What Plants Like Coffee Grounds & How to Use in Garden

What plants like coffee grounds? The simple answer is acid-loving plants that thrive in acidic soil benefit from fresh coffee grounds. Adding this organic matter to your compost pile or a thin layer to the top of the soil is a great way to encourage plant growth.

Coffee grounds can serve as an excellent fertilizer for various types of garden plants, enriching the soil with essential nutrients for healthy growth and development.

what plants that like coffee grounds

What Plants Like Coffee Grounds

While many different types of plants can benefit from the addition of coffee grounds, the acidity of coffee grounds can also have a negative impact on some garden plants. 

So it is best to know what plants like coffee grounds, before adding them to your garden soil. This guide will show you the best way to use spent coffee grounds on both your indoor plants and outdoor plants, as well as what plants like coffee grounds most. 

Vegetable Plants

Carrots, Eggplants, Potatoes, Parsley, Peppers, Radishes: These vegetable plants thrive with the addition of coffee grounds to the soil. The nitrogen and potassium content in coffee grounds support their growth and enhance their ability to photosynthesize, resulting in healthier and more abundant yields.

vegetable plants that like coffee grounds

Indoor Houseplants

African violets, Christmas cactus, and Snake plants: Indoor houseplants can also benefit from the nutrients found in coffee grounds. Brewed black coffee serves as a good nitrogen source for promoting the growth of green leaves and stems. Plants that prefer full to partial shade can thrive with occasional applications of liquid coffee.

Flowering Plants

Azaleas, Camellias, Gardenias, Hydrangeas, Miniature roses, Lily of the Valley, and Rhododendrons: Plants that thrive in slightly acidic soil conditions can greatly benefit from the application of coffee grounds. The nitrogen-rich nature of coffee, along with its slightly acidic pH, supports the growth of acidic soil-loving plants.

Fruit-Producing Plants

Blueberries, Strawberries, Avocado trees, Citrus trees, Mango trees, and Pineapples: Fruit plants, in particular, appreciate the slight acidity that coffee grounds provide to the soil. They also absorb the nitrogen and potassium present in coffee grounds, which are essential for fruit production.

fruit plants that like coffee grounds

Benefits of Using Coffee Grounds in the Garden

There are numerous benefits of using old coffee grounds to improve the soil quality for your flower garden, vegetable garden, and some houseplants. 

Aside from the obvious caffeine content, fresh grounds pack a punch of essential nutrients. Fresh coffee grounds boast approximately 2% nitrogen, 0.6% potassium, and 0.06% phosphorus by volume as well as micronutrients copper, calcium, iron, boron, manganese, magnesium, and zinc. 

Since coffee grounds have a slightly acidic to neutral pH which means that plants preferring alkaline soil or low nitrogen conditions may not benefit from the use of coffee grounds. This soil amendment may inadvertently disrupt soil acidity levels, potentially harming your garden’s delicate balance. 

The bottom line is that excessive caffeine, salt, and mold content in coffee grounds can hinder seedling growth and the development of young plants.

So, before you sprinkle a lot of coffee grounds around your beloved flowering shrubs or vegetable patches, take a moment to consider their impact on your soil’s acidity and your plants’ well-being.

coffee grounds in the garden

Coffee Grounds in Compost

Coffee grounds provide a multitude of benefits to plants, serving as an organic material rich in nitrogen that’s ideal for compost bins and worm bins. When combined with grass clippings and other green materials, used coffee grounds become a valuable addition to compost, benefiting avid gardeners and promoting healthy soil. 

Be sure to not add too much green material. When mixed with brown compost material like dry leaves and wood chips, coffee grounds create a balanced compost mix that benefits root crops and promotes healthy plant growth.  Additionally, incorporating coffee grounds into potting soil can help balance pH levels and improve water retention, reducing the need for gallons of water while providing essential nutrients for plant growth.

For a regular coffee drinker and tomato plant enthusiasts alike, using coffee grounds is a good idea to enrich the soil surface and promote seed germination. Whether from decaffeinated coffee or regular coffee beans, used coffee grounds are a great addition to compost, providing nitrogen fertilizer and boosting populations of friendly soil bacteria. 

Natural Pest Repellent

Coffee grounds, when used in moderation, offer a natural and effective means of repelling pests in the garden. The caffeine content in coffee grounds acts as a deterrent to certain pests, including slugs, snails, ants, and even cats.

When sprinkled around plants or incorporated into the soil, coffee grounds create a barrier that pests are reluctant to cross, reducing their presence in the garden. This may be the best way to get the neighborhood cats to stop using your garden as a litter box.

Furthermore, coffee grounds inhibit weed growth by suppressing the germination of weed seeds and hindering the growth of existing weeds. This dual action as both a pest repellent and weed inhibitor puts coffee grounds to good use as a versatile and valuable resource for gardeners seeking natural solutions to common gardening challenges.

Whether obtained from local coffee shops or as leftover grounds from a daily cup of coffee, incorporating coffee grounds into gardening practices is an environmentally friendly and sustainable approach to pest management. By utilizing this abundant resource, gardeners can reduce their reliance on synthetic pesticides and herbicides, promoting a healthier ecosystem and more sustainable gardening practices overall.


How to Use Coffee Grounds for Plants

Coffee grounds are a versatile addition to any gardening routine, offering a range of benefits for soil health and plant vitality. So, if you are a coffee lover, it’s time to start reusing those coffee grounds in your garden. Here are several effective methods for incorporating coffee grounds into your gardening practices:

Top Dressing

Sprinkle coffee grounds around the base of plants as a top dressing. This not only adds organic material to the soil but also helps regulate soil pH, making it more suitable for a variety of plants.


