Is Coffee Grounds Safe for Garden?

Is Coffee Grounds Safe for Garden?- Coffee ground is perfectly safe for your garden plant especially if you know the right amount to use. As well all know too much of anything is harmful, so it is with the coffee ground. If you sprinkle used coffee ground over the soil once in a while then it’s good. Otherwise, using a lot of it to make a mulching layer is a bit too much. It will damage the plant no matter how careful you are with the usage. So the first thing to remember is to start with the right dose. That’s it, keep it low and separate the schedule over weeks to avoid excess deposits of coffee ground on the soil.

Is Coffee Grounds Safe for Garden?
Is Coffee Grounds Safe for Garden?

Check out my previous post: How to Harvest Fennel Bulbs?: Florence Fennel

What are the Benefits of using Coffee ground Fertilizers?

Coffee ground is an easily available organic matter for your soil. It contains a sufficient amount of nitrogen for the plants. If you look out for chemical composition then you will find- Caffeine which itself is a complex molecule, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, a little bit of sulfur, traces of manganese, iron, and lots of carbon.

Together these materials can enrich the soil and make it nutritious for the plant. But make sure the plant you choose needs that much nitrogen. Else it may get some damage.

Fast growth in Plants height is the first benefit of Coffee ground. you will find new green bushier foliage growth due to abundance of nitrogen and a lot of bloom with sufficient potassium.

Plants loving acidic soil will get quickly benefited from the coffee ground. It acts as a slow-release fertilizer so there is no need to repeat the usage too frequently. It’s good to remember, excess of anything is not good not even for plants.

Fresh Ground Coffee vs Brewed Coffee

Whenever we talk about the application of coffee ground in the garden we usually refer used dry substrate. otherwise, some beginner gardeners replace it with fresh ground coffee.

An interesting fact is that both of the ways are beneficial for the plant but in a different manner.

Fresh Coffee ground container excessive amount of caffeine that is not good for some plants while others may find it healthy. It can also release too much nitrogen that may result in increased foliage growth. If you want your plant to look green and bush then it’s good. Otherwise in some cases using fresh ground coffee can inhibit plant growth and can cause curling of leaves. The best way to handle the odds is by keeping the quantity low. Always keep it low enough to dilute with natural toil concentration.

If you go for coffee ground residue or leftovers then you are not alone. I think most of us would like to have our coffee in a cup then do the plants. So you can collect the used coffee ground from your kitchen or you may hop to the garbage bin behind Starbucks if you like. But it is worth it.

Used Coffee ground is safer than fresh grounds for your plants. It will act as a slow-release fertilizer and keep your soil nourished for a long. The amount of caffeine is also very low, so you need not worry about caffeine poisoning for your plants. The only thing to consider is the quantity and texture. Always try to use completely dry coffee ground in very low quantity. Just sprinkle, don’t mulch your plants with it. Otherwise, it may attract bugs or pests and can overheat the root system while decomposing.

In my experience compositing coffee ground is always better than using it raw. Decomposed grounds are more useful for the soil as well as the plants.

how do i start composting, Is Coffee Grounds Safe for Garden?
Is Coffee Grounds Safe for Garden? Can I Compost It?

Check out: How to Maintain perfect Compost to soil ratio?

Should I use Coffee Ground for Indoor Plants?

Yes, you should use Coffee grounds for indoor plants especially if they love acidic soil. Coffee grounds not only make the soil acidic but also gives it a fine smooth texture. This can help in maintaining sufficient moisture with nutrition.

I don’t know whether it’s good or not but it worked for me. I used ground coffee with my succulent mix and portulacas love this composition. The mixture only contains 2% of the ground coffee powder with 20% compost and sandy soil in equal proportion. You could also use it as 1 cup brewed coffee diluted with 2 gallons of water. Just water this mixture to the acid-loving plants and see the magic. Only try to avoid it splashing on the foliage else it may burn the leaves.

My Only Advice is to make sure that your plant needs low ph soil else you may end up harming them. Check out my favorite coffee ground for plants only on Amazon.

How to use Coffee Ground in the Garden?

It is a generation-old question of whether to use coffee grounds in the garden or not, and no one answer seems satisfying enough for everyone. Though if you go for how to use it then probably everyone will have similar answers.

Either you can use the coffee grounds directly in the soil or first compost and then use them. These are the only feasible ways but their implementation may differ.

You can simply sprinkle fresh grounds over the soil if it’s in low quantity. Otherwise, put it over the soil and rake it for even distribution with the topsoil. Whatever you do, make sure not to leave it to stay on top of the soil else it will block the flow of water.

