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Keep Your Garden Natural: How Coffee Grounds Help

June 24, 2021

The various uses for coffee grounds in the garden turn out to be useful - so, please don't throw your coffee grounds away. Coffee grounds are a regular occurrence in almost every household but mostly end up in the garbage or, at best, in the organic bin. It's a shame because the coffee remains still contain many valuable ingredients which are reusable in various ways.

Keep Your Garden Natural How Coffee Grounds Help OnPage

Hobby gardeners can do without artificial fertilizers and insecticides with the help of the dried coffee crumbs, and coffee grounds also have a lot to offer in the garden! The following tips show how you can use the versatile garden helper effectively.



  1. Properties of coffee grounds
  2. Coffee grounds as an organic fertilizer
  3. Benefits of using coffee grounds as a fertilizer
  4. For which plants are coffee grounds suitable as a fertilizer?
  5. Coffee grounds as an organic fertilizer supplement
  6. Our tips on how to use coffee efficiently


Properties of coffee grounds

Coffee grounds have many different ingredients that we can use. In addition to nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, it also contains tannic acids, antioxidants, and caffeine traces. An average of 2% nitrogen, 0.4% phosphorus, and 0.8% potassium remain in the coffee filter.

Coffee grounds as an organic fertilizer

Coffee grounds are rich in nutrients that can also be found in commercially available fertilizer products. It contains potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus, as well as tannic acid and various antioxidants.

This is why coffee grounds are ideal as a natural fertilizer for potted and garden plants. Varieties that prefer a slightly acidic soil enormously benefit from the ingredients of the biological waste product. These include, for example, cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, and berry bushes, but roses, geraniums, and hydrangeas are also happy to be fertilized with coffee grounds. 

To fertilize your plants, sprinkle the coffee grounds around the roots and work them lightly into the soil. Alternatively, you can add a few spoons to the watering water. As with other fertilizers, the same applies to coffee grounds: too little is better than too much. For houseplants, it is sufficient if you enrich them with coffee grounds once a year.

Vegetables and other plants in the field can tolerate the fertilizer about four times a year. To make them even more sufficient for your indoor ecosystem, we have concluded helpful and straightforward tips to improve the air quality with the right houseplants.

Whether organic or mineral, mulch, or compost - you can find out which fertilizer is best for your plants. You don't have to throw away coffee that has become cold either. Instead, add it to the irrigation water, and you will get a rich liquid fertilizer. 

Our tip: In addition to coffee grounds and stock, many other kitchen and garden waste are also suitable as natural fertilizers.


Benefits of using coffee grounds as a fertilizer

Of course, one of the most significant advantages of coffee grounds as a fertilizer is that it occurs almost by itself in every household and does not have to be bought separately. It saves you the trip to the hardware store, and in this way, you can reuse a waste product. Coffee grounds are also attractive to earthworms, which is a tremendous advantage because earthworms loosen the soil and create a crumbly structure. They also help break down organic matter in the ground.

However, coffee grounds have a repellent effect on pests, such as snails or ants. These little pests don't like the smell of coffee or the caffeine and avoid the areas that are fertilized with it.

So the advantages of coffee grounds as fertilizer are as follows:

  • Occurs in the household
  • Is (in principle, if you drink coffee anyway) free
  • Slightly acidic pH
  • Attracts earthworms
  • Repulsive to snails and ants


For which plants are coffee grounds suitable as a fertilizer?

When using coffee grounds as fertilizer, it is essential to ensure that it does not become moldy. So dry the coffee grounds thoroughly. There is a risk of mold, particularly with fully automatic coffee machines in which the coffee grounds are collected in a container for a long time. But no matter what kind of coffee machine you have, always dry the coffee grounds before using them as fertilizer to reduce the risk of mold. To do this, spread the damp coffee grounds flat - for example, on a baking sheet - and let them dry there.

Potted plants

Before using it as a fertilizer, the coffee grounds should be dried thoroughly. To use it, you should sprinkle the dried coffee grounds over the earth and work it into the soil. This allows it to be broken down better and release the nutrients where they are needed. However, it would help if you did not overdo it with fertilizing the coffee grounds.

Garden plants

You can fertilize with coffee grounds up to four times a year outdoors. Over-fertilization with coffee grounds is practically impossible. It is best to work the substance a little into the earth. You can also mix the dried coffee grounds with potting soil and place your plants in this soil. All you have to do is mix the contents of a coffee filter (about 30 g of coffee grounds) with the potting soil in a 10-liter sack. In this way, you can't acidify the earth too much. 

You can also add the coffee grounds to the compost and let it rot there. There it has a positive effect on composting and also provides nutrients. This method is beneficial because coffee grounds attract earthworms, which help with composting. This way, you get optimal organic fertilizer.

When it comes to dosing, it is advantageous to try it yourself and start with small amounts initially. The needs of the plants and their sensitivity are often very different.

