Coffee Grounds for garden

by donnie, coffee man

Are coffee grounds good for anything, if so what for? Are there any nutritional values for soil or other things.


Megan says...
Coffee grounds for the garden are simply great.
I put all coffee bean grounds I have into kitchen scrap bucket which then goes into compost or just tipped onto a patch on the ground and covered with no dig layers then planted with plants.
Worms like coffee grounds, so this encourages the worms into activity thus aerating the soil and providing oxygen to plant roots and incorporating nutrients into the soil.

In a beanshell, coffee grounds are acidic, so sprinkle around lemon trees and all acid loving plants, such as berries (strawberries, blueberries etc), spuds, and some of the ornamentals like roses, camellias and azaleas.
If in doubt about which plants benefit from coffee grounds, put them into compost or smaller doses into worm farm, and they will be incorporated quickly into a balanced, nitrogen rich compost to put on the whole garden. They also contain other essential plant nutrients like magnesium and calcium.

If you can get coffee grounds from a local cafe, grab them - your compost can take an almost unlimited amounted added in thick layers between coarser materials.
Some people sprinkle around snail and slug prone plants, especially if mixed with crushed egg shells or sawdust, to deter these slithering pests.

Comments for Coffee Grounds for garden

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Feb 14, 2010
Coffee grounds in winter?
by: hotchaiguy

Last year was my first time putting this into my compost and sprinkling amidst my veggies. So I am not aware of the benefits so far. I have been gathering Starbucks grounds a bit this winter in Indiana and layering it on top of the kitchen scraps I put them on top of my compost. This is the first time we have made the effort to shovel a path to the bin during a winter. I had risked my body a few times as I slipped and fell in the garden, but I racked this up to my desire to be one with my garden. Ha! I have cleared a longer safe route to the bins now. These scraps are more appearant during the snowy months and am using the grounds to cover them. Seems that these cause a melting of the snow beneath. I wonder if any decay will insue during winter? Any one doing this , too?

Mar 11, 2010
Me Too
by: DBHughes

I have been using my own coffee grounds (with the filter) to add the compost bin along with the veg. peelings, egg shells/cartons, P towels etc. The Starbucks grounds go either directly on to my front lawn or into the compost bin. Don't know how much good I am doing the lawn but, it sure smells great in the morning!

Mar 27, 2010
Slug Control
by: Dana

I collect bagged grounds from Starbucks and spread them around my lettuce transplants. Before this, the slugs were eating them to the ground. Now, the grounds keep the slugs away (the residual caffeine is fatal to them). I do have to refresh with new grounds every week or so to maintain effectiveness. The greens seem to love it.

May 09, 2010
Plants Like Drinking Coffee Too
by: Connie

I'd just add that old brewed coffee is good for use in watering types of plants that like acidic soil. I have been using coffee exclusively to water my hydrangea. It is doing very well.

Aug 08, 2010
Are coffee grounds ever harmful or null?
by: University Horticulturist

You who are so free with your comments are like all other amateur gardeners. You try something and if your plants perform well, you give it a thumbs-up. If it fails, we never hear from you. Could your success be due to other factors? To validate your findings, do some real research. Make the use of coffee grounds the only variable in a comparative test involving significant number of subjects. Otherwise, please refrain from propagating baseless and untested outcomems.

Oct 11, 2010
Uppity Commenter
by: Loves Roses

We are free to input our experiences. If twenty or more persons share similar experiences and results, I find it notable. I am allowed to do this. Further, this year I had an amazing amount of roses from my 12 rose bushes - more than ever. It is also the first time I dumped coffee grounds into their soil. I did this because I listened to "baseless" input from a stranger at Starbucks speak of how roses liked the grounds. You may believe my comment baseless, but I believe my many roses are B.E.A.-UTIFUL!

Mar 18, 2011
Research Based Comments
by: Anonymous

I am very much a scientific minded person but this is a friendly forum and people are meant to share their experience and that is what they are doing. They are not running a science experiment, they are saying what they contributed to their garden and what the results were, the more people who have the same results from the same actions must mean something, does it not? And if it doesn't, it doesn't hurt to share. We aren't professional gardeners, we enjoy trying new things with our own gardens, sharing the outcomes and trying out other peoples experiences for ourselves. It's fun!

