Using Coffee Grounds for Gardening | Guide on Correct Uses

Using coffee grounds for gardening really helps? If yes, what are the correct ways to use coffee grounds in the garden? Read this educative article for complete details.

coffee grounds for plantsThe next time you finish your morning coffee, think twice before you dump the grounds. Coffee grounds can do magic in your garden, not necessarily in the ways you would expect. They do not provide abundant nitrogen and do not lower soil pH much. But they can enrich your garden soil, compost pile and help in other ways.

Increases Plant Nutrition

Coffee grounds contain 2% of nitrogen, but plants can not use this until it breaks down. As these grounds decompose, the low nitrogen level in them acts as a long-acting fertilizer.
Coffee grounds also provide a healthy and slight dose of other basic nutrients like phosphorus and potassium, secondary nutrients like magnesium and copper of which potassium, magnesium and copper portions are used by plants right away.
Coffee grounds also contain calcium, manganese, zinc and iron, but the level of these nutrients is too low to have an effect on plant’s growth.

Coffee Grounds in Soil

used coffee grounds in gardenCoffee grounds have long been bragged to lower the soil pH, but most of their acidity goes straight from beans to brew. Laboratory analysis shows that they are slightly acidic to neutral and make a minor to no impact on soil pH.

But who cares about the acidity, coffee grounds improve soil structure directly and in no time. Poor Soil, low in organic matter benefits from scratch when coffee grounds are applied.

Coffee grounds in the soil also improve the seed germination and growth of the plant. What is more advantageous is that they prevent soil borne diseases like wilts, fungal rots, and some bacterial pathogens.

Coffee Grounds Compost

If you’re about to add coffee grounds to your compost piles, restrict it to the range of 20 to 25 percent only, higher levels than this can suppress beneficial microorganisms, so do not overdo it. Balance your compost with other organic materials: the residue of grass clippings, dry leaves or similar composting materials.

Coffee Grounds Mulching

Coffee ground mulching is becoming popular, because of the claims that they deter pests and pets away, prevent weeds and aerate the soil.
But you should know, coffee grounds are fine in texture and their use as mulch works best only in combination with coarse organic mulches. If used alone, in a thick layer, coffee grounds can dry and compact the soil and keep moisture out, not in. Instead of getting the benefit you’ll harm your plants.

To use them for mulching, always put thin, half-inch layer of coffee grounds with a layer of coarsely textured organic materials. Leaves, compost or barks, and twigs work to form a layer of mulch, favorable and permeable.

*If you find yourself short on used coffee grounds, ask your nearby coffee shops, they’ll give you this for free.

Also Read: Epsom salt uses in garden

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Using coffee grounds for gardening really helps? If yes, what are the correct ways to use coffee grounds in garden? Read this educative article for complete details.


  1. I’ve read many references about using coffee grounds, and virtually all say to use only thin layers. Well, I’ve been gradually increasing the amount I apply at a time, and I’m finding no harm from putting down layers up to six inches deep.

    What happens when I do this? Well, there’s a certain odd fly that seems very attracted to the scent of the fresh grounds, and they also lay eggs in it. The larvae are unseen except after a heavy rain, when they jump around on the surface. But no matter — they’re turning the grounds into fertilizer. And the flies themselves are like candy for the local birds, which are always hunting in my garden.

    As to the grounds drying and blocking water, well, this is only partly true. Yes, they will dry to a sort of crust. But if you apply a thick layer, that crust breaks and forms cracks, and water drains right through down to the soil below. When I water with the hose, puddles don’t form — water goes straight down, as if I mulched with gravel. Below the layer of coffee grounds the soil stays moist for a long time. And it’s teeming with earthworms and other organisms.

    I collect a garbage can full of used coffee grounds from Starbucks every day. I bought two cans, left one there, and returned the next day to swap them out. I dump the can into a wheelbarrow to pull out the filters — which go into the compost heap — and scoop the grounds into a bucket to carry to where the garden needs some. I keep going until there’s snow covering the garden, and resume when it melts in late Winter. It takes me about 3-4 months to make the rounds through the whole garden, and then I go back and start at the beginning again. My beds are raised, but I filled them with composted shredded tree mulch as a base rather than topsoil. And then I started collecting the coffee grounds to fill as the mulch settled and broke down.

  2. I thought I heard that they are good as an organic slug repellent .if you scatter them around the this true?

  3. How do I store leftover coffee grounds that I got from Starbucks. They gave me more than I could use for the time being. Maybe the refrigerator?

    • Compost Pile, Coffee grounds are better if composted as noted in the beginning of the article. They also repel rats and other pests that will scavenge your compost pile for food scraps. Will repel moles that will eat your worms. Feed the worms and they will produce worm castings, another super soil amendment. Worms in your compost pile is a sure sign of a successful compost pile!


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