11 Ways to Use Coffee Grounds in the Garden (2022)

Whether you enjoy an occasional cup or have a pot-a-day habit, coffee is one of the most popular beverages to make at home. However, brewing coffee leaves behind unappealing dregs: coffee grounds.

What to do with those old coffee grounds? While most of us immediately dump our coffee grounds into the trash, let them help your home inside and out. Here are three ways to use coffee grounds in the garden (and a few ways to use them in your house).

When used correctly, coffee grounds can be a great addition to your garden. Many gardeners find it is a safe, natural, and effective way to boost their gardens without using harsh chemicals or pesticides.

11 Ways to Use Coffee Grounds in the Garden (1)

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Table Of Contents

  1. Ways to Use Coffee Grounds in the Garden
    • Benefits of Using Coffee Grounds in the Garden as Fertilizer
    • Composting
    • Keep Pests Away
  2. What Plants Like Coffee Grounds?
  3. Additional Uses for Coffee Grounds
  4. Drink Coffee, Garden Happy

Ways to Use Coffee Grounds in the Garden

If you didn’t learn the proper way to store ground coffee after opening it, you may end up with stale coffee. However, don’t throw away those grounds.

Use them to boost blooms and berries, and to keep away slugs and snails. Coffee grounds are good for grass or use them in your compost pile to increase nitrogen levels in your soil.

11 Ways to Use Coffee Grounds in the Garden (2)

Even if you aren’t a coffee drinker, you may be able to get the benefits. Contact local coffee shops or restaurants to enquire about picking up their grounds for use in your garden or to use coffee grounds for houseplants. If that doesn’t work, try asking one or more of your coffee-drinking neighbors to help you out.

Benefits of Using Coffee Grounds in the Garden as Fertilizer

Is coffee good for plants? Yes. The benefits of coffee grounds in the garden are fourfold.

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Benefits of Coffee Grounds in the Garden

  • Aeration
  • Water retention
  • Drainage
  • Earthworm attraction

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(Video) You'll Never Throw Away Coffee Grounds After Watching This

Aeration. Compacted soil is a problem for plants because the soil is compressed, meaning the roots of the plant are unable to get what they need. Aeration breaks up the soil and creates small holes through which oxygen, nutrients, and water can reach the roots. Healthy roots can become strong, and as a result, your plants strengthen.

Water Retention. Water retention is a problem in dry and arid regions, where droughts are common. Even drought resistant plants are unable to get enough water, and they end up wilting and dying. Coffee grounds improve water retention in soil, and improved water retention means the plants will be able to do more with less water.

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Drainage. On the other end of the water retention spectrum, poor drainage creates stagnant water and leave your plants vulnerable to diseases.

Soil with good drainage ensures that the roots of the plant can receive the water they need while letting the excess flow away which helps to get rid of soil gnats. Coffee grounds help to break down the soil and allow for better drainage.

Earthworms. Love them or hate them, worms are fantastic for gardens. They move through the soil by tunneling, which creates natural vents through which oxygen and water can flow.

They also eat organic matter, and their castings (excrement) contain nutrients that plants love. Coffee grounds are organic matter, so adding them to your garden will attract earthworms, which will, in turn, provide your plants with vital nutrients and drainage.

(Video) How to use Coffee Grounds as a FREE Fertilizer for your Plants

How to Use Coffee as a Fertilizer

Using coffee grounds to fertilize your garden is simple: work the grounds into the soil around your garden, and you’re set to go. Leftover coffee can work well, too, as long as it’s black or sweetened with real sugar — if you’ve used artificial sweeteners or milk, avoid introducing the grounds to your plants.

What about Soil pH?

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You may have heard that coffee grounds will alter the pH level of your garden.

The short answer: unwashed coffee grounds will lower the pH level of your garden (raise the acidity), which is great for plants that like acidic soil, but hurts plants that prefer less acidic soil.