The coffee ground can also be used for composition. It works great with other organic matter in the compost bin. If you are a worm lover and you have a vermicompost bin then it’s easy food for your earthworms. They will eat, digest and return the compost within days. Otherwise, this can take up to 3 months to compost.  Make sure you keep a perfect balance between green and brown in your compost. And yes, I am not talking about the color, it’s the origin. Check out this post to know more- How Do I Start Composting? at my Home Garden

Finally, there is another way to use Coffee ground and this is for lazy fun lovers. Collect all the leftover coffee and yes I’m talking about brewed coffee that you forget to drink while in bed. Dilute it in a bucket full of water, maybe 5 or 10 gallons of water is enough for this. At last water your plants with it. Trust me it is the easiest way to use coffee in the garden. It is safe and really works, I have tried it many times- of course for the obvious reasons.

No matter whether you are married or not, you’ll definitely get my point- never let them see you have wasted the coffee, or be ready for the consequence. LoL…

organic compost
organic compost

Plants That Like Coffee Grounds

  • Carrots
  • Azaleas
  • Camellias
  • Hydrangeas
  • Lilies
  • Gardenias
  • Dahlias and
  • Roses love coffee ground in the soil

There are many other plants that can do well with coffee grounds, I just don’t know all of them!

WhichPlants Don’t like Coffee Ground

  • Tomatoes
  • Pansies
  • Petunias
  • Daisies
  • Geranium
  • Asparagus fern
  • Chinese mustard
  • Butterfly pea
  • Ryegrass and
  • Marigold doesn’t like the Coffee ground in the soil.

How do I know that- Obviously I have killed a lot of these plants during experiments. They don’t like the coffee grounds but you can use a very diluted coffee substrate. It won’t hurt that much and keep the soil nourished.

Problems with Coffee Ground usage in the garden

Is Coffee Grounds Safe for Garden? vermi-compost-worm-casting
Is Coffee Grounds Safe for Garden? Definitely Yes, and Worms loves it.

If you use too much coffee ground in your garden then you must have to face some of these problems.

  • Mold growth on the soil surface.
  • Clogged drainage in planters and containers.
  • Continuous soggy soil.
  • Unusual Curling of leaves.
  • Increased ants and pest attacks.
  • Hardening and compacting soil on drying.

These are a few problems that may occur especially if you apply too much coffee ground in the soil. It may also happen if the soil mix is already compact and dense. Leaving coffee ground over the soil surface is the biggest mistake. It will attract a lot of bugs before decomposition. This as a result will damage the plants instead of nourishing them. Coffee grounds can increase the moisture retention of the soil and it will result in increased sogginess of the soil.

Therefore Use coffee in limited quantity and don’t forget to rake the topsoil after mulching it with the coffee ground. Also, dry out the soil after each season especially in small containers. This will help in the proper distribution of nutrients and soil texture.

Read This: How to Dig up Asiatic Lily Bulbs?

Precaution while using Coffee ground in garden plants

  1. Use a low quantity of coffee ground and sprinkle it on the soil. Only 1 teaspoon is sufficient for an 8-inch container or pot.
  2. Rake the soil properly to make it even after spreading coffee grounds. It is essential to not let coffee grounds settle on one spot. If you let it settle on the topsoil then the soil will become impermeable for water. This may kill your plant due to thirst.
  3. Water the plants after applying coffee ground. Water will help the grounds to mix with soil and get decomposed.
  4. Never overdo the application. Too much of anything is deadly, especially for your plants. The coffee ground can increase the acidic nature of the soil and too much of it can burn the root system.

Is Coffee Ground Safe for Vegetable garden?

Coffee ground is safe for almost every vegetable unless you use too much of it. If the plant loves acidic soil then it will definitely love the coffee ground. The importance here is to decide when and how much to use.

You can mix coffee grounds in the soil to grow carrots and radishes. But this will not work the same for Tomatoes, they won’t like it. So if you know the fine adjustment then coffee ground can definitely work for all of your veggies.

The best and safest way to use coffee ground in your vegetable garden is to use it with compost. Yes, you can mix compost with the coffee ground and apply it to the plant as needed. You can also make compost out of coffee grounds or bags before applying. It works and I’ve tried it several times in my garden. I used it for Chillies, Bell papers, Roses, and Hibiscus. They all seem to love it except the tomatoes.

Final Word

What do you think- Is Coffee Grounds Safe for Garden? I think it is useful and probably safe if you know how to use it properly. Experimenting with new ideas is a key to finding unique gardening answers. It works for me and hopefully will do the same for you. If you are not sure then try coffee grounds with a few plants and observe the changes as experiments. And Don’t forget to write your thought and observations in the comments.


Hi, My name is Sukant. I am an I.T professional. Gardening for me is not just a hobby, it's a way of living life with nature. My Ancestors were Commercial farmers: So I personally feel attached to the green. I am not an expert, I'm here only to share my gardening experiences. It's always Refreshing.

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