Are Coffee Grounds Good for Plants?

by Peter Taylor | Last Updated: 17 January 2021

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Are Coffee Grounds Good for Plants?

Coffee is a great beverage widely appreciated by many cultures around the world. Once brewed, it leaves behind coffee grounds. It is a substance that some people throw away while others find it useful in the garden. Coffee grounds have found many applications since they contain nutrients for plant growth.

Coffee grounds are good for plants since they act as fertilizers and mulch for various plants in your garden. They’re a great source of nutrients like nitrogen, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus, which aid in the growth of healthy plants. Besides, they’re food for worms and other soil creatures.

This article will reveal why coffee grounds are good for plants, the kinds of plants they’re used with, and why they’re good for grass and roses. Read on to learn how much coffee ground content you should use on your garden to prevent damage and harvest the overall benefits.

Which Plants Like Coffee Grounds?

Coffee grounds are like a refreshing drink to your garden, but many people often overlook the underlying benefits. Some coffee shops, coffee houses, and factories offer coffee grounds to their customers to use in the garden. Unfortunately, some people dispose or discard them, not knowing how great they are in increasing soil fertility.

Now that you know coffee grounds are good for plants, you may be wondering which plants are best suited for coffee grounds and why. First, coffee grounds are slightly acidic, and they lower the soil pH. Therefore, you should use them on plants that thrive on acidic soils.

Plants that prefer acidic soils and grow well on coffee grounds include the following:

  • Blueberries
  • Carrots
  • Azaleas
  • Radishes
  • Blueberries
  • Camellias
  • Mushrooms

Coffee grounds have high nutritional value for crops that survive on acidic soil, but don’t expect it to work too soon. Unlike artificial fertilizers, decomposition of organic materials need some patience. Coffee grounds decay slowly to release nutrients into the soil after some time. You should also note that to reap the benefits, you must rinse them with water.

Fresh coffee grounds increase soil acidity. This may cause damage to the plant’s roots. High levels of soil acidity burn the roots and kill beneficial vermins and insects that help in the decomposition of organic matter. The best solution is to wash them with water to lower the acidity.

Which Plants Do Not Like Coffee Grounds?

Using coffee grounds in the garden is a healthy practice. However, due to high acidity levels, coffee grounds should not be used for all plants since it may inhibit growth or damage their root structure. Some plants are intolerant to acidic soils, while others are easily damaged by exposure to coffee grounds.

Below is a list of plants that don’t like coffee grounds.

  • Geranium
  • Italian Ryegrass
  • Hollies
  • Asparagus ferns

Are Coffee Grounds Good for Roses?

One way to create a beautiful garden would be using fertilizers or adding coffee grounds. Coffee grounds are considered a cheaper way of fertilizing the garden since they’re affordable. The only question lingering in your mind is, do roses like coffee grounds?

The answer is, yes. Roses like acidic soil, therefore, coffee grounds could serve as the perfect source of nutrients. However, many farmers make the mistake of putting too much to get the best out of their roses quickly. What they fail to understand is that too much of something is usually bad.

Healthy roses require nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphates to develop strong stems and sturdy petals. Stronger roses are resistant to pests and diseases. Other than nitrogen, coffee grounds add phosphates, potassium, and copper to aid in the growth of healthy, beautiful roses. They also add more value to the soil, for instance, improving drainage.

When adding coffee grounds, don’t put too much because the high nitrogen content might damage the rose plant roots. Timing is also essential if you want to get the best of your efforts. The best time to apply coffee grounds in your garden is determined by seasons. For instance, roses come out of winter between April and May.

This is the best time to apply coffee grounds. If you wait for mid-August, new growths will be affected by frost and die. Add a few grams of coffee grounds a few centimeters away from your roses. Apply in a circular ring, but don’t dig it in since you could damage the roots and soil structure.

Are Coffee Grounds Good for Grass?

Waking up to a green lawn hits different levels of satisfaction. You need to keep the grass green and healthy if you want to wake up to a breathtaking scene. The best way to do this is by using nitrogen-rich matter like coffee grounds as the lawn fertilizer.

Are Coffee Grounds Good for Plants?

Coffee grounds have a high nitrogen content which helps the grass grow. They also act as worm food to help improve air circulation in the soil. This enhances drainage to keep your lawn from flooding whenever you leave your hose running. Just like roses, remember to keep tabs on how much coffee mulch you use as fertilizer.

Unlike artificial fertilizers, coffee grounds decay slowly, releasing the N-P-K Macronutrients. This means that your lawn will reap the benefits for a long time. The method of application is simple. Sprinkle the coffee grounds, but don’t let them cover the grass completely. Do it after a month or two to keep your lawn healthy.

Many people either overuse or underuse artificial fertilizers to get too much too soon. It feels good to make your lawn green quick but gets even better when it grows healthier for a longer time. Using coffee grounds as lawn fertilizer is the better option because it’s cheaper, more convenient, and safer for you and beneficial to microbes living in the soil.

Other Benefits of Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds have an endless list of benefits for plants and humans alike. They can be used at home or in your garden. Below are some other benefits of coffee grounds.

They’re good food for worms

The beneficial role played by earthworms should not be underrated. These little creatures travel through the soil, making airways. Soil aeration is a crucial component in plant health. When you put coffee grounds in your garden, these beneficial creatures will have enough food to make nutrients for your plants.

They ward off pests

Your garden is always at risk of pest invasion. Slugs and snails are fond of feeding on young buds and stems, and this inhibits plant growth. Coffee grounds can help ward off these nuances and save your garden from invasion. Coffee grounds contain substantial amounts of caffeine, which repels these pests.

Weed control

Unwanted weeds are a real challenge that has to be dealt with every planting season. Coffee grounds have allelopathic properties that suppress weeds and fungal growth.


Coffee beans contain some amount of natural oils which is left on the coffee grounds after brewing. These natural oils can be extracted from the coffee grounds and mixed with alcohol to produce an efficient and economical-friendly biofuel.

There are several other ways in which coffee grounds can be reused. Apart from garden applications, they can also be used in skin, scalp, and hair treatment.

Using the Right Amount of Coffee Grounds

Every year, about six million tonnes of coffee grounds are produced as waste material after the coffee is brewed. Farmers use it as mulch and compost material for their plants because it’s cheaper and readily available from the nearest coffee shops or processors. Coffee grounds are referred to as green material since they have lots of nitrogen.

However, you need to put the right amount if you want a healthy garden. Too much brown material will produce all kinds of odor from your compost. Too little means it won’t reap all the benefits. The green and brown materials are needed to balance the right ratio. Four units of brown material and one unit of green material is recommended.

When applying directly to your garden, make sure that the coffee grounds don’t go too deep into the soil. You can dig up a few inches of the soil or disperse the coffee grounds on the surface. You can also mix with water and soak for some time. After 12 hours, spray the mixture on your plants.

It’s important to note that coffee grounds should not be used freshly due to caffeine and chlorogenic acids, which are toxic to some plants. The best solution is to decompose it properly for about 98 days. This will prove more beneficial to make your garden healthier.


By now, you’ve learned how coffee grounds benefit plants. Just because they’re waste products doesn’t mean they’re useless. Coffee grounds are a rich source of nutrients for your garden. They have high nitrogen content to help your lawn, roses, and other plants grow healthy with big leaves. However, ensure that you don’t apply too much or else the effects will damage your plants.


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