While not everyone has a garden available, there is a possibility to create your own with a vertical gardening system on your balcony with ease. In most cases, you are already well prepared if you have access to a balcony. Contrary to what you might think, it does not take much work to end up with a beautiful green spot at home.

Indoor plants

With house plants, it is sufficient to fertilize them once in winter and once in spring. One to two full teaspoons per plant are adequate for this, which corresponds to about 4 to 8 g of coffee grounds per plant. Be careful, however, because this dose will lower the pH value in the pot, and some of our indoor plants could resent this. Don't forget to re-pot your indoor plants regularly afterward and provide them with fresh substrate.


You can also fertilize indoor plants with coffee grounds. You can still mix the coffee grounds or leftover coffee with water and water your houseplants with it. To do this, for example, mix old coffee and the watering water in a ratio of 1: 1 and use it to water your plants. Be careful not to wet the leaves, but entirely all around the plant base. You can do the watering and fertilize in one step.

Several Flowers

When we speak of flowers, we usually mean annual summer flowers. These bloom profusely and typically have a high need for nutrients. Because coffee grounds contain only small amounts of nutrients, fertilizing the flowers with it is not harmful, but it is by no means sufficient. A large part of organic material and the tannic acids it contains also inhibit its nutrients' rapid release. Our hungry summer flowers could even slide into malnutrition if the coffee grounds were given too generously.

Nevertheless, the beauties can benefit from the coffee grounds: Together with a healthy flower fertilizer soil organisms convert the hard-to-digest coffee grounds. This can produce valuable humus. This improves the soil properties, which is very useful for the often spoiled summer flowers. To do this, mix coffee grounds and flower fertilizer in a ratio of 3 to 1. An excellent alternative to this process is to compost the coffee grounds along with the more nutrient-rich waste. You can then use the compost to fertilize your summer flowers.

If you are interested in more alternatives of efficient ways to reduce waste at home, not only by using coffee grounds, have a look into our guide here.



The beautiful orchids also benefit from coffee grounds as fertilizer - but only if they are planted in the orchid substrate. Unfortunately, if your orchids are grown in hydroponics, fertilizing with coffee grounds is not possible. The coffee grounds are straightforward to use with orchids: you distribute the coffee grounds on the surface and then water the orchids. Another possibility is to mix some coffee grounds with the earth. However, be careful not to use too much coffee grounds as orchids are extremely delicate house plants. Here you should try it out first and see what happens. Just add a small number of coffee grounds to the orchids and keep an eye on the plant. If the plant finally changes negatively, then you better stay away from this fertilizer for your orchids. You can find out more about the correct care of orchids here.


Pink roses delight our eyes with their beautiful flowers. But the queen of flowers needs a lot of nutrients. After all, she is one of the heavy eaters. To give your roses a burst of energy, you can distribute about half a cup of coffee grounds around your roses once a month and work them lightly into the soil. You can do this until the end of June, but then roses should no longer be fertilized. You can safely use coffee grounds as an alternative or supplement to your regular rose fertilization and then enjoy the significant effect. 

However, the coffee grounds usually contain too few nutrients to only fertilize your roses with them.


Hydrangeas should ideally be bushy and abundant in bloom. But this only works if they are adequately supplied with nutrients. After all, they place high demands on the floor. Therefore, coffee grounds are ideally suited as additional fertilization for hydrangeas because they prefer acidic soil - coffee grounds are slightly acidic.


Hydrangeas in the garden

The slightly acidic coffee grounds are ideal for fertilizing hydrangeas.

It also contains many minerals and optimally supports the hydrangeas in their growth. Coffee grounds alone are not enough to fertilize hydrangeas because the nutrient levels are ultimately too low for that. However, it is an ideal complement to your conventional hydrangea fertilization. Don't just spread the coffee around the hydrangeas on the ground, but work them into the soil so that they can unfold their full effect. A thick layer of coffee grounds can quickly form a water-impermeable layer on the surface, which, of course, is not desirable. 


You are also able to fertilize tomatoes with coffee grounds. However, they are very consuming vegetables and therefore need a lot of nutrients. Coffee grounds are certainly an effective fertilizer for tomatoes, but unfortunately, not enough. You should, therefore, only use the coffee grounds in addition to an optimal tomato fertilizer. An organic tomato fertilizer, for example, is perfect for this. This supplies your tomato plants with the necessary nutrients and consists of purely vegetable components. For tomatoes in pots, however, a liquid organic tomato and vegetable fertilizer is more suitable, as incorporating a granular fertilizer would put the plants under stress.

Use coffee grounds in pouring water

Coffee grounds neutralize calcareous irrigation water. With fundamental soil and calcareous water, a teaspoon or two of coffee grounds in the irrigation water can work wonders. It neutralizes the pH value and fertilizes the soil at the same time. On the other hand, coffee grounds are not well suited for watering houseplants, as mold can form over time. Mixed with water in a ratio of 1:1, cold coffee can be used once a week to water indoor and balcony plants.