Washed coffee grounds have a pH level of 6.5, which is almost neutral. In layman’s terms, washed coffee grounds will neither increase nor decrease the acidity level of your soil, making them useful for all plant types.

>> More hands-on coffee tips: Best way to clean a coffee maker

Composting

One benefit to using coffee grounds in compost instead of using it as a fertilizer is that coffee grounds will increase the nitrogen levels in the compost and, thereby, in your soil.

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Two Types of Compost Material

  • Green (Nitrogen)
  • Brown (Carbon)
(Video) 16 CREATIVE WAYS TO USE COFFEE GROUNDS

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Plants get food from the sun, absorbing ultraviolet light and converting it into food. The process of using sunlight to create food is called photosynthesis. For a plant to properly photosynthesize, it needs nitrogen. Used coffee grounds, as well as used filters, make great compost.

One thing to keep in mind: compost piles need equal amounts of green compost material and brown compost material to benefit your garden. Without a proper balance, your compost pile may not break down and might even start to smell bad.

Generally speaking, you want to go for a 4:1 brown-to-green ratio.

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Green compost material consists of material high in nitrogen such as old food, grass clippings, and manure. Brown compost material is high in carbon and includes dried leaves, chips of wood, hay, and sawdust.

If you add coffee grounds (green material) to your pile, be certain to add brown material as well.

Keep Pests Away

Does your garden attract unwanted visitors like slugs and snails? Sprinkle coffee grounds around the edges of your garden plot and atop the soil to repel pests. Slugs and snails dislike caffeine, so they avoid soil with a high caffeine content.

Spread some coffee grounds through your garden, and your pest problem is solved. It’s also thought that the grounds will repel cats and serve as a welcome homemade rabbit repellent, keeping them from using your garden as their personal pantry or litter box.

You also know that earthworms are good for gardens, and here’s another reason why: earthworms like to eat the pests who like to eat your plants, such as spider mites and aphids. See more on how to kill spider mites here.

Coffee grounds will attract worms – who will then take care of the mites and aphids. You’re looking at a double-win.

Burn your coffee grounds in a metal container as a way to use coffee grounds to get rid of mosquitoes while you’re on the deck or patio.

What Plants Like Coffee Grounds?

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Coffee grounds should be used to help boost specific plants. Many acid-loving plants can benefit from having fresh coffee grounds mixed into their soil. However, be careful where you put your coffee; while some plants thrive with the minor acidic soil, others will not fare well.

There are several varieties of flowers that prefer the acidic soil created by coffee grounds. Hydrangeas, lilies, and azaleas are all flowering plants that thrive when adding coffee grounds to their soil.

Experienced gardeners know that coffee grounds can do more than just improve the soil – they can also make the flowers change colors! Adding coffee grounds around hydrangea plants can help their blooms sprout a vibrant blue, no matter the original color.

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Plants that Prefer Acidic Soil from Coffee Grounds

  • Hydrangeas
  • Azaleas
  • Roses
  • Fruit plants like blueberries, etc.
  • Root crops vegetables, like carrots and radishes

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(Video) Zero Cost Fertilizer Gardening Hack. How to use coffee grounds in the garden

Coffee grounds can also help your vegetable beds. Crops like carrots and radishes do especially well by adding coffee to the soil during planting. Likewise, fruit plants like blueberry bushes can also benefit.

Coffee grounds should be applied with care, however. Although they help many plants flourish, their properties can hurt others. Coffee grounds have allelopathic properties, which can suppress some weeds. However, this can cause harm to plants, such as tomatoes.

Additional Uses for Coffee Grounds

Use coffee grounds inside your home. Here a couple of creative ways to use coffee grounds in your home.

