity.

6. Are there any precautions when using coffee grounds on plants?

Avoid using excessive amounts of coffee grounds, as they can create a compacted layer that may hinder water drainage.

7. Can coffee grounds repel pests?

Coffee grounds can deter pests such as slugs, snails, and ants from damaging plants.

8. Should coffee grounds be used fresh or dry?

Both fresh and dry coffee grounds can be used, but dried grounds are easier to sprinkle around plants.

9. How often should I apply coffee grounds to my plants?

Apply coffee grounds as a mulch every few weeks during the growing season.

10. Are there any special considerations for using coffee grounds as fertilizers?

Be mindful of the pH levels of your soil, as coffee grounds can slightly lower the pH, affecting certain plants.

All in all, incorporating coffee grounds into your gardening routine is an easy and effective way to promote strong, healthy plants. It's a natural, inexpensive fertilizer packed with essential nutrients needed to maximize the growth of any plant or flower. With a little care and a sprinkling of coffee grounds, you'll soon be enjoying lush blooms and robust produce.

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