Can I Use Coffee Grounds For Indoor Plants? (And Is It Good ?)


You may have heard that some people use coffee ground as a fertilizer for houseplants. They say it is an easy, eco-friendly, and cheap solution. However, since you came across this article, you may be wondering whether coffee is really good for potted plants or not.

Turns out that coffee may be a great solution or may bring harm. Well, it all depends on the conditions and various factors.

In this article, I will walk you through the tricks and tips of using coffee as a fertilizer for potted plants. Additionally, you will also come across the list of plants that like it the most.

Is Coffee Grounds Good For Indoor Plants?

There is no one answer to the question of whether coffee is good for potted plants or not. Coffee can be very beneficial for your potted plants, however, it can also be harmful. The ground coffee can be used as a mulch, pesticide, fertilizer, or even compost.

Coffee grounds are rich in organic materials and because of their high nitrogen level, high- water retention, and elements such as micronutrients, they can be a perfect and cheap solution.

Even more, you can even water the plants with coffee. However, The quantity must be carefully chosen. If not, an overdose of caffeine can cause stunt plant growth and can also increase the risk of fungus.

You can use the leftover coffee and can make a very simple fertilizer and by adding some other elements, even make homemade potting soil. However, there are several things to consider and coffee can be harmful to some potted plants.

Benefits of Using Coffee As A Fertilizer For Potted Plants


Coffee grounds can be pretty beneficial for potted plants.


You may wonder, what does it exactly mean? What will it do to my plants?

There are several major reasons why coffee can be a good fertilizer for plants.

Coffee Is Nutritious

Coffee is actually very high in nutrition. It contains nitrogen and phosphorus. Those two elements are very essential for the well-being of your plants.

Coffee contains approximately 2% of nitrogen and additionally, it comes with other micronutrients such as magnesium, iron, and calcium, therefore,  can also be very beneficial.

The Coffee Is Easy To Find And Is Budget Friendly

Coffee can be found in any household and is extremely easy to get. They are available in any store and especially if you have a coffee-loving neighbor or a family member, they will most likely be happy to give you some.

Gardening can be very expensive and plant care can lead to additional costs. Therefore, coffee grounds are the best option. You can simply use leftovers and by doing so, you will reduce the cost of fertilizer and plant care.

When Is Coffee Harmful To The Potted Plants?


Turns out that not all plants like coffee and even more, it can be harmful to them too. Coffee increases water retention, therefore the soil gets moist.

So, it can not be used with plants that dislike moisture. Such plants are succulents and cacti, they prefer dry and aerial soil.

You should not put the coffee grounds directly into the potted plants. If you do so, it will stress the plant growth. When the coffee is added directly to the soil, it can cause the buildup of water and will create a good environment for unwanted fungus.

If you put the coffee directly in the soil, it can affect the soil pH. Coffee grounds are slightly acidic and therefore, can result in an imbalance of pH.

Acidity is not a problem when the coffee is added properly.

It is important to let your pets near the indoor garden or potted plants with coffee grounds. Caffeine is toxic for cats and dogs.

Therefore, If it gets consumed by either of them, they can get very sick.

How to Use Coffee As A Fertilizer?

One of the best ways to use coffee for plants is by composting. For the best benefits, you can compost the coffee grounds and turn them into fertilizer.

Generally, “greens” and “browns” are used for composting with a 3:1 ratio.

Coffee grounds and filter paper are considered to be “brown” and can be a great addition.

You can put all materials in the bin or pile and give them some time to break down. The received compost can be mixed with the regular potting soil and garden soil too.

The second way is using the coffee in the potting mix. Since adding coffee directly to the plant can be harmful, if it is mixed with the potting soil, then a great quality base will be received. Also, carefully choose the elements that are mixed in the potting soil, so everything can be balanced.

You can also use coffee as a fertilizer. To do so, you can take a liquid leftover coffee and do the mixture. Put together 1 part of coffee with 3 parts of tap water and there we go, you have a liquid fertilizer.

Remember, that this will be acidic fertilizer and will result in lowering pH in the soil. Some plants may not like acidic soil. However, for example, African Violets will enjoy it.

Remember to never use coffee that has some additions such as milk. When using coffee with additives such as creams, syrups, or even sugar, it can lead to mold, fungus, and even kill the plant. You will have to only use plain black coffee.

What Plants Like Coffee Grounds Indoors?

It is clear that some plants like coffee as a fertilizer and some don’t. Giving it to the wrong plant is the most common mistake that people make. Some houseplants that are enjoying coffee the most are listed above and if you have them, you already know what to do.

  • Philodendron likes coffee but not too much. So, coffee can be considered a rare treat for them.
  • Peace Lilies happily accept the coffee as a fertilizer. They like the acidity that coffee provides and will be glad to receive all the nutrition that coffee grounds offer.
  • Cyclamens are beautiful flowers that come in different colors and it turns out that they will welcome coffee grounds once in a while.
  • Oh, beautiful Jade plants, also known as money or lucky plants. They are considered to be succulents and once in a while, sprout beautiful little flowers. If you give them soil every 6 to 12 months that contains coffee grounds, they will be extremely glad.
  • Golden Pothos love coffee, this is because it belongs to the Araceae family and well, they enjoy this brown fertilizer. Those plants are very hardy and can withstand low light conditions too. If you provide them with some coffee once in a while, they will eventually thrive.
  • Miniature Roses are considered to be a perfect houseplant. They are lovely, elegant, and easy to care for. Miniature Roses love nitrogen and acid, therefore if you use coffee grounds as a plant base or if you give them liquid coffee, the plant will perk up.

The Verdict

Coffee can be good for potted plants. And some plant lovers use coffee in their potted plant care for many different reasons.

Coffee can be beneficial and is a source of nitrogen and micronutrients. It can be found in any household and is easily available. Plus, by using coffee as a fertilizer, you will help the plant and participate in reducing environmental pollution by reusing the “garbage”.

After reading this article, you already know how to use coffee in plant care without worry. Therefore, you can try it out and make your green friends thrive. 

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Peride Beradze
Peride is an avid planter, Tour Manager and freelance writer. She is a plant collector who mainly focuses on succulents. She loves studying cultures, traveling and learning new languages.

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