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  • Freshen flower vases. Cut flowers last longer when placed in coffee grounds; the grounds also serve double duty by serving as an air freshener.
  • Make dirt play dough. Adding coffee grounds to homemade Play-Doh can create realistic dirt, perfect for playing with plastic worms and hauling around in toy sized dump trucks.
  • Fill pincushions. Filling a pin cushion with coffee grounds can prevent pins from rusting – as well as letting out a pleasant aroma each time you use it. Dry the grounds before placing them inside the pincushion by spreading them into a thin layer and placing in the freezer for several hours.
  • Scour baked on stains. Use coffee grounds as a natural way to clean baked-on bits on pots and pans. Together with some vinegarit will clean pots and make them look new. However, because this can cause discoloration, it should not be used with ceramics or any other dishware that can stain.
  • Freshen hands after chopping onions. If cutting onions, garlic, or other vegetables leave your hands smelly, coffee grounds can help absorb the odor. Rub grounds onto your hands before washing to eliminate strong smells that might otherwise linger for hours – or days.
  • Deodorize your fridge. A bowl of coffee grounds can be used in place of baking soda to deodorize refrigerators and freezers.

Drink Coffee, Garden Happy

11 Ways to Use Coffee Grounds in the Garden (7)

Brewing up a fresh pot of coffee as you read this article? Now you know what to do with the grounds once you’re finished with your pot of java. In this article, you learned three ways to use coffee grounds in the garden.

You learned the benefits of coffee grounds in the garden, and you learned what plants like coffee grounds. You also got a few tips for how to use your leftover coffee grounds around the house for those winter months.

(Video) 6 Ways to Use Leftover Coffee Grounds - HGTV Handmade

11 Ways to Use Coffee Grounds in the Garden (8)

Do you have a friend who is a coffee lover and loves gardening? Use the buttons below to share to Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

FAQs

Which plants do not like coffee grounds? ›

In most cases, the grounds are too acidic to be used directly on soil, even for acid-loving plants like blueberries, azaleas and hollies. Coffee grounds inhibit the growth of some plants, including geranium, asparagus fern, Chinese mustard and Italian ryegrass.

What is the best way to use coffee grounds in the garden? ›

To use coffee grounds as a fertilizer sprinkle them thinly onto your soil, or add them to your compost heap. Despite their color, for the purposes of composting they're a 'green', or nitrogen-rich organic material.

Can I add coffee grounds directly to my garden? ›

Fertilize With Coffee Grounds

Add coffee grounds directly to the soil in your garden. You can scratch it into the top couple inches of soil, or just sprinkle the grounds on top and leave it alone. In smaller amounts, especially when mixed with dry materials, coffee grounds will give up their nitrogen.

What should you not use coffee grounds for? ›

Coffee grounds are highly acidic, they note, so they should be reserved for acid-loving plants like azaleas and blueberries. And if your soil is already high in nitrogen, the extra boost from coffee grounds could stunt the growth of fruits and flowers.

What animals do coffee grounds repel? ›

Coffee Grounds to Deter Pests

Coffee grounds are commonly used to keep animals including slugs, snails, rabbits and fire ants from eating plants in the garden, and to keep cats from treating garden beds like litter boxes.

Do coffee grounds attract rats? ›

While rats and mice are attracted to food odors, they aren't interested in the smell or taste of coffee grounds. In fact, both used and fresh coffee grounds repel mice and rats.

What can you do with old coffee grounds? ›

16 Creative Ways to Use Old Coffee Grounds
  • Fertilize Your Garden. Most soil does not contain the essential nutrients needed for optimal plant growth. ...
  • Compost It for Later. ...
  • Repel Insects and Pests. ...
  • Remove Fleas from Your Pet. ...
  • Neutralize Odors. ...
  • Use It as a Natural Cleaning Scrub. ...
  • Scour Your Pots and Pans. ...
  • Exfoliate Your Skin.
12 Apr 2018

What can I do with stale coffee grounds? ›

13 Best Uses for Old Coffee Grounds
  1. Dry Rub. Coffee can be a great dry rub for meat. ...
  2. Composting Pile. Old coffee grounds are a great addition to a compost pile. ...
  3. Plant Feed. ...
  4. Candles. ...
  5. Hair Mask. ...
  6. Under Eye Cream. ...
  7. Soap. ...
  8. Scratched Furniture Repair.
22 Apr 2021

Do tomatoes like coffee grounds? ›

Coffee grounds contain around 2% nitrogen as well as varying amounts of phosphorus and potassium which are all very important for the growth of tomato plants. By mixing some coffee grounds into the soil below your tomato plants you're introducing these nutrients that the plants need to thrive.

