Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Now what?

I've always heard rumors that certain plants (blueberries?) are "caffeine freaks" and thrive when coffee grounds are added around them. So last month I started saving all our used coffee grounds and tea leaves in a separate compost bowl.

The bowl is now full and I'm ready to do something with it.

But what? How do coffee and tea grounds work for plants?

I've read a variety of things online, but they seem to contradict. Some say the grounds need to be composted. Others say they should be just added around the plant base without composting. Yet others say to mix the grounds with sawdust (for acid-loving plants) and mulch.

So, since the collective wisdom of my readers far exceeds the wisdom of the internet (wink), what is your experience with using coffee and tea grounds on plants?


  1. I put them straight on the soil around the base of my rosebush and work them in a little bit. You could also put grounds into the holes you are planting the acid loving plants in.

  2. hmmm I would side dress the same as with compost or rabbit ;manure I think? I do not have experience with doing it though. I do add all my grounds to the compost pile

  3. I think you'll find that fertilizer effects of coffee has to do with it being a seed meal. People who want to make organic fertilizer typically use soybean, cotton, or other seed meal. Blueberry plants tend to prefer acidic soil which coffee offer.

    Hope this help,
    Lee M

    My experience using coffee grounds, especially for acid loving plants, has been quite favorable. Note Starbucks has a program called "grounds for gardens". You can ask for a bag of used grounds from your local store.

  4. I use the dry grounds without composting sprinkled around all my tender veggies to deter slugs and ants.
    Great posts, btw, I read daily but don't often comment. SJ in Vancouver BC Canada

  5. Since I have access to Starbucks, I get used coffee grounds from them, and use my own. I will side dress existing plants and work it in a little. I also add coffee grounds to planting holes. If I have any left, I add to my compost before mold sets in. Tomatoes love coffee too.

  6. I too just put them around the blueberries. Works VERY well!!

  7. I use coffee grounds all the time for my garden area. MOF, I go to Starbucks every morning and get a huge garbage sack of grounds! Not only do I love their coffee, but my gardens do as well. :)

  8. Any or all of the above. I give my blueberries a good heavy sprinkle all around them at least a couple times in the summer. And the coffee grounds did seem to help deter ants when I sprinkled them around the beds that seemed to be ant infested. The rest of the grounds we produce I just toss into the compost pile.

  9. i just dump the used grounds around the plants..usuallu just before a rain, if possable. i also mulch the blueberry plants with pine needles for long term, slow acting acid boosting.

  10. I sprinkle them directly around the plants, Patrice. For example. I sprinkle coffee ground right around my strawberry plants for two reasons. Strawberries like acidic soil and it also deters slugs, which are a problem here. The grounds will decompose on their own. In the winter, I empty our coffee grounds all around the garden, along with wood ashes, and manure from the barn and chicken house. Then it is all tilled under in the spring. Hope this helps.


  11. Yep --- me too. I toss them right on the ground around the plants. And I add them to the compost, too.

    I didn't know that about strawberries, though. Pays to read all the comments!

    Just Me

  12. I put them directly onto the soil around my acid-loving plants and trees.

    My first memory of re-used coffee grounds is from early childhood, when my Daddy taught me to put them in a particular place where the soil was fairly soft. This ensured we always had a good worm bed so that when it came time to go fishing we always had plenty of bait. It worked like a charm.

    A. McSp

    1. And some revved up, super wiggly worms!

      Steve Davis
      Anchorage, Alaska

  13. For really happy plants you also need to include some cream and sugar. Who really drinks black coffee?

  14. I keep and old coffee can by the coffee maker and dump the grounds and egg shells in. During the winter when the can is full ( or smelling bad) I sprinkle them on top of the snow and crush the egg shells when I walk around. They all get tilled in, in the spring. During the summer/ fall I put them in the compost pile to rot. I am not sure all this actually helps, but how can anything organic be bad for a garden?

    Carl in the UP

  15. In my youth, my mother kept about thirty blueberry bushes near the side of our house. We had a standing arrangement with a local coffee shop to haul off their grounds. We spread it directly on top of the soil and let nature take care of the rest. Fantastic, delicious blueberries resulted. We had to cover the plants in netting to keep the birds off.

  16. I have been putting coffee grounds around plants and mixing it with the soil, we also put it into our compost bin, very good results last year. During the winter I put left over coffee on my house plants, they reponded very well...My cactus blooms contantly now, other plants are very healthy.

  17. I also use leftover coffee for my houseplants, they have done much better, are full and blooming. I also use grounds for my outside plants, we also put them in our composter for our garden.

  18. Patrice, I saw this blog post and immediately thought of you and your question about using coffee grounds! These folks happen to be local to me, and their blog is a great resource for farming/gardening in my climate and soil. I hope you find it helpful. I'm not trying to spam here, the article is here:

    and you can find them on FB and google their website under Old World Garden