I've heard that some plants like cold coffee along with their
water. A few years ago I saw a huge indoor plant ( elephant ears? )
in a coffee shop, growing all over the ceiling. It had 3/8" vines
that were 15 feet long. They had the vines suspended by paper clips
from the ceiling tiles.
I asked what the secret was and they said they didn't know, they
just fed it the cold leftover coffee.
So what plants would do well with coffee? Ones that like acidic
Is there a list anywhere?
When I was young, my mother sent me out to dump the coffee grounds on
the ground surrounding the roses. I use both loose tea and tea bags (no
coffee) and have been dumping a little of that on a huge potted rose.
So I was wondering the same thing.
I googled and found this, haven't had time to read it all yet, and don't
know if there are plants you should avoid with such treatment.
Coffee and gardening
Every day across America, Asia and Europe, millions of pots of
coffee and tea are brewed, and the millions of pounds of wet
grounds, filters and bags thrown in the trash. This is both
wasteful and foolish.
Coffee by-products can be used in the garden and farm as follows:
* Sprinkle used grounds around plants before rain or
watering, for a slow-release nitrogen.
* Add to compost piles to increase nitrogen balance. Coffee
filters and tea bags break down rapidly during composting.
* Dilute with water for a gentle, fast-acting liquid
fertilizer. Use about a half-pound can of wet grounds in a five-
gallon bucket of water; let sit outdoors to achieve ambient
* Mix into soil for houseplants or new vegetable beds.
* Encircle the base of the plant with a coffee and eggshell
barrier to repel pests.
* If you are into vermi-posting, feed a little bit to your
Let us know how you use coffee in the garden!
Include your e-mail if you want a response.
It is easy to collect coffee grounds from your office. Just put
an empty coffee can next to the coffee maker. Empty once a week
or as needed. Once people get wind of what you're doing, don't
be surprised if others want the grounds, too!
Mike Theuer got tired of throwing away all the coffee grounds
from his small cafe. So he started a fertilizer company of his
own. Grow Joe uses coffee grounds and other ingredients to make
a powerful natural fertilizer. Mike is also experimenting with
ways to re-use plastic nursery pots.
* I take coffee grounds every day from my local Starbucks. I
usually get between 50-100 lbs. of grounds per day. Most go in my
compost piles, but sometimes I just spread them in the garden. I
live in Ventura County, California where the soil is very
alkaline and very dense clay. When I moved to my house a year and
a half ago, there were very few worms in my soil. Now, after
adding several tons of coffee grounds and compost, my soil is
full of worms and the pH has improved dramatically with no
additional amendments. With the number of worms I have now, I
feel guilty I'm killing thousands each time I walk in the garden!
I also get woodchips from local tree trimmers for free. They
deliver by the truckload and I mix the woodchips with the coffee
grounds to make incredible compost. I highly recommend that
everyone who reads this establish a relationship with their local
Starbucks and take some of those grounds away. Starbucks alone
produces enough coffee waste to equal 4 747's per year in weight.
That material should all be going back into the earth where it
belongs, rather than into landfills. Coffee grounds work wonders
in the garden. I've gotten used coffee grounds from the Starbucks
in Los Altos, California and put them throughout my garden. The
biggest impact was on my lemon tree, the crop is amazing and the
fruit is uncommonly large and juicy.
* I have started a small, but vastly popular coffee recycling
initiative at my office and in my community. I collect used
coffee grounds from work and local businesses, such as the
neighborhood gas station/food mart.I have a 3-bin composting
system (5x5x12) and I regularly add used coffee grounds with
filter to my pile. It heats up the pile VERY quickly, and
produces rich compost in a matter of weeks. Of course, in order
for you to have workable compost so quickly, one needs to manage
the pile. I turn it every day and water it regularly to keep
moist.I amend my soil with the compost, and also sprinkle the
coffee grounds under my plants, flowers, shrubs and trees. The
worms LOVE it. My worm population has grown exponentially. Worms
are everywhere. It's wonderful since our soil is essentially
clay. The worms do a great job in turn our rocky, clay soil into
enriched loam. I have also enlisted my colleagues to give me
their green kitchen scraps! I am so lucky to have friends willing
to part with their garbage. In return, I share my compost with
any who ask. It is my dream that through my concerned efforts in
recycling and composting others will be inspired to do the same.
Maybe this planet will be saved with a little help from others!
* I add used coffee grounds to the soil around camelias and
azaleas (in fact all acid-loving plants). I don't bother to dig
it in. The plants are thriving.
* We had a scraggly yellow green poinsetta left over from the
holidays in our office. At the end of the day if I had and coffee
left over in my cup I would pour it on the plant instead of going
to the washroom and dumping it in the drain, sometimes it got
plain water. A year later this is the most lush dark green plant
in our office. I just told people recently what I had been doing
and they think I'm crazy, but you can't dispute the results. I
was searching the internet to support my theory and found your
web site. I had been using coffee on my house plants since the
* I had a science fair project to see if it was effected. and
the one growing the biggest is the one that is 1 cup coffee and i
* I toss my coffee grounds in with my vegetable peelings, add
water, grind them in my blender, then feed it to some plants that
are "slow". It's like a giant vitamin. They start shooting up
* I don't have a garden my self but my friend uses coffee
grounds for her sunflowers and hers are taller then her other
* I have been diluting my leftover brewed coffee and watering
my indoor and outdoor plants with it for months and they have
thrived and had unbelievable new growth. I haven't tried the
coffee grounds in the soil yet but the results with the brewed
coffee has been so amazing that I think I'll try it.