Are coffee grounds good for killing weeds? ›

Do Coffee Grounds Kill Weeds? Yes! The coffee grounds are actual weed suppressants, especially when they are damp and straight from your kitchen. When added to the compost mix, they increase the temperature of this mix, thus speeding up decomposition.

Can you put too much coffee grounds in compost? ›

Too many coffee grounds (and not enough brown materials) can cause your compost pile to smell like rotten eggs, especially when you turn it. Use this as a sign to add more brown materials to your compost, and make sure to turn it well.

How often should I put coffee grounds in my garden? ›

For a small bin, add a cup of grounds per week to feed their addiction. Avoid adding too much at once because the acidity could negatively impact your worms. Paper coffee filters can even go in too.

Do coffee grounds deter slugs? ›

Coffee grounds are already recommended as a home remedy for keeping slugs and snails at bay. Grounds repel slugs, Hollingsworth found, but a caffeine solution is much more effective, he says: "Slugs turn back immediately after contacting the [caffeinated soil]."

How often should I put coffee grounds on my tomato plants? ›

6. Till coffee grounds into the soil in the fall and allow them to decompose right in the soil. The University of Florida Extension recommends amending the soil with organic matter such as compost, manure or coffee grounds twice a year.

Do coffee grounds attract mosquitoes? ›

While coffee mosquito repellent is not as simple as sprinkling coffee grounds throughout the yard, studies have found that water containing coffee or used grounds deterred adult mosquitoes from laying eggs in those locations.

Will coffee grounds attract roaches? ›

Since coffee attracts roaches, it should be no surprise that you can use it to set up traps. While it may not be as effective as traditional roach baits, it can still be used frequently and easily. All you need are coffee grounds, 2 or 3 large glass jars, small paper cups and water. Fill the jars halfway with water.

Do coffee grounds attract bugs? ›

Fertilize Your Garden

To use coffee grounds as a fertilizer, sprinkle them thinly onto the soil or add them to your compost pile. Spreading coffee grounds throughout your garden will also attract insects, such as, worms.

What smell will keep rats away? ›

You can repel rats from your home and garden with scents they dislike, such as clover, garlic, onion, hot peppers containing capsaicin, house ammonia, used coffee grounds, peppermint, eucalyptus, predator (cat) scent, white vinegar, and citronella oil.

Why do slugs not like coffee grounds? ›

Caffeine in large doses is said to be toxic to slugs, and in smaller doses it can slow them down. It has also been noted that the mere smell of coffee deters slugs and snails. In addition, others state that ingredients in the coffee grounds stimulate their mucus production. This would deter them from crawling over.

Do mice smell like coffee? ›

How does coffee powder help get rid of mice? It turns out that mice have a sharp sense of smell, to trace the tracks it leaves behind. Similarly, black coffee powder has a sharp aroma disliked by mice. Hence, it will avoid areas that smell like coffee powder.

Will ants eat coffee grounds? ›

Ants are extremely susceptible to caffeine. This safe material confuses the worker ants because they lose their scent trails. Leave coffee grounds where the ants are and they will carry it home and eat it. This method takes a few weeks to see, but after a while you'll notice a decrease of the ants population.

Is it OK to flush coffee grounds down the toilet? ›

No. Coffee grounds clump together in water instead of breaking down, which is a great recipe for drain clogs. While it's okay to put a minute amount down your sink (especially if you flush it with plenty of water), it's not something you should do on a regular basis.

Is expired coffee grounds still good? ›

In general, an unopened package of ground coffee stored in the pantry will retain the best taste three to five months beyond the best by date. Ground coffee stored in the freezer should taste great even one to two years beyond the best by date.

