I simply love the idea of taking household items and reusing them in helpful ways. And to be honest, I have been feeling bad about throwing out the compostable organic coffee pods that I use each day. Recently I learned that some indoor plants do well with coffee grounds as fertilizer – I needed to know more! Just maybe I could put these old coffee grounds to good use after all. Keep reading to see what I learned and how I’ve been making my own coffee ground fertilizer using my coffee pods.
Why Some Indoor Plants Like Coffee Grounds
Coffee grounds are an organic matter that helps fix nitrogen levels in the soil. Nitrogen in turn helps to promote better root growth resulting in a healthier indoor plant that has larger, brighter blooms and lush foliage. While originally thought of as acidic, when coffee grounds are prepared as a fertilizer they are actually close to pH neutral (between 6.5 to 6.8 pH) which improves the soil structure. I recently planted some beautiful blooming African Violets only to lose the blooms a few days later. I read that nitrogen is important for the growth and development of leaves and stems in African violets making them the perfect candidate for a coffee grounds fertilizer. We shall see…I am hopeful I will begin to see bright beautiful blooms again soon!
Types of Indoor Plants Like Coffee Grounds
Coffee grounds are great for nitrogen-loving plants and provide a natural way to fertilize your indoor plants. Here is a list of plants that like coffee ground compost or fertilizer.
African violets are nitrogen-loving pretty little house plants with large rounded often fuzzy leaves with sweet pansy-shaped flowers in blues, purples, pinks, reds and whites.
Peace lilies also known as closet plants are perfect for offices and homes as they are fairly easy to care for. They enjoy medium to low light and do not like over-watering. They can grow quite large going from a table plant to a floor plant!
Pothos and Golden Pothos
Pothos is one of the easiest house plants to grow making it an excellent choice for a new plant Mom or Dad. They do well in bright light, indirect light, as well as low light and, are quite easy to propagate. A very tolerant choice for sure!
Philodendron thrives indoors all year round and is very easy to care for. They like to be near a window with indirect sunlight. Avoid over watering and be sure to fertilize with Coffee Grounds!
Beautiful greenhouse azalea plants are fun to grow indoors. The trick is to never let them dry out – keep them damp but not soggy. Place them in a sunny spot and enjoy their colorful blooms!
Ahhhh the Christmas Cactus! A popular winter blooming house plant with pretty red or pink tubular flowers. The plant will adapt to low light but to encourage more blooms brighter light is recommended.
Cyclamen are beautiful colorful indoor flowering plants that are popular during the winter season. They have a cluster of heart-shaped leaves with tall stems with velvety flowers on the top. Cyclamen go dormant in the summer but with proper care will bloom again in the fall.
Sweet miniature roses potted for indoor enjoyment come in the same colors as their larger relative. These small plants are hardy and fairly easy to care for. They can be planted outside as well.
A popular succulent houseplant with fleshy oval-shaped leaves with woody stems. These slow-growing plants are toxic so be careful with kids and pets. These plants are fairly easy to grow just don’t overwater them!
Stylish and sleek the snake plant is a popular and hardy choice for plant lovers. They will thrive in bright light or very little light but increasing the light will give their growth a boost.
Spider plants are another popular choice and easy-to-care for plant. The spider plant does best in bright to moderate light. They are fast-growing and often put out small star-like “babies.” They are great as table plants or hanging plants.
What Type of Coffee Grounds to Use
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I am an avid coffee drinker and have my at-home coffee routine down to a science. I’m not one for waiting for a full pot to brew and I don’t love coffee that has been sitting on a hot burner. The perfect antidote for this is my Keurig coffee maker which makes 1 fresh cup at a time. It’s fast, it’s fresh and it’s hot…perfect!
Several years ago after searching for an organic coffee option I stumbled upon organic coffee pods from Organic Coffee Co available through Amazon. I’ve been drinking this black coffee for several years and ordering is easy through Amazon Prime. Organic coffee is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants it is also free of chemicals, pesticides, or fertilizers. This coffee comes in pods that are made of plant-based resources and are compostable. Now you can see why I actually felt bad about throwing them away without putting them to good use!
It turns out that the best coffee grounds to use for your indoor plants are regular coffee without added flavors. You can use either regular or decaf coffee grounds for your indoor houseplants and when prepared correctly, both will provide sufficient nutrients. Read on to see 3 ways you can give your plants an extra boost with some good old java!