* I have been mixing coffee grounds and crushed egg shells
all winter to get ready for spring! The filters are full of
nutrients and hold water well, so I wrap veggie scraps in them
and give this little 'packaged delight' to my worms. A note on
the espresso theory- In my experience finely ground coffee is not
the best for worms as it cakes in the moisture rich environment
necessary for worms- worms can not pass through this and the
nitrogen content can become toxic. Caking can also be an issue if
using coffee grounds for mulch, water and oxygen can be prevented
from reaching the soil. Simply mixing this fine waste with
something more coarse or broadcasting grounds in a thin layer
over the garden works well.
* I had heard about coffee grounds being used in the garden
and i tried a small experiment at home, brewing espresso,
discarding grounds, then using them around the house in
houseplants -- i was AMAZED at the results!! The leaves of the
plants all became very shiny, glossy, all the plants responded
incredibly well! From now on, I'm saving grounds and will use
outside in my garden this summer. Did Starbucks respond to you
yet? It's such a good idea!
* I mix it with my potting soil...and the results were
fantastic. Every flower I grew turned out AMAZING.
* I maintain 360+ roses at the Historic Olivas Adobe in
Ventura, California. The results have been stunning. I pick up
used grounds from two Starbucks. I am a Parks Maintenance Lead
I have old "Berkley Bob" from the local coffee shop save
organic coffee grounds for me. I tend to use the espresso
"pucks", and the grounds shaken off of filters, and broadcast
them on the soil, then use the filters strategically in "dry
layers" (i.e. straw) in my compost heap. They disappear with
* I am Barista at Starbucks and am interested in starting a
coffee composting program. It is a Starbucks policy to offer
spent espresso grinds to anyone who asks for them. I personally
think that espresso would be the best choice as they are ground
finer than the coffee grinds.
* I add the coffee grounds and the filter and tea bags to the
compost and in a very short time they disappear to make
beautiful, black, rich compost. Worms in the worm farm love the
* I use coffee grounds as a mulch for container plants. I
notice it repels water and seems to have a beneficial effect on
fungus gnats and other nasties that need moist soil. It has also
done wonders for a potted hydrangea that suffers from too much
dampness at the soil level.
* A natural repellant for root maggots. Spread liberally
before planting and dig in slightly.
* I use coffee grounds around my hybrid tea roses, and I also
put coffee grounds under my hydrangeas, to make the blooms really
Starbucks, please contact us about your coffee grounds!
Together, we can decrease your waste, increase your profit, build
your brand and polish your environmental credentials! Here is
some feedback from current and former Starbucks workers:
"Hi, I work for Starbucks and am the environmental specialist
for my district. I have had an overwhelming response from people
wanting used coffee grounds for composting and fertilizer. You
should be able to go to any Starbucks to get them! It's a
wonderful way to reduce waste and very effective! So don't be
shy...ask for grounds and if a store has not implemented this
program, ask who their Green Team representative is and get in
touch with them! Every little bit helps! Thank you!" --Annia
"I worked at Starbucks 2 months ago, at that time they did
not offer coffee grinds. They were just tossed in the garbage!
This made the garbage bags very heavy and there was always a
mess. Now Starbucks is catching on. Recently at a Starbucks I saw
a bin that offered free coffee grinds."
Cut 'em up and throw them out by a tree or behind some plants. I don't
know about more tender/special plants. Sure doesn't seem to hurt the
grass or trees. The reason I say to cut them up is they decompose
faster. Throwing large chunks of garbage one's yard might not please
the neighbors. Come to think of it, I did lose the cherry tree I dumped
the watermelon rinds at the base of, but it was getting to its end
point, I think, anyway. The second one hasn't leafed out this year,
it's gone, and I don't remember throwing anything around that one.
I've been trying to grow some catnip but the cats won't let it
get off the ground. I put wirecloth fence screen around it and
they still try to get into there. So I just tossed some navel
skins around there this morning. I understand cats hate orange
Great suggestion! I also grow catnip for my 3 cats but don't ya know they
want to use the new Coneflower bed as a bathroom! Now I know how to keep
them out. Much thanks!
p.s. also save all my coffee grounds for the compost pile. Even have my
neighbors saving theirs for me. In return I trade some cut flowers/Roses for
We have a Starbucks in town and I was planning on checking them out on the
grounds...didn't know they supplied the bags too. I was wondering what to
put them in to transport back to the compost pile. Thanks so much for
telling me about that!
This is interesting. Right now I'm using Blood Meal mixed into the
potting soil I make for containers to raise the nitrogen. I use about
1/2 cups per 10 gallons of soil. If coffee grounds can raise the
nitrogen level does anyone know how much coffee grounds I should mix
into each 10 gallons of container soil?
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