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Coffee Grounds Perk Up Soil and Plants

Coffee Grounds Perk Up Soil and Plants

What to do with your coffee grounds? You can use them straight up as mulch on plants that love an acid soil (azaleas or blueberries anyone?), in potting soil and more. Here are five ideas for using coffee grounds and more:

Coffee grounds have long been a favorite addition to compost piles. But did you know that they are also an excellent amendment to potting soil? They’re lightweight, porous, high in organic matter and attractively dark. Plus, if your soil is alkaline, their natural acidity helps balance the pH. A good source of used grounds is your local coffee shop, where they’re usually happy to give them away.

You’ll be surprised at all the other uses you can find for them.

Grounds make a dark, attractive mulch around acid-loving plants, such as azaleas, hydrangeas, hollies, and blueberries.

Slugs don’t like caffeine, so a mulch of coffee grounds, which retain much of the chemical, will help keep the slugs away from your hostas and other vulnerable plants. Just be sure to spread the coffee grounds no more than 1 inch deep around the plants. In cool, moist weather, an unsightly but harmless mold can form on the mulch.

Keep grounds on hand for mixing into potting soil. Spread them out on newspaper for a day or so to dry then store them in a plastic bag.

If you have grounds from only a pot or two of coffee, add a spoonful or two to houseplants and a cup or two to larger container plantings. Work the grounds lightly into the soil.

Put a paper filter full of coffee grounds in the bottom of a plant container or planting hole to nourish new plants.

Read more: Home, Lawns & Gardens

Adapted from Yankee Magazine's Panty Hose, Hot Peppers, Tea Bags and more for the Garden: 1,001 Ingenious Ways to Use Common Household Items to Control Weeds, Beat Pests, Cook Compost, Solve Problems, Make Tricky Jobs Easy, and Save Time (Yankee Books, 2005).

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Jana Ballinger

Jana Ballinger has more than 15 years of experience as a writer and copy editor for daily newspapers. She lives in a vintage house in Northern California with her husband and an orange cat.


+ add your own
4:15PM PDT on Apr 20, 2013

Thanks for the tips! Starbucks gives away bags of coffee grounds, and my azaleas love them!

12:21AM PDT on Apr 12, 2013

These are wonderful tips! It is a wonderful natural fertiliser for our home garden
Thank you for this useful and informative article..

9:37PM PDT on Apr 11, 2013

Yes! I always mixed it in the soil for my plants!

And it does a wonderful job in keeping many lovely and mischievous cats from urinating on my plants

5:08AM PDT on Apr 10, 2013


8:03PM PDT on Mar 20, 2013

thank you

10:42AM PDT on Mar 20, 2013

Thank you.

6:13AM PDT on Mar 18, 2013

nicely explained
thanks :)

2:33AM PDT on Mar 17, 2013

Thanks for sharing

5:50AM PDT on Mar 16, 2013

Thanks , I water with left over coffee to .

5:32AM PDT on Mar 15, 2013

My gardens get a fair bit, given my known coffee consumption! :-)

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