Coffee Grounds for garden

by donnie, coffee man 

Are coffee grounds good for anything, if so what for? Are there any nutritional values for soil or other things.


Megan says...
Coffee grounds for the garden are simply great.
I put all coffee bean grounds I have into kitchen scrap bucket which then goes into compost or just tipped onto a patch on the ground and covered with no dig layers then planted with plants.
Worms like coffee grounds, so this encourages the worms into activity thus aerating the soil and providing oxygen to plant roots and incorporating nutrients into the soil.

In a beanshell, coffee grounds are acidic, so sprinkle around lemon trees and all acid loving plants, such as berries (strawberries, blueberries etc), spuds, and some of the ornamentals like roses, camellias and azaleas.
If in doubt about which plants benefit from coffee grounds, put them into compost or smaller doses into worm farm, and they will be incorporated quickly into a balanced, nitrogen rich compost to put on the whole garden. They also contain other essential plant nutrients like magnesium and calcium.

If you can get coffee grounds from a local cafe, grab them - your compost can take an almost unlimited amounted added in thick layers between coarser materials. 
Some people sprinkle around snail and slug prone plants, especially if mixed with crushed egg shells or sawdust, to deter these slithering pests.

Comments for
Coffee Grounds for garden

Click here to add your own comments

Feb 14, 2010
Coffee grounds in winter? 
by: hotchaiguy

Last year was my first time putting this into my compost and sprinkling amidst my veggies. So I am not aware of the benefits so far. I have been gathering Starbucks grounds a bit this winter in Indiana and layering it on top of the kitchen scraps I put them on top of my compost. This is the first time we have made the effort to shovel a path to the bin during a winter. I had risked my body a few times as I slipped and fell in the garden, but I racked this up to my desire to be one with my garden. Ha! I have cleared a longer safe route to the bins now. These scraps are more appearant during the snowy months and am using the grounds to cover them. Seems that these cause a melting of the snow beneath. I wonder if any decay will insue during winter? Any one doing this , too?

Mar 11, 2010
Me Too 
by: DBHughes

I have been using my own coffee grounds (with the filter) to add the compost bin along with the veg. peelings, egg shells/cartons, P towels etc. The Starbucks grounds go either directly on to my front lawn or into the compost bin. Don't know how much good I am doing the lawn but, it sure smells great in the morning!

Mar 27, 2010
Slug Control 
by: Dana

I collect bagged grounds from Starbucks and spread them around my lettuce transplants. Before this, the slugs were eating them to the ground. Now, the grounds keep the slugs away (the residual caffeine is fatal to them). I do have to refresh with new grounds every week or so to maintain effectiveness. The greens seem to love it.

May 09, 2010
Plants Like Drinking Coffee Too 
by: Connie

I'd just add that old brewed coffee is good for use in watering types of plants that like acidic soil. I have been using coffee exclusively to water my hydrangea. It is doing very well.

Aug 08, 2010
Are coffee grounds ever harmful or null?
by: University Horticulturist

You who are so free with your comments are like all other amateur gardeners. You try something and if your plants perform well, you give it a thumbs-up. If it fails, we never hear from you. Could your success be due to other factors? To validate your findings, do some real research. Make the use of coffee grounds the only variable in a comparative test involving significant number of subjects. Otherwise, please refrain from propagating baseless and untested outcomems.

Oct 11, 2010
Uppity Commenter 
by: Loves Roses

We are free to input our experiences. If twenty or more persons share similar experiences and results, I find it notable. I am allowed to do this. Further, this year I had an amazing amount of roses from my 12 rose bushes - more than ever. It is also the first time I dumped coffee grounds into their soil. I did this because I listened to "baseless" input from a stranger at Starbucks speak of how roses liked the grounds. You may believe my comment baseless, but I believe my many roses are B.E.A.-UTIFUL!

Mar 18, 2011
Research Based Comments 
by: Anonymous

I am very much a scientific minded person but this is a friendly forum and people are meant to share their experience and that is what they are doing. They are not running a science experiment, they are saying what they contributed to their garden and what the results were, the more people who have the same results from the same actions must mean something, does it not? And if it doesn't, it doesn't hurt to share. We aren't professional gardeners, we enjoy trying new things with our own gardens, sharing the outcomes and trying out other peoples experiences for ourselves. It's fun!

Apr 27, 2011
To The University Horticulturist 
by: Hollywood Voltaire

I came here to read opinions. This is the 3rd site that I have visited to see what other people think about coffee in the garden. Telling people to shut up if they aren't experts or have not based their opinions on scientific methods is just plain rude. I notice that you offer no opinion either positive or negative. Do your scientific research and publish the results and I would be happy to read about it. Until then, play nicely or don't play at all.

May 11, 2011
Used coffee grounds deter flies 
by: Kit, from the outback

Done an experiment, well in a way. I have a number of compost piles and bins all in various stages of filling and decaying. 

As I was filling up 2 large plastic bins with scraps and garden cuttings/weeds etc, I topped each layer IN ONE BIN ONLY with a good shovel full of these used coffee grounds which we got in town by the sack full in our ute. This compost bin stayed free of those midges and flies which the other bin had hoards of inside. Also the coffee compost bin had more worms and activity down in the middle and below too. Both bins are about 2 thirds full at the moment so haven't heated up yet. 

I'm impressed! Can you hear me doin' the Java Jive. 

Jun 07, 2011
Doing a Test. 
by: Dean

I've plotted 4 strawberry plants, and I'm using coffee grounds on two of them as mulch. It's only been a week, but the ones with grounds are already bigger and have more flowers. We'll see if this trend continues. 
I've also just put some grounds on one of my cucumber plants and one of my radish plants. 
I'm also going to add some of the grounds when I'm making my compost tea, and use it only on the ones with grounds already on them. I'm quite curious to see the difference, if any.

Jul 29, 2011
by: Dean

Ok, I'm sold on coffee grounds as mulch. Every plant that has the coffee grounds and has had the tea used on it are producing far better than those that don't. The cucumber plant with the grounds is producing more cukes than I ever though possible. The strawberry plants with the grounds are producing more berries and have not had any pest problems, where the others have. 
I will be using coffee grounds as mulch from now on, on everything. Happy gardening!!!

Aug 04, 2011
junior scientist prove coffee as slug