3 Ways to Prepare Coffee for Your Indoor Plants
It’s best to start this section with how not to add coffee to your plants. It is not recommended you simply pour coffee (hot to cold) directly on your plants. Too much is a bad thing and since coffee helps to retain moisture, too much could result in damaging the roots through oversaturation. Dumping fresh or used coffee grounds on the soil can cause the same issue. Additionally, too much caffeine may stunt plant growth and increase the risk of fungal diseases. The key is breaking it down so it is not as harsh – less is more. There a 3 ways to do this.
- Make compost: The best soil is biologically active. Coffee is organic matter which in turn makes the soil more biologically active. Add coffee grounds (considered green compost matter) to your compost pile or compost tumbler along with brown compost material (such as leaves or shredded paper) for balanced compost. Compost can be added to your potting soil for your indoor plants.
- Add to the potting mix: When repotting a plant consider adding a small amount of used coffee grounds in with the potting soil. Once broken down, coffee grounds will encourage the growth of microorganisms in the soil that uses nitrogen to grow and reproduce. 1 part used ground coffee to 3 parts of potting mix should do the trick.
- Make Coffee ground “tea” (a diluted liquid fertilizer): Using used (already brewed) coffee instead of fresh coffee grounds, mixed with water (2 cups of coffee: 5 gallons of water) will make coffee ground tea/fertilizer. After mixing the grounds and water let the tea sit for 72 hours (stirring occasionally.) After 72 hours using a fine mesh strainer, strain the mixture removing the coffee grounds and leaving the liquid fertilizer to add to your watering can and water on the surface of the soil. You may also do a foliar feed (technique of feeding the plant through the leaves with liquid fertilizer) by spraying the ground coffee tea directly on the leaves using a mister. (not recommended for African violets since they don’t like when their leaves get wet.)
Frequently Asked Questions
Use ground coffee that is not flavored (no cream, milk or sugar) Used grounds are best as they will be a bit weaker. You can purchase ground coffee or ground your own coffee beans. If using a Keurig try the process I share below.
Coffee is considered a green compost material (despite its brown color) you can mix it with other green materials, egg shells, banana peels and brown compost materials such as newspapers and dried leaves for a balanced compost. Visit my Indoor Plant Fertilizers You Can Make at Home (Feed Your Plants the Natural Way) post to learn more ways to use natural household wastes for fertilizer.
The used coffee grounds “tea” can be used every 7-10 days.
For more indoor plant ideas be sure to visit:
- Glass Open Terrarium With DIY Stand (Including Care And A List Of Tiny Plants For Terrariums)
- How To Make A Pretty Indoor DIY Self-Watering Planter
- DIY Ivy And Rosemary Topiary Using A Grapevine Wreath
How to Fertilize your Indoor Plants with Coffee from your Keurig Coffee Maker
- 1 Keurig Coffee Maker
- 1 Fine mesh strainer
- 1 Jar or pitcher that holds 6 Cups of water
- 1 Watering can
- 1 container ( 2 Teblespoons) Coffee Pod or K-Cup
- 6 cups Cool tap water
- Using a Keurig or other single serve coffee maker and a coffee pod or K-Cup – brew a cup of coffee. (enjoy the coffee as you normally would)
- Remove Pod or K-cup from the Keurig and allow to cool.
- After the pod or K-cup is cool open the container and empty the coffee grounds into a pitcher of 6 cups cool water. 2 Tablespoons of Coffee grounds : 6 cups water is the coffee grounds water ratio.If you have a container that has a cover use that to make shaking the mixture easy. If you do not have a cover, simply stir the mixture once a day.
- Let the coffee grounds and water mixture sit for 72 hours.
- Swith a strainer strain the grounds leaving just the diluted coffee mixture. Discard the coffee grounds.
- Add the diluted coffee to a watering can and water plants on the top of the soil.
- For best results repeat every 7 to 10 days (or as needed. )
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Using leftover coffee is a great way to deliver important nutrients to your indoor garden or house plants. I can’t wait to see if this addition to my African Violet care produces more blooms! Stay tuned!
Thank you for visiting the blog today for which indoor plants like coffee grounds (and how I use my Keurig to make fertilizer). I figured many of my readers have single-serve coffee makers and a reduced amount of house plants so I wanted to break down the recipe accordingly!
Thank you for the great information on using ground coffee as a fertilizer for indoor plants.
I will definitely try this trick. I have 2 African violet plants that do not flower – I will update you once I get a chance to do this for my plants. I’m moving in August so it will be in September once I get settled into my new apt.
Good luck! I’ve been working on getting my African violets to bloom again too!