Benefits Of Coffee Grounds In The Garden | Plantly (2023)

Who does not enjoy a mug of Joe every day to boost the early mornings? Of course, we all enjoy a cup 🥤 of freshly ground coffee. Still, did you know that you can use your used coffee grounds?

If you did not know, you would be glad to find out the spent coffee grounds you can use in the garden. Coffee grounds have loads of benefits to use in different ways as it acts as a slow-release fertilizer.

So, get a fresh cuppa and read how this miracle fertilizer works and how you can use it.

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Important Uses of Used Coffee Grounds

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Coffee grounds are a good source of organic matter available at your fingertips if you make a daily pot of coffee. But the truth is using coffee grounds in the garden beds will make them happier in different ways. So, do not toss those grounds; you can put them to good use.

Another interesting thing is even if you do not drink coffee, you can find a local coffee house giving the spent coffee grounds away to gardeners. Why? They need not spend money on people to dispose of it.

So, you can find used coffee grounds to freely provide your plants with organic matter, which costs you nothing. Hence, you can use coffee grounds to improve soil quality, deter pests, and fertilize plants.

On the other hand, as with anything you use, coffee grounds also have drawbacks, and sometimes they should be avoided.

Pros and Cons of Using Spent Coffee Grounds

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Before we provide you with different ways of using old coffee grounds in the garden, we first need to know the advantages and disadvantages.

Pros of Using Coffee Beans

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Helps With Soil Drainage

As coffee grounds are an organic material, you can use them to amend the soil and improve quality.

So, adding coffee grounds now and again helps. When you increase the organic material in the soil, it improves drainage to prevent the rotting of the roots.

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Mixing coffee grounds well into the soil is important as it can become compact, creating the opposite. Why? Coffee grounds are small particles and can become as compact as clay soil.

Coffee Grounds are Good For Aerate Soil

Like improving drainage, coffee grounds in the garden help to aerate the soil. As you are amending the soil using organic matter, it improves aeration. Hence, the roots can absorb moisture and nutrients better.

Coffee Grounds are Good For Water Retention

Coffee grounds act as organic matter to improve the soil’s overall health and help retain water. Hence, it is ideal to use with plants indoors that thrive in moist soil. On the other hand, with water retention, you need not often water young plants and other vegetation.

Coffee Grounds Is Nitrogen and Carbon Rich Materials

Coffee grounds also act as green compost material, even if it is brown. A fact is that it contains nitrogen that breaks down, creating essential nutrients to encourage leafy growth. Hence, it promotes foliage health.

Keeps Plant Pests away

When you add coffee grounds to the garden act as a repellent to keep slugs and snails away, so adding coffee grounds to your vegetable plants can protect them against these pests eating away the leaves. According to gardeners, the taste and smell deter them, and they do not enjoy the grainy texture acting as a natural pesticide and barrier.

Reduces Waste and Chemical Use

Instead of letting your organic coffee end up in the garbage bin and landfill, put it to good use in the garden or the potting soil of house plants. Using coffee grounds is an eco-friendly choice as you can replace synthetic fertilizer with organic fertilizer to protect the landscape.

Cons of Used Coffee Grounds

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Can Form a Dense Barrier over the Soil Surface

As coffee grounds have small particles, they can become compact when it dries out and forms a solid barrier. So, when used, for example, as a top layer, it can create a similar texture to clay soil. For plants, this is bad news as a barrier over the top creates a water-resistant barrier depriving your plants of water and nutrients.

May Be Harmful to Dogs’

While coffee grounds can prevent cats from using your garden beds or pot plants as a litter box, it harms dogs. Coffee is toxic to dogs, and large quantities can result in a fatality, and not worth the risk.

Coffee Grounds Deter Seedlings from Growing

Coffee grounds are loaded with caffeine which can result in some plants dying. So, if you plant seedlings or young plants, we recommend not using coffee grounds near them. Caffeine can destroy the roots. Thus, it suppresses root growth and can also harm mature plants outdoors.

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The Antibacterial Properties can Destroy Good Bacteria in Soil

Organic coffee grounds have antibacterial properties, which are advantageous for soil health. But it can also become a problem. You find many healthy bacteria living in the soil that keeps disease and pests away.

So, introducing a material with antibacterial properties can destroy healthy bacteria and alter the soil’s biodiversity. It can result in different problems, as it can kill earthworms in your vegetable garden or other creatures in the soil.

Used Coffee Grounds are Not Acidic

While many people ensure to get used coffee grounds at coffee shops to bring the alkaline pH level to a neutral form, at the same time, other gardeners recommend using it with acid-loving plants.

Still, you will need to use unbrewed coffee grounds, as once they are brewed, it loses their acidic properties. Coffee grounds vary in brand to type, but the most used coffee grounds have a neutral pH and are useless for amending the soil pH.

So, using fresh coffee grounds will also not help as the acid is water-soluble. As soon as it rains, the acidic content is washed away. Hence, please do not waste time mixing coffee grounds and adding them to the ground to amend the soil pH.

How To Use Coffee Grounds

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While many are still debating over the fact that worms love coffee grounds, others are saying it kills the worms. So more scientific evidence is needed on this one if you have a worm bin. But there are a few other ways to mix coffee grounds and use them.

Composting With Fresh Grounds

You can find two types of material to use in a compost pile brown compost material and green material. While coffee is brown, it remains green material and is rich in nitrogen. Furthermore, it has other nutrients like calcium, potassium, and magnesium.

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You can add coffee grounds to your compost pile with other organic matter like grass clippings, food scraps, egg shells, and vegetable peels. You can even brew some coffee grounds and add them to the heap with paper coffee filters.

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Still, as with any compost, it needs to create a balance that includes some newspapers to dry leaves. Thus the ratio needs to be 4-to-1 of brown compost material and green material. Suppose there is too much green material, it will end up smelling, and with too little, it will not heat up.

Use Coffee Grounds in Your Garden as Mulch

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Mulching can be expensive, and if you can get your hands on used grounds at the coffee shops, what a bargain. Still, please do not use it thickly layered on the surface but not over seedlings or around young plants.

For the best results, we recommend you mix coffee grounds with other organic matter like leaf mold or compost. Or you can rake the coffee grounds into the top layer of the soil to prevent it from clumping, as variable particle sizes are the key to creating a good soil structure.

Also, remember coffee grounds do not add acidity to alkaline soil.

Coffee Grounds as Plant Fertilizer

Another benefit is that you can use coffee grounds on most plants as a liquid fertilizer or slow-release fertilizer. As mentioned, you can use coffee grounds and scratch into the topsoil in small amounts, mixed with other dry materials.

Another great thing is you can use it in most gardens or on houseplants as a liquid feed by making it tea.

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How to Make a Liquid Fertilizer Using Coffee Grounds

  1. Take four cups of used coffee grounds and place them in a large bucket with five gallons of water.

  2. Leave the liquid fertilizer to seep overnight.

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  3. Then pour the grounds and liquid through a sieve to store or use it unfiltered directly on your plants.

As you can see, it is affordable to provide most plants with the nutrients needed to grow healthy. Still, use the used coffee grounds in your garden about three to four times per season and rotate the feed with other liquid feeds.


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