Morning has come, and it’s time for some coffee. As you’re sipping the morning joe and gazing across the room, your eyes fall on one of your houseplants.
Didn’t you read somewhere that coffee grounds were good for plants? As you think about this, you begin to ponder whether or not those grounds you just used can be put to further use other than the trash can.
And this leads you to wonder…
- African Violet (Saintpaulia spp)
- Azalea (Several Species in Genus Rhododendron)
- Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera Bridgesii)
- Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia spp.)
- Jade Plant (Crassula Ovata)
- Orchids (Orchidaceae Family)
- Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum Genus)
- Pothos (Epipremnum Aureum)
- Roses (Rosa spp.)
- Snake Plant (Sansevieria Trifasciata)
- Spider Plant (Chlorophytum Comosum)
Are There House Plants That Like Coffee Grounds?
Coffee grounds are great for some plants but not for others.
Here’s what you need to know about giving grounds to your houseplants and which ones benefit most from them.
Why Use Coffee Grounds?
Before we get into the plants, let’s examine the pros and cons of giving plants your grounds.
The most obvious benefit is that the coffee grounds provide plenty of nitrogen, one of the most important nutrients for healthy stem and leaf growth.
The actual NPK of grounds can vary but is generally around 2-0.06-0.6.
In addition, the grounds can help repel pests and will even help kill many forms of soil fungus.
The grounds serve a dual purpose: keeping the soil somewhat loose until they decompose while also speaking up some water, making them a great companion for aggregates.
Since coffee is acidic, the grounds can be used to help maintain a good soil pH.
The Downsides To Coffee Grounds
Not all plants like coffee; some may prefer tea (as in fertilizer tea).
Additionally, you can’t just throw a bunch of coffee grounds into the pot or use it in place of soil.
Coffee grounds soak up water, which means they’re a poor choice for succulents and other plants that need drier soil.
This trait can also lead to a higher risk of root rot if you have too many grounds.
Too many grounds can also cause the soil to become too acidic or create toxic nitrogen levels.
Plants That Love Coffee Grounds (and How Much)
So now that we know why coffee grounds can be good for some plants and bad for others, let’s look at some houseplants that love some grounds in their diet.
African Violet (Saintpaulia spp)
African violets love organically rich soils so much that potting soils made for them are used for a whole host of indoor plants.
Because they love both acidic soils and nitrogen, coffee grounds are the perfect addition to this plant’s soil.
Azalea (Several Species in Genus Rhododendron)
Depending on the era, these plants have either been well-loved or infamous symbols of death.
Coffee grounds can encourage good foliage and greet flowers.
Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera Bridgesii)
Often confused with the Thanksgiving and Easter cacti, this strange plant is named for the time of year it blooms.
The grounds can help this plant grow fuller and also encourages healthier blooms.
This genus produces flowers in pink, red, and white.
While it doesn’t need a lot of nitrogen, an occasional bit of coffee grounds can keep the plant looking healthy and full.
Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia spp.)
Named for their ability to temporarily affect speech if consumed, some species of dumb cane are grown as indoor plants.
Coffee grounds not only boost their foliage but can also help provide the slightly moist soil that these plants need.
This large genus of flowering plants can be quite varied.
However, they share a love for the nitrogen that coffee grounds provide.
Jade Plant (Crassula Ovata)
These plants benefit greatly from the additional nitrogen in your grounds.
Treating them will result in thicker stems and darker foliage.
Orchids (Orchidaceae Family)
These beautiful flowering plants appreciate some acidity in their soil.
Sharing some ground with them will keep them happy and healthy.
Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum Genus)
While not true lilies, peace lilies are quite popular for both their beauty and symbology.
They absolutely thrive when given some coffee grounds to boost the soil acidity.
One of the more famous indoor foliage plants, philodendrons, rarely, if ever, bloom indoors.
This means coffee grounds are a perfect addition to keep that foliage looking its best.
Pothos (Epipremnum Aureum)
Despite an entire genus of pothos plants, this outsider has cornered the market with its false identity.
The grounds can boost this plant’s growth as a foliage plant.
Roses (Rosa spp.)
Roses tend to love acidity, including miniature roses. So provide some coffee grounds to keep these iconic plants full and healthy.
Snake Plant (Sansevieria Trifasciata)
While this plant is now officially classified as a dracaena, most plant enthusiasts refuse the name change.
However, a dose of 2 parts coffee grounds to 3 parts water given every 3 weeks is one thing this plant won’t refuse.
Spider Plant (Chlorophytum Comosum)
One of the houseplants most people immediately picture, the spider plant is well-known for its trailing growth.
Giving a spider plant a dose of 1 part coffee grounds to 3 parts water can help maintain the slight acidity this plant needs.
Tips On How To Use Coffee Grounds In Houseplants
You need very little to feed a lot, meaning a tablespoon of grounds is more than enough for a small plant.
Spread the grounds evenly into a thin layer on top of the soil, then follow up with a very light watering.
The water will begin the process of breaking down the grounds, allowing some of the nutrients to begin sinking into the soil.
You should also treat the grounds as a type of fertilizer supplement, not as a regular fertilizer.
However, this doesn’t mean there aren’t some plants that fare best when you mix grounds into the potting soil at a 1:3 ratio.
As mentioned, don’t use grounds with succulents, plants that need drier soil, or those that hate acidity.
You should also avoid using coffee grounds on seedlings, as their nitrogen content is too high.
Coffee grounds will boost foliage growth, so reduce using them if you encourage healthy blooms.
Finally, while using grounds as a supplement is okay, consider putting them (and your used coffee filters) into the compost heap instead, where they’ll be even more effective.