How long can you keep coffee grounds? ›

If unopened, coffee grounds last around five months. After opening, exposure to the air speeds up the oxidation process – around 3-4 months. These same rules apply to coffee bags. Therefore, keep opened ground coffee in an airtight container.

Do coffee grounds repel earwigs? ›

While coffee grounds repel some pests like slugs, snails, and ants, we couldn't find any information to say they repel earwigs.

What do Egg shells do for tomato plants? ›

Eggshells are a great way to add nutrients for growing tomato plants. It may fertilize the soil and work as mulch. Further, it may be used as a starter pot and added to the compost pile. However, the available studies are inconclusive if eggshells prevent blossom end rot and deter pests.

Do peppers like coffee grounds? ›

CONCLUSION. Coffee grounds are an excellent source of nitrogen and can give your pepper plants healthy growth which is why peppers love them. You can sprinkle the grounds around the plants in the garden bed. From there, they break down into excellent nutrition for your plants.

How do egg shells help plants? ›

Egg shell fertilizer, or eggshell fertilizer, is made from crushed eggshells, which are high in calcium carbonate, a crucial mineral for strengthening plants' cell walls. The shells also contain other minerals that help plants grow, including potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium.

Will coffee grounds repel dogs? ›

Did you know dogs detest anything bitter? To keep your dog out of your garden simply take your morning coffee grounds and mix them with a dissolved bitter orange capsule/pill. Sprinkle this mixture around the perimeter of your garden.

How do I spread coffee grounds to my lawn? ›

Don't let the grounds completely cover up grass sprigs. Rake or sweep it out lightly so there aren't any deep piles atop the grass. You can also use a bucket with holes punched through the bottom or a spreader to broadcast the grounds. Voila, can't get much simpler than that.

How much coffee grounds should I put on my roses? ›

There's a great way to feed your roses coffee grounds, which lowers the ph on soil and attracts worms which loosen and feed the soil- great for roses! It's simple, just collect your coffee grounds and -per bush- use 1 cup of grounds to 1 gallon of water. Mix, and water the roses with it.

What plants can you water with coffee? ›

Plants that prefer more acidic soil (such as African violets, Impatiens, Norfolk Island pines, Phalaenopsis orchids, and Dieffenbachia) seem to respond well to a weekly watering with coffee.

Do earthworms eat coffee grounds? ›

Soil-borne bacteria and fungi break down the various chemical components of coffee grounds after several months. Earthworms are also able to use this food source. Earthworms consume coffee grounds and deposit them deep in soil. This may account for noted improvements in soil structure such as increased aggregation.

How long do coffee grounds take to compost? ›

Add grounds to your compost pile, layering one part leaves to one part fresh grass clippings to one part coffee grounds, by volume. Turn once a week. This will be ready in three to six months.

Do coffee grounds decompose in a septic tank? ›

Many septic professionals can agree that putting coffee grounds into a septic system is a bad practice and could negatively affect its function. Coffee grounds will not break down in a septic tank; they will build up over time and might cause the tank to have to be pumped more often.

How do you make coffee ground fertilizer? ›

Just combine 4-6 tablespoons of coffee grounds with one teaspoon of cinnamon and one cup of club soda in a large measuring cup. Mix together until combined. Pour the mixture over the soil of your plants once every two weeks and watch as your plants thrive.

Is coffee good for all plants? ›

Absolutely! Coffee that is leftover in the carafe can be poured on indoor and outdoor plants. Leftover coffee is a source of nitrogen and will fertilize them. Do not put coffee that has cream or sugar added on plants though, as it can harm the plant and will also attract ants and other insects.

Is coffee grounds good for all house plants? ›

Yes, coffee grounds are beneficial for indoor plants! This rich organic material is good for your plants due to its high nitrogen content, micronutrients, and high-water retention. The absolute best way to use coffee grounds on your houseplants is to compost!