Coffee grounds as an organic fertilizer supplement

Coffee grounds contain essential nutrients and are an ideal fertilizer supplement to provide your plants with nutrients. However, the content of nutrients in coffee grounds is too low to fertilize with coffee grounds alone. Another possibility is coffee grounds as a supplement to another fertilizer - such as an organic fertilizer. This gives you an optimal, well-rounded supply of nutrients in your garden.



More and more hobby gardeners are relying on vegan products in their garden - including fertilizers. Here you can find out everything about the benefits of natural vegan fertilizers.


Driving away snails

Nothing destroys the happiness of gardeners faster than voracious snails. By scattering the coffee grounds, you keep some of the animals at a distance because the caffeine it contains has a deterrent effect on them and ensures that they avoid the prepared bedding areas independently. However, some snails are unimpressed, so coffee grounds alone may not be enough to protect the plants. If pests regularly infest your garden, you can also keep them in check by colonizing beneficial insects.

Relocating ants

Ants are beneficial insects. Nevertheless, there are places in the garden where the hard-working animals can disturb. If you want them to move, sprinkle some coffee grounds several times in the nests and paths. 


Fighting lice

Lice are incredibly annoying on vegetables and in salads. You can get rid of them with a brew made from coffee grounds. To do this, pour hot water over the coffee grounds again, collect the mixture, allow it to cool, and then spray the infected parts of the plant with it. 

Our Tip: You can find more home remedies for aphids here. 


Scare away wasps

Wasps do not like the smell of smoldering coffee grounds; like most other insects, they instinctively flee because the smoke smell is a wildfire warning sign for them. To turn coffee grounds into a natural anti-wasp remedy, put some dried coffee grounds in an ovenproof bowl. Light it up, and the black and yellow buzzers avoid your afternoon party. 

Keep away from cats

Cats are also put off by the smell of coffee. To keep your neighbors' cats away, regularly sprinkle some coffee grounds on your beds or around your children's sandbox.


Our tips on how to use coffee efficiently

Accelerate composting with coffee grounds

Earthworms are magically attracted to coffee grounds. If you regularly add some of it to the compost, more worms will soon romp around and process your biological waste effectively and quickly into valuable humus. 

Our Tip: You can make an effective compost accelerator yourself from yeast, sugar, and water in just a few simple steps. 

Making mulch from wood shavings and coffee grounds

You can make long-lasting mulch from wood shavings and coffee grounds and make weeding and watering easier for you. The finely ground coffee crumbs gradually release their nutrients and regulate the moisture in the chips. In this way, they ensure a longer shelf life of practical soil protection. Neutralize alkaline soils and irrigation water with coffee grounds Due to its slightly acidic pH, especially alkaline soils benefit from the regular application of coffee grounds. If the tap or well water you use for watering contains a comparatively large amount of lime, you can neutralize it by adding some coffee grounds. 

Refreshing potting soil with coffee grounds

If you don't want to buy new potting soil after each season, you can recycle it. It continues to supply the plants with nutrients. It is advisable to enrich old soil with fresh compost or Bokashi ferment. Dried coffee grounds provide the right fertilizer for freshening up depleted soil and mixed in small quantities. 

Collecting and storing coffee grounds

Before using the coffee grounds in pots and tubs, it is essential to let them dry out completely. Because moist coffee grounds tend to mold in dry interiors and can do more harm than good to your plants, it is best to spread it out on a flat plate immediately after preparing the coffee and let it stand for a few days. If the coffee grounds are adequately dried out, you don't have to use them immediately. You can store them for several weeks without any problems. 

Coffee grounds are a popular home remedy for fertilizing orchids, roses, and the like. We show why coffee is suitable for your plants and how to use it.

Many of us don't get going without our morning coffee. But have you ever thought that you could also use the coffee grounds to give your plants a boost of energy? We will show you what else is in your coffee grounds and how it can support us in the garden.

Every adult drinks an average of 165 liters of coffee a year - there are plenty of coffee grounds. The coffee grounds are the substance that remains in the filter after coffee has been prepared. There are many different uses for coffee grounds, but most of them throw it in the trash and miss out on a lot. Coffee grounds can be used to combat pests such as fungus gnats or as a compost additive. 

Lemon trees with healthy and juicy lemons

Since the coffee grounds are slightly acidic (its pH value is around 6.5), it is particularly suitable for plants that prefer acidic soils. These include, for example, citrus plants. You can find out more about fertilizing citrus plants such as lemon trees here.


There are even more ways to reuse coffee grounds in your daily life. Check out this helpful video and see what other methods could be used:



Now we wonder if there is anything we forgot about, including coffee grounds in your garden. If you have any other tips or want to share your story about using coffee grounds in your own garden, feel free to let us know in the comments. As an environmental movement, we constantly search for ways to provide valuable information for people who are already veterans and also people who just started promoting going green.


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