When you look up ways to reduce your waste, the various uses for coffee grounds will likely pop up in your search. Coffee grounds can be used for a pretty wide range of situations, from cleaning your skin and keeping away pests, to even being used as a fertilizer in your garden. But how well do coffee grounds work as a fertilizer for Succulents?
Succulents, for the most part, enjoy acidity and do better in acidic soil. Coffee Grounds are good for Succulents because it increases aeration, acidity, and adds minerals such nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to the plant’s soil. The nutrients that coffee provides are very important to plants and help them stay alive and thrive. While almost all plants need these nutrients, not all can handle the acidity.
If you want to know more about coffee grounds being used in your plants (including which ones do well with acidic soil) and particularly in your Succulents, keep reading below.
What Do Coffee Grounds Provide Plants?
Coffee grounds are a great addition to plants. They provide a lot of benefits for plants, whether in a garden or indoors. Coffee grounds contain key minerals, including nitrogen, calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and chromium. They also provide benefits for the soil as well, such as increasing water retention and aeration.
For outside gardening, coffee grounds can attract healthy wildlife like worms, which provide the necessary task of breaking down soil and turning items like the grounds themselves into compost.
Water retention is one of the reasons why some people may say that Succulents don’t do well with coffee grounds. Though coffee grounds provide a lot of nutrients that Succulents would enjoy, it’s true that they prefer soil that dries out completely between waterings.
Adding something like coffee grounds that will increase moisture retention might be good for other plants, but with Succulents, it can increase the risk of fungus, disease, and root rot.
If you want to be able to use coffee grounds with your Succulents, it is important to monitor moisture and control it in other ways, such as using soil that drains easily, watering your plant less frequently, or using a moisture meter to keep track of the water content.
Do All Houseplants Like Coffee Grounds?
Not all plants are suited for handling coffee grounds. Though they are very beneficial, they are also highly acidic, which some plants just don’t do well with. Most of the time, flowering plants and Succulents do the best with the addition of acidic material. Here are some examples of how various plants react to coffee grounds:
- Certain Succulents: enjoy coffee grounds and the high levels of minerals they add to the soil, especially nitrogen.
- Violets: do great when provided with a lot of acidity and nitrogen. They enjoy both coffee grounds and a little liquid coffee mixed into their water fairly regularly.
- Roses: love both excessive nitrogen and acid, so adding coffee grounds or liquid coffee to their soil occasionally will perk them right up.
- Lilies: especially Peace Lilies, thrive on the acidity that coffee provides, as well as the nutrients.
- Philodendron: don’t like a lot of coffee, so it is best just used once a year at most.
- Jade: are technically Succulents, so it makes sense that they enjoy coffee. They can be given coffee grounds once or twice a year for the best effect.
- Cyclamen: is a genus that includes 23 different flowering plants. While Cyclamen plants don’t like a lot of acidity, they do well with receiving some coffee grounds on occasion.
Though there is a wide range of plants that like the acidity and nutrients of coffee grounds, there are some plants that don’t enjoy it at all. Some herbs like Rosemary prefer less acidic soil. Even certain flowering plants like Orchids and Lavender do better without coffee grounds, as they don’t like the acidity and have much more specific soil requirements.
Other times, using coffee grounds may lead to a plant retaining too much water, which can cause root rot. This is why, benefits aside, it’s a good idea to be wary and consider all the variables before adding coffee grounds to your plant’s soil.
Do Succulent Plants Like Coffee?
Of course, not all Succulents like coffee grounds. With over 10,000 different types of Succulents throughout the world, you’d be hard-pressed to find something that they all like.
We will say, however, that most Succulents do enjoy acidic soil and would do well with the addition of coffee grounds, and we haven’t found a common Succulent yet that didn’t seem to benefit from the grounds.
In general, water has a pH level of somewhere between 7 and 8. Succulents prefer a pH closer to 5.8 to 7.0. Adding in coffee grounds helps to balance these pH levels and get them closer to what your Succulent needs.
What Do I Need to Be Aware of When Using Coffee Grounds?
It is important to note that if you are buying soil specifically for Succulents, the soil may already be acidic enough. Always check to make sure you aren’t adding too much acid to the soil.
Additionally, if your pot is too small, coffee grounds may not be the best option for your plant. This is because there might not be enough space in the pot. Since coffee grounds can hold moisture and increase moisture retention, adding too much into the soil can prevent the plant from drying out enough, which in turn may lead to root rot.
Sometimes, a better option is to use liquid coffee. By mixing a little bit of brewed coffee into your water and pouring it over the plants, they get the nutrition and the acidity they enjoy, but without the moisture retention that coffee grounds provide.
If you add fertilizers to your plant, it is also a good idea to make sure your fertilizers don’t have too much nitrogen. Though nitrogen is important for a plant to survive, having too much in the soil can be toxic and is known as nitrogen toxicity among plant enthusiasts.
What Kind of Succulents Like Coffee Grounds?
Succulents in big pots or even growing outdoors do best with coffee grounds. While almost all Succulents enjoy coffee grounds, plants like Cactus and Jade enjoy it the most. As long as you don’t have very picky plants, it shouldn’t be a problem if the soil is a little acidic or not.
How Often Can I Put Coffee Grounds on My Plants?
Generally, coffee grounds break down into compost within three to six months. This means that two to four times a year, you can add more coffee grounds to the soil in your outdoor garden. If the grounds are already composted, you can add them in more often. Just make sure your plant has plenty of soil, too.
If you have a potted Succulent, it is a good idea to add significantly less coffee grounds than you would to your outdoor garden. Since their container can hold water, you want to make sure that your plants aren’t staying too moist. Start with just a sprinkle of coffee grounds in the soil and if your plant seems to do well with that, you can add a bit more as desired.
How Much Coffee Grounds Do You Put In Soil?
Most people recommend a 1:4 ratio of coffee to soil. However, as we mentioned above, for potted plants that don’t do well with a lot of water retention, such as Succulents, you might want to start with a smaller amount.
Adding too many coffee grounds can create a smell similar to ammonia. This ratio also provides enough soil for microorganisms to live in and converts the coffee grounds into healthy compost.
It is important you mix the soil and the grounds well. Don’t just add the coffee on top. It can create a barrier that can prevent water from getting in and subsequently dry out your plant, even if you are watering it.
Will Coffee Grounds in the Soil Attract Insects and Pests?
No, coffee grounds are a great way to deter pests like slugs, snails, mosquitos, fruit flies, beetles, ants, deer, rabbits, and even cats. While it isn’t full-proof and some animals may still brave it to get to your plants, the grounds themselves definitely won’t be the source of the attraction.
Though you may mostly be gardening indoors, coffee grounds can still help to keep away small pests that may get into your plants and cause a problem.
Coffee grounds are beneficial all throughout your garden. They provide aeration to the soil, keep away harmful insects and animals, and add important acidity and nutrients like nitrogen, calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and chromium to your plant’s diet.
Not all plants can handle coffee grounds and the acidity they provide. However, Succulents not only can handle it but in fact thrive in the high acidity levels that coffee grounds cultivate. Just keep in mind that coffee grounds can also hold moisture, which isn’t always good if your Succulent is contained in a small pot or is otherwise prone to excessive exposure to water.
If you have a bigger pot or want to use liquid coffee, however, this will help to limit moisture retention and your plant will be free to enjoy its jolt of coffee energy.