Apr 27, 2011
To The University Horticulturist
by: Hollywood Voltaire

I came here to read opinions. This is the 3rd site that I have visited to see what other people think about coffee in the garden. Telling people to shut up if they aren't experts or have not based their opinions on scientific methods is just plain rude. I notice that you offer no opinion either positive or negative. Do your scientific research and publish the results and I would be happy to read about it. Until then, play nicely or don't play at all.

May 11, 2011
Used coffee grounds deter flies
by: Kit, from the outback

Done an experiment, well in a way. I have a number of compost piles and bins all in various stages of filling and decaying.

As I was filling up 2 large plastic bins with scraps and garden cuttings/weeds etc, I topped each layer IN ONE BIN ONLY with a good shovel full of these used coffee grounds which we got in town by the sack full in our ute. This compost bin stayed free of those midges and flies which the other bin had hoards of inside. Also the coffee compost bin had more worms and activity down in the middle and below too. Both bins are about 2 thirds full at the moment so haven't heated up yet.

I'm impressed! Can you hear me doin' the Java Jive.

Jun 07, 2011
Doing a Test.
by: Dean

I've plotted 4 strawberry plants, and I'm using coffee grounds on two of them as mulch. It's only been a week, but the ones with grounds are already bigger and have more flowers. We'll see if this trend continues.
I've also just put some grounds on one of my cucumber plants and one of my radish plants.
I'm also going to add some of the grounds when I'm making my compost tea, and use it only on the ones with grounds already on them. I'm quite curious to see the difference, if any.

Jul 29, 2011
by: Dean

Ok, I'm sold on coffee grounds as mulch. Every plant that has the coffee grounds and has had the tea used on it are producing far better than those that don't. The cucumber plant with the grounds is producing more cukes than I ever though possible. The strawberry plants with the grounds are producing more berries and have not had any pest problems, where the others have.
I will be using coffee grounds as mulch from now on, on everything. Happy gardening!!!

Aug 04, 2011
junior scientist prove coffee as slug repellent
by: swissgardener

To University Horticulturalist:
As a scientist, I should expect you would share my curiosity about coffee grounds and conduct an experminent.
Pupil scientists in Germany have done this. As part of a national junior science competition, they have tested several "home remedies" for slug repelling and coffee grounds have come out top.
I'm ready for one to give it a try in situ!

Aug 04, 2011
Grounds for Slugs
by: Anonymous

I am thrilled to hear that coffee grounds help get rid of slugs. I am having a terrible problem with slugs getting into my cabbage this yr. Now my question is.. will the grounds affect the taste of our veggies??


Aug 04, 2011
by: maliasgarden

I have been using coffee on my compost for years I get more worms they help to break down the compost it works also to keep slugs off your plants...

Aug 04, 2011
The Java Effect...
by: Sonia

I too add my coffee grounds to the little 'compost bucket' I keep in my kitchen. I also add any egg shells, used tea bags, parings, peelings and veggie discards.... (also empty cardboard cores of toilet tissue rolls and I don't use paper towels any longer but when I did I would add them to the bucket and also the cut up core) and at the end of the day, the bucket gets emptied on my compost pile. The worms go crazy! I also use any coffee leftover in the pot, add a bit more water and empty it around some of my plants as a weak tea....they love it!

Aug 08, 2011
Coffee grind
by: Anonymous

I have been using coffee grind for one year on my bougainvillas and ibiscus. I have never seen more beautiful flowers before. There must be some truth in the use of coffee grind.

Mar 05, 2012
Coffee in the garden? YES!
by: Robert Bradford

One question that appears on almost every garden blog and list or book is the advisability of using coffee and coffee grounds in the garden. The quick answer is it is much better if you have a bench to sit on, admire your work and set the cup on when empty. Seriously, coffee grounds are great in the garden. Those with alkaline soils can use it wholesale while the rest of us are better off adding it to the compost. We employed a flock of chickens to work our compost and in six months they have it ready to plant and call garden. We add scraps daily and trust them to eat only those things that are good for them (a skill lost by humans). There are some plants like azalea and rhododendron that require acidic soil that you can mulch heavily with grounds. A quick web search can give you the cultural requirements of most plants. For months I fussed at my wife for throwing out the ounce of cold coffee left in a cup or the quarter cup left in a pot. She has now been trained to give it to house plants or at least look to see if I am watching.

