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8 Ways to Use Coffee Grounds For Plants and Your Garden

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 8 Ways to Use Coffee Grounds in Your Garden

If you are keen on organic gardening, used coffee grounds can benefit your garden in many ways. You can use it as mulch, fertilizer for some plants, a natural pesticide, and more.

Below, we’ll expand on these and other common uses for coffee grounds in the garden.

1. Add to Compost

The compost should have an equal amount of green and brown organic materials [1]. Although coffee grounds appear brown, they are classified as green material. This is because they contain nitrogen.

Add in used coffee grounds and other green materials like grass clippings. However, you should also put in brown items like newspapers and dead leaves.

To compost coffee grounds, throw them in your compost bin and mix them well. And as mentioned, be sure to balance it with some brown compost material.

A good measurement is to put in one-third of the coffee grounds with the same amount of grass clipping and dried leaves.

Coffee filters can go in the compost too, and it might be an idea to ask the local coffee shop or café for any leftovers. Coffee grounds will enrich the compost with nitrogen.

2. Fertilize with Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds are good for your acid-loving plants, in that you can use them to fertilize the soil around them.

To use coffee grounds as fertilizer, sprinkle them on the soil around plant roots and leave them there.

Alternatively, make coffee ground “tea” by adding two cups of used coffee grounds to five gallons of water. Leave it to steep in the water overnight. Finally, use the solution as a liquid fertilizer for your plants.

3. Keep Away Slugs and Snails

Coffee grounds make a great natural repellent for slugs and snails because of their abrasive texture and unpleasant smell. However, a caffeine solution with 1-2% caffeine works better as it will kill them.

To use coffee grounds as a slug repellent, sprinkle some on the soil around the affected plants. You can also make a caffeine spray from freshly brewed coffee and spray it directly on the pests.

4. Cat Repellent

It is said that coffee grounds make excellent cat repellents. Cats dislike the smell of it. Therefore, sprinkling some in the areas they tend to use as litter trays may deter them.

Additionally, some gardeners find that adding lemon or orange peel to the mix works wonders. This is because cats hate the smell of citrus fruits.

Rabbits and squirrels are also thought to be repelled by coffee grounds, so this method is worth a try to protect your lettuce and other garden veggies.

5. Grow Mushrooms

Another way to use coffee grounds for gardening is to grow mushrooms. Growing mushrooms can be a tricky process. But Oyster mushrooms and shiitake mushrooms grow well on coffee grounds.

Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen, plus other nutrients like potassium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus [2]. Moreover, they have been sterilized naturally in the brewing process.

6. Add to Your Worm Bin

Unlike cats, slugs, and snails, worms just love coffee grounds.

They need some gritty food to help with digestion. So, coffee grounds in the vermicomposting bin are a great addition to helping earthworms thrive.

Add coffee grounds to your worm bin, doing so in moderation and being careful not to let it get too acidic. However, if that should happen, you can always add some crushed eggshells to moderate the soil’s acidity.

Moreover, you will also attract earthworms to the soil when the compost is added. The earthworms will, in turn, help improve soil structure after they’ve deposited what they’ve consumed deep into the soil.

7. Use as a Mulch

A popular use of coffee grounds is incorporating them directly into the vegetable garden or flower bed as mulch. Spread around the base of plants, they provide a nutrient-rich mulch.

Even so, it is best to add the grounds to other organic materials or compost to avoid clumping. Used coffee ground mulch can be particularly beneficial to acid-loving plants like azaleas, gardenias, rhododendrons, and some root veggies like carrots.

However, avoid using it on plants that do not like acidic soil.

8. Repel Ants

Coffee grounds repel ants rather than kill them. These common insects do not like the scent and acidity of the grounds.

Therefore, sprinkling some of it where the ants are and in your doorways will keep them away.

Plants That Like Coffee Grounds

Fruit trees and vegetables that benefit from coffee grounds include blueberries, carrots, elderberries, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and radishes.

Additionally, fresh (unbrewed) coffee grounds benefit other acid-loving plants greatly. It can be a boon for growing flowers and shrubs like zinnias, camelia, azaleas, rhododendrons, and hydrangeas.

Furthermore, some houseplants and potted plants also benefit from it when used as mulch, pesticide, or fertilizer.


As you can see, there are many benefits to using coffee grounds in the garden. Tons get wasted every week, but how much better if they can be used in these ways to benefit plants?

Sasha Brown

Sasha Brown is a blogger and lover of all things natural.

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