Mix coffee grounds into your compost bin or worm bin to accelerate the decomposition process and enrich the compost with valuable nutrients. When mixed with other organic materials like green compost material and dry leaves, coffee compost creates a balanced compost mixture that promotes healthy soil structure and microbial activity.

Soil Amendment

Mix a teaspoon of coffee grounds directly into the soil to improve soil structure and provide a slow-release source of nitrogen fertilizer. This can be particularly beneficial for plants like tomato plants that require nutrient-rich soil for optimal growth.

Liquid Fertilizer

Brew coffee grounds into a tea by steeping them in a gallon of water. Use this nutrient-rich solution to water plants, providing them with a boost of organic nutrients and promoting soil health.

Pest Control

Scatter coffee grounds around garden beds to deter garden pests like slugs and snails. The caffeine in coffee grounds acts as a natural repellent, making it a safe and effective alternative to harmful chemical pesticides.

pH Adjustment

Adjust soil pH by incorporating coffee grounds into the soil. While coffee grounds are slightly acidic, they can help neutralize alkaline soil conditions, creating a more favorable environment for plant growth.


Use coffee grounds as mulch to suppress weed growth and retain soil moisture. This not only conserves water but also reduces the need for synthetic herbicides, promoting a healthier and more sustainable garden environment.

By incorporating a few cups of coffee grounds into your gardening routine, you can improve soil health, promote plant growth, and reduce the need for synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Whether you’re an avid gardener or simply enjoy a daily cup of coffee, coffee grounds are a valuable resource that can benefit both your garden and the environment.

dangers of acid in garden

The Dangers of Using Coffee Grounds in the Garden

While using coffee grounds in gardening can be a good thing when done correctly, it’s essential to be aware of potential risks associated with their usage. Here are some important factors to consider.

Coffee grounds are slightly acidic, which can be beneficial for certain plants. However, using too many coffee grounds or applying them in large quantities can lead to soil acidity imbalance. This may adversely affect the pH of the soil, making it less suitable for plants that prefer neutral or alkaline conditions.

Harmful Chemicals in Coffee Grounds

While coffee grounds contain beneficial nutrients, they may also harbor harmful chemicals if sourced from non-organic or contaminated sources. For instance, ground coffee from beans treated with pesticides or herbicides can introduce these chemicals into the soil, posing risks to plant health and environmental safety.

While they can act as a slow-release fertilizer when used in moderation, excessive application can lead to nutrient imbalances in the soil. This is especially true when coffee grounds are used as the sole source of fertilizer, without supplementing with other organic materials or nutrients.

Despite being pH neutral after brewing, coffee grounds can become acidic over time as they decompose in the soil. This gradual breakdown releases organic acids, potentially lowering the pH of the soil and affecting plant growth.

Monitor the pH of the Soil

Monitoring the pH of the soil and adjusting coffee ground application accordingly is crucial to prevent adverse effects from too much acidity. Coffee grounds sourced from various sources, such as leftover coffee or unbleached paper coffee filters, may contain residues of unwanted substances.

Use Small Amounts of Coffee Grounds

While coffee grounds can boost populations of friendly soil bacteria when used appropriately, adding a huge amount of coffee grounds may overwhelm the soil ecosystem. This can disrupt the delicate balance of soil microorganisms, leading to potential negative consequences for soil health and plant growth.

For best results, start with a small amount and gradually increase the application based on the specific needs of your plants and soil conditions.

More Garden Guides

Learn the best soil recipe for raised garden beds and use the soil calculator to find out how much soil you will need.

Find out how to make soil more alkaline naturally with these 11 easy DIY solutions.

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The Hobby Wife

The Hobby Wife

Greenhouse and backyard gardener, devoted homemaker, and passionate recipe creator. My journey through life revolves around my unwavering love for food and travel. As a passionate cook, I blend my garden's bounty with culinary finesse and inspiration from my travels. From farm-to-table homestyle dishes to copycat recipes that offer something unique, my kitchen is a canvas where flavors harmonize and ingredients tell stories.

19 thoughts on “What Plants Like Coffee Grounds & How to Use in Garden”

  1. I’m so glad to have seen this post. I have often wondered about which plants could use coffee grounds. I’ve always heard you can use them.

  2. I am a gardener and didn’t really fully understand the benefits of coffee grounds and planting! I definitely will be using it!

  3. I am glad to find your post about coffee grounds. I’ve been seeing coffee grounds for free at Starbucks and have wanted to use them in the garden, but I haven’t had a chance to figure out a plan!

  4. I use coffee grounds for my daily hot coffee. So, this article has me thinking about accumulating all my coffee grounds for composting, as a natural pest deterrent, or for weed suppression.

  5. This is handy to be aware of. I plan to grow loads of plants, fruit, veg when we move next. We have a bean to cup coffee machine so will be able to make use of our coffee grounds meaning we product less waste which I love the idea of.

  6. My friend is a great gardener, and she swears by using coffee grounds her plants grow great. I’ve never even thought to us this method in my plants.

  7. This is crucial information for my husband who likes gardening and loves coffee. The information you provided is very complete, thank you.

  8. Oh wow, I’m just now learning about this and will definitely be using coffee grounds from now on! So glad to have found this.

  9. i have heard about the benefits of coffee grounds for so much and need to start saving it going forward but based on your comment on acidity, maybe should check the ph of the soil first

  10. I never thought using coffee grounds in your garden, less waste is always the best thing. I will have to share your post with my dad, He loves to find ways to cut the cost of pesticides.

  11. The local Starbucks here in our area gives out used coffee grounds for free for plants. It has so many benefits!


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