Bottom line, coffee grounds are great. They are slightly acidic but composting changes most materials closer to neutral. Both gardens and chickens love worms and worms love coffee.

Apr 10, 2012
coffee ground
by: Anonymous

I have not tried it yet, but know of people who, very successfully, grow mushrooms on coffee ground. I going to experiment as soon as I can find what is required to start growing mushrooms and write about it.

Apr 12, 2012
Winter Composting
by: David Hughes

Just learned in my Master Copmposter class that the bacteria active in composting go to sleep below 50 degrees. That being said, if you have a compost pile with sufficient mass to maintain an internal temperature above this (and adequate moistures and food) stuff keeps breaking down, releasing more heat, etc. Coffee grounds are a great and free source of nitrogen. My worms love them too!

Apr 03, 2013
coffee grounds for fertilizing
by: Patty

I used coffee grounds in my potted rose bushes and yes, I got lots - I mean lots of leaves. Not much more flowers though but these two bushes always put out a lot of flowers. However, the burst of leaves seemed to die quicker also and all at once. I went from a beautiful green plant with pretty flowers to a bush that was practically all brown. So I thought maybe I put in too much coffee grounds and stopped doing it for a while. Now when I do it, I just put a little bit in each pot.

Apr 11, 2013
blueberries love coffee grounds
by: B RIGGSAnonymous


Feb 26, 2014
coffee grounds
by: Crystal

My mom had two identical plants, and she put her daily coffee grounds on one, and the difference was amazing! The "ungrounded" plant grew to about a foot high while the "grounded" one grew to about 3 feet! I have been using them ever since.

Aug 14, 2014
coffee grounds
by: Anonymous

I use a mixture of coffee grounds and ash (in bucket form) from woodstove to build up quality of soil in gardens. It seems to work very, very well with most flowers and berry bushes; have not tried it on large trees or large bushes.

Aug 14, 2014
Mushrooms - not so easy
by: Susan W


it is actually not so easy to grow oyster mushrooms in coffee grounds, as other mushrooms/moulds love them too.

There was one post about someone who added his fresh from the coffeemaker grounds little by litte to a bucket with culture, that might work.

Jan 14, 2015
Coffee and warms
by: Anonymous

I grew up on a farm in Wisconsin. We did a lot of fishing in the nearby Creek. When we wanted to did for worms to use as bait, we went to Where Mother dumps the coffee grounds. Year after year, we knew where to find the worms.

May 31, 2015
coffee grounds
by: Anonymous

My husband and I live in CT. We put coffee grounds on our roses and hostas weekly. By memorial day each year we have 50-100 blooms on our sea roses and our largest hostages are over 3'x3'.
People stop by and knock on our door just to see what we're feeding them!! We definitely believe in coffee!!

Jun 11, 2015
Are coffee grounds good for the Rotodendrims (sorry for the spelling!) in the spring before they bloom. What about during the summer? Thank you for taking my question!
by: Frank from MA

Can't comment on this one, but would like a reply comment from the experts! Thank you kindly! Frank from the great state of MA!

Jun 22, 2015
Spent coffee grounds as mulch
by: ~ Megan

Rhododendron like slightly acidic soil so coffee grounds would be welcome. Remember that there is little of anything left in the grounds except organic material, so if you put the spent grounds on in spring or summer, the main benefit would be a good mulch for the roots to keep the moisture in and provide protection, as well as rotting down slowly. Pile it on and I bet you'll get good results.

Sep 20, 2015
by: Lorette G

I make my own compost by mixing skin of banana, egg shells and coffee grounds into my potting soil. I have good results with it.

Nov 20, 2015
coffee grounds
by: Marshall Reagan

This may not be scientific but many years of experience using coffee grounds tell me they are good to use in the garden or around acid loving plants.I read about it in the Organic Gardening magazine 30 -40 years ago & tried it on azalias & was amazed at the growth .I will continue using them as long as I get good results.

