Are coffee grinds good for plants? The one thing about percolating coffee is that it generates a whole lot of used coffee grounds. To me, using them in the garden is a better alternative to merely throwing them in the rubbish. But is it actually beneficial to plants and the soil?
The answer is both Yes and No.
It is no because, even though coffee grounds have some general benefits when applied on the plants, there are some plants that don’t do well in acidic soils, a condition of the soil that is enhanced by addition of coffee grounds.
On the other hand coffee grinds are excellent for some plants which thrive well under acidic soil conditions. Since coffee grounds exist in plenty, they can be applied on plants to improve productivity and quality of produce.
So what are the benefits of coffee ground to plants?
First, coffee grounds can be used as an excellent fertiliser. They contain several minerals which are important for the growth of plants. These minerals are nitrogen, magnesium, phosphorous, calcium and potassium.
Nitrogen which is supplied in plenty from these grounds is particularly helpful in vegetable and plant growth. For example, tomatoes thrive well on nitrogen hence benefit hugely from coffee grounds. Being acidic, these grounds hasten the growth of plants that do well under acidic conditions like roses, blueberries, evergreens and tomatoes.
Coffee grounds can be used as a pesticide.
When used as a mulching agent, they deter flower and veggie munching slugs and snails. Snails don’t like crossing barriers made by coffee grounds since the grounds are sharp and thus can easily penetrate their bodies. Though not proven yet, it is said that the grounds also deter certain ants.
Another reason for using coffee grounds on plants is that they increase and maintain the population of earthworms. The grounds are a source of nutrients for the worms. As the worms increase the soil is aerated more. The worms’ droppings also improve the fertility of the soil. The end result of worm presence and action is improvement of soil structure and nutrients hence increased plant growth.
Choose the right plants
The grounds can make good mulching agents but caution must be taken to ensure that they are applied only to plants that do well under acidic conditions. Another benefit that goes hand in hand with mulching is using the grounds for aesthetic purposes. They can be used to make beautiful and elegant black borders around your flowers in the flower garden. The rich blackness of the grounds gives a beautiful contrast to the colored flowers and the green herbs.
For the best result when using grounds as a mulch and for making borders, the coffee grounds must be mixed with other forms of organic mulch, otherwise they tend to form a rich sludge when used alone. This sludge can prevent entry of air and water into the soil.
Coffee grounds can be used as a good compost additive.
They help in attaining and keeping ideal compost temperatures. This makes the compost to stay free from very harmful pathogens that may affect delicate seedlings later on after transplanting using the organic manure from the compost. A nitrogen rich soil is possible to create by using manure from compost on which coffee grounds were added.
Coffee grounds have many advantages to plants. In order to realize these benefits, you need to apply the grounds on the plants that can do well under acidic conditions. The best grounds to use are the fresh and organic. You should not use grounds that have rotted or fermented.