How To Use Coffee Grounds In The Garden [Quickly & Easily]

Finding new ways to use leftover food can be tricky without the correct information. Do you have extra coffee grounds you want to use around your property but don't know where to begin? Can you even use coffee grounds in a garden? We'll answer all of these questions in our post. Let's dive in!

To use coffee grounds in your garden, sprinkle them thinly onto your soil or add them to your compost heap/bin. Generally, coffee grounds will help add acidity to your soil, which is perfect for many plant species.

In addition, coffee grounds are highly rich in nitrogen, which you can use as a fertilizer. So just because you didn't use all your coffee doesn't mean it should go to waste!

As we begin this article, we will cover all things coffee grounds and discuss how to use them in your landscaping. Whether you have a compost bin, need to add acidity to the ground, or have related questions, we're here to offer some guidance. With that said, let's dive right into this topic!

Pouring a cup full of fresh coffee grounds, How To Use Coffee Grounds In The Garden [Quickly & Easily]

Can I Use Coffee Grounds In My Garden?

Yes! You can certainly use coffee grounds in your garden. As we said, many people add coffee grounds to their compost, eventually becoming fertilizer for the soil.

In addition, coffee grounds are also great at balancing alkaline soils and adding a bit of acidity to those lacking it. So, if you have a species growing in your yard that prefers a lower pH (higher acidity), we recommend giving coffee grounds a try.

Woman holding a handful of coffee grounds

On top of that, coffee grounds are nitrogen-rich, which works as a fertilizer for many plants. Nitrogen can work wonders for certain shrubs, flowers, and trees, so your coffee grounds could be more beneficial than you give credit.

Regardless, you want only to use light amounts of coffee grounds around your plants, as they pack quite the punch. Sometimes too much of a good thing can quickly become negative.

Using Your Coffee Grounds For Compost

If you want to use coffee grounds as compost, this is pretty simple. First, you want to ensure your coffee grounds are not overly treated with preservatives or other food-related products.

Ideally, organic coffee beans will be the best for composting (as well as your health).

Woman pouring fresh coffee grounds to the aloe vera

From there, add the extra grounds to your compost bin or heap and mix them in. Generally, compost does most of the work for you, but a good mixing never hurts.

As we said, using coffee grounds in your compost will mean they eventually benefit your plants. Since your compost becomes a nutrient-packed fertilizer, giving your mix some acidity and nitrogen is perfect.

According to experts, you can also use your paper coffee filters in compost. Having a bit of sturdy material in compost can make it more usable when it's ready.

Using Your Coffee Grounds Directly On The Soil

This is also very easy if you prefer to apply your coffee grounds directly to the soil. To start:

  1. Grab your grounds and spread a thin layer of them onto the ground.
  2. Cover your coffee grounds with leaves or bark mulch.
  3. Thoroughly mix your coffee grounds into the soil.
  4. Water the area and add fresh compost if you have it.

According to Oregon State, you also want to try and mix your coffee grounds with other natural materials before or after they are near your plants.

Doing this can help balance their acidity, which is sometimes too harsh on your vegetation.

Another interesting point they made is that coffee grounds are about 2% nitrogen by volume. Therefore, they aren't a great sole fertilizer for nitrogen-loving plants.

You also want to ensure you mix your coffee grounds into the existing soil well. Although we don't realize it, the coffee grounds can work as a moisture repellant on their own, creating issues in your yard.

So, don't be afraid to grab a rake and mix!

What Plants Like Coffee Grounds?

Now that you know the basics using your coffee grounds on the right plants is essential. Typically, any acid-loving species will appreciate coffee grounds, so that's a good place to start.

However, a few that we want to mention are:

  • Hydrangeas
  • Rhododendrons
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Blueberries
  • Radishes
  • Cabbage
  • Azaleas
  • Carrots
  • Hollies

One thing all of these plants have in common is their love for acidity. Since coffee grounds can balance alkaline grounds and lower soil pH, they are an easy choice.

Of course, you don't need to get wild with the amount of coffee you use, so try to keep it light and mix it into the current soil well.

In addition, you might also want to try coffee grounds for succulent species, as they usually enjoy a bit of soil acidity. The options are endless with coffee grounds, hence why so many people use them for gardening.