May 28, 2016
by: Anonymous

Coffee grounds have no nutritional value and are too acidic to use on plants because they have a long shelf life-last a long time.

May 29, 2016
Coffee grounds ARE good for garden
by: Missy

Not true, they have only a little bit of actual coffee left which apparently disappears with the first rain. What's left are the grounds which are like all organic matter so they very slowly rot down into the soil releasing a few nutrients over the years.

I also read that coffee grounds have an average pH of 6.2 which is only very slightly acidic and once incorporated into the compost or garden soil will not make it in any way shape or form --- acidic. On yer bike!

Jan 01, 2017
Too subjective
by: Beginner/no kidding

Using the phrases "are acidic" and "will use them" are sometimes dangerous to plants. Too subjective.
Not many posters above have listed any or enough info regarding their particular soil parameters before, or after for anyone else to just make these type of adjustments to their soil.
pH before?
Any Moondust? (It's available I am sure!)

I only get to trip around the sun so many more times. I won't waste one more season!

Jan 02, 2017
So many uses for coffee grounds in garden
by: Anonymous

I collect bags (6-8 literally) of coffee grounds each week from my local cafe. I hot compost & throw in at least 6 (2 kg) bags, when the compost cools, worms move in & my compost is beautiful. I have compost piles that are only grounds, full of worms & becomes pure worm casting.
I throw handfuls of grounds on lawn, feeds grass & helps deter neighbours cats. I've used them as a path in my vegie garden when applied heavily, eg 1 2kg bag every 1/2 metre & leveled out.
I love coffee grounds for there multi-purpose & keeps grounds out of landfill & my compost worms can't get enough :-)

Oct 22, 2018
coffee grounds great for tomatoes
by: Sarah White

Hello ! Love this thread.
For the last few years, I have been using coffee grounds in my compost - great stuff. When I plant my tomato plants, for the last few years, I have put a handful of chopped up banana skins, crushed eggshells and coffee grounds under each plant (dig a bit deeper than necessary, add a layer of soil, dig it together a bit, then put the plant in and water well) Works an absolute treat - have had many more tomatoes since I have been doing this. We live in the Alps and this year, I am still collecting a huge bowl of cherry tomatoes every day - 22nd October - weather has been fabulous this year.

Apr 14, 2019
Grounds are good
by: Anonymous

In my no dig beds I have put coffee grounds in two of them over winter and left the rest without
The beds with have better breakdown of the horse manure I added and have no use as a toilet for the nearby cats .
The ones without the coffee however have been used as a toilet and also have a fair amount of woodlice in the soil which I don't want

Jan 05, 2020
by: Jim

I have 7 lasagne beds in an urban back yard. I have been placing several inches of spent coffee grounds S a new layer this winter. Should I remove them, or wait to see what the remaining winter months do?

Jan 05, 2020
Leave coffee grounds over winter
by: ~ Megan

Jim, best to leave your lasagne beds and the coffee grounds will get a bit incorporated into everything else, then plant in spring. As long as large amounts of these grounds don't touch the plants without them being mixed with other soil and compost, then you will have great soil.

Jan 18, 2020
OG (organic geezer)
by: Steven B

Nope, nope, nope, nope. Coffee is acidic, but brewing removes those acids. Coffee grounds are most useful once composted but their pH is only mildly acidic and there's not enough Nitrogen to act as a fertilizer. Some garden pests may avoid the area due to the aroma.

Mar 21, 2020
by: Rebecca

You all are great!
I loved reading all the comments.
I will be back.

May 10, 2020
Question for you
by: Anonymous

I have a can of ground coffee (dry, fresh, never brewed.) I don't drink coffee so I I don't brew coffee. Would it be ok or good or detrimental to add the raw "unbrewed" coffee to my garden such as grapes, berries, tomato etc?

Jun 19, 2020
Coffee Grounds Not Acidic
by: Anonymous

While coffee beans are acidic, the acid is water soluble so it leaches out during brewing. Grounds are near neutral pH.

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