Do tomato plants like used coffee grounds? ›

Coffee grounds contain around 2% nitrogen as well as varying amounts of phosphorus and potassium which are all very important for the growth of tomato plants. By mixing some coffee grounds into the soil below your tomato plants you're introducing these nutrients that the plants need to thrive.

Do hydrangeas like coffee grounds? ›

While some plants don't take to it, hydrangeas do benefit from this soil amendment. Coffee grounds contain nitrogen, and they can increase the acid content of the soil. Both are of interest to hydrangea plants. Adding used coffee grounds to the soil of hydrangea plants can also improve the quality of the soil.

What can I do with stale coffee grounds? ›

13 Best Uses for Old Coffee Grounds
  1. Dry Rub. Coffee can be a great dry rub for meat. ...
  2. Composting Pile. Old coffee grounds are a great addition to a compost pile. ...
  3. Plant Feed. ...
  4. Candles. ...
  5. Hair Mask. ...
  6. Under Eye Cream. ...
  7. Soap. ...
  8. Scratched Furniture Repair.
22 Apr 2021

What can you do with old coffee grounds? ›

16 Creative Ways to Use Old Coffee Grounds
  • Fertilize Your Garden. Most soil does not contain the essential nutrients needed for optimal plant growth. ...
  • Compost It for Later. ...
  • Repel Insects and Pests. ...
  • Remove Fleas from Your Pet. ...
  • Neutralize Odors. ...
  • Use It as a Natural Cleaning Scrub. ...
  • Scour Your Pots and Pans. ...
  • Exfoliate Your Skin.
12 Apr 2018

Can I pour leftover coffee on plants? ›

Well, here's some good news: on a micro level, if done properly, your leftover coffee can actually be good for your plants. Turns out, the nitrogen that's found in coffee grounds can help blooming plants, especially those that thrive in relatively acidic soil.

Can I mix coffee grounds with potting soil? ›

"The best way to use coffee grounds for plants is adding it to your compost pile, and then mixing a little bit of that compost in with your potting soil," Marino says. Diluting coffee grounds works the same way as diluting fertilizer: using just a teaspoon of coffee grounds per gallon of water.

Do roses like coffee grounds? ›

Roses do like coffee grounds, but too much too close can give them a nasty nitrogen burn and can kill your roses. Never sprinkle coffee grounds right next to the plant.

How often should I put coffee grounds on my tomato plants? ›

6. Till coffee grounds into the soil in the fall and allow them to decompose right in the soil. The University of Florida Extension recommends amending the soil with organic matter such as compost, manure or coffee grounds twice a year.

Do egg shells help tomato plants? ›

Eggshells are a great way to add nutrients for growing tomato plants. It may fertilize the soil and work as mulch. Further, it may be used as a starter pot and added to the compost pile. However, the available studies are inconclusive if eggshells prevent blossom end rot and deter pests.

Do peppers like coffee grounds? ›

CONCLUSION. Coffee grounds are an excellent source of nitrogen and can give your pepper plants healthy growth which is why peppers love them. You can sprinkle the grounds around the plants in the garden bed. From there, they break down into excellent nutrition for your plants.

How do I make my hydrangea purple? ›

Alkaline soil, with a pH above 7.0, promotes pinks and reds. With a pH between 6 and 7, the blooms turn purple or bluish-pink. To lower your pH, add garden sulfur or aluminum sulfate to your soil. To raise the pH, use ground lime.

How do I make my hydrangea blooms bigger? ›

To increase blooms, plant the hydrangea in an area of morning sun with shade in the afternoon, ensure the soil is consistently moist and apply a well-balanced fertilizer in Spring. Hydrangeas bloom on last year's growth, so avoid pruning your hydrangea too often, to encourage more flowers.

How do I get my hydrangeas to turn blue? ›

Blue hydrangeas bloom in acidic soils, usually with a pH of 5.5 or less. The easiest way to acidify your soil and turn those babies blue is with aluminum sulfate, which can be found at almost any garden center.

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