A plate full of coffee grounds poured on a clay pot

What Plants Should I Not Use Coffee Grounds On?

Even though coffee grounds can benefit some plants, they can devastate others. For example, if your plant prefers neutral or high-pH soil, you don't want to apply coffee grounds to its ground.

We don't recommend using coffee grounds on plants like geranium, asparagus fern, Chinese mustard, and Italian ryegrass. Furthermore, any species with alkaline or low acidity preference shouldn't get coffee grounds.

It's always best to double-check your plant's growing needs before amending the soil. Changing the pH too dramatically can send your vegetation into shock and even kill it.

Another way to prevent adding too much acidity to the ground is mixing your coffee with compost, which can lessen its effects.

Will Coffee Grounds Harm Flowers?

A cup full of coffee grounds

Although coffee grounds can be great for some flowers, we don't recommend them for all. As we mentioned earlier, coffee grounds are high in acidity.

Many flowering species don't like acidic ground, so this can be a recipe for disaster. Many experts also warn against using coffee grounds on flower seedlings, as they can harm their roots.

Again, this is mainly if you add too many coffee grounds, but it's possible. Regardless of the size of your plant, you need to check if it likes acidity and then apply a thin, well-mixed layer of your coffee.

Too much coffee (if your grounds are caffeinated) can also inhibit the growth of a more mature plant as well, so this isn't always such a quick fix.

Flowers can be sensitive to sudden ground changes, so always try and be careful with them.

Can You Use Coffee Grounds On Grass?

Yes! Another way you can use coffee grounds is on your grass. Like many nitrogen-loving plants, your coffee grounds can work wonders for turf.

Besides holding a bit of nitrogen and acidity, coffee grounds are filled with phosphorus and trace minerals your grass loves. Again, you don't want to apply too thick of a layer on your lawn, as this can do more harm than good.

In addition, adding coffee grounds to your grass can be beneficial for aeration. That's because your coffee grounds will seep into the ground, where worms can enjoy them.

An interesting fact about worms is that they love coffee almost as much as we do! When you sprinkle the grounds onto your grass, it encourages the worms to eat the grounds and, in return, aerate the lawn with their castings. It's a win-win!

How Often Should I Put Coffee Grounds On My Plants?

A coffee cup and cat mint on the side

You can add coffee grounds to your plants every few weeks. Try to do this whenever you amend the soil around your plants or when you want to fertilize.

However, you don't need to add too much coffee to your plant's soil, as this isn't beneficial. Even cutting back to once per month can yield better results than doing this too frequently.

Moderation is very important when dealing with acidity, so follow a similar timeline at home.

Like anything; fertilizer, compost, and water, you don't always need to overuse your coffee grounds. On the other hand, if you have house plants that prefer acidic soil, you can generally add weak coffee tea every 7-10 days.

Are Caffeinated Or Decaffeinated Coffee Grounds Better For Gardening?

Between using caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee grounds in your garden, decaffeinated will be the safer choice. As we said, too much caffeine can adversely affect your plants.

If you add too many grounds with caffeine to a plant's soil, there are higher chances of problems. However, decaffeinated coffee poses fewer risks and will still add acidity to the ground.

With that said, the lack of caffeine may not send as many worms to your lawn, but that's more grass-specific. So if you are worried about aeration, we recommend caffeinated grounds and decaffeinated for other plants and compost.

Although we may enjoy the boost coffee gives us, this can be very shocking to our green counterparts.

To Wrap It Up

Pouring a cup full of fresh coffee grounds

Using coffee in your landscaping can be beneficial if you have plenty of coffee sitting around or need new ideas for gardening. From what we found, you want to mix your grounds into a compost bin or pile or spread them onto your plant's soil directly.

Coffee grounds are great for lowering soil pH, have nitrogen, and even contain a bit of phosphorous. Furthermore, using extra grounds on your grass can encourage worm castings and aeration.

However, you want to be careful with how much coffee you apply to the soil. Too much of anything can quickly stun or even kill your plants, so be careful and limit your application to 1-2 times monthly.

Made it to the end? Check out these helpful related articles below!

Do Coffee Grounds Help Avocado Trees? [And How To]

How To Compost Garden Waste At Home [3 Foolproof Techniques]

Best Indoor Compost For Plants [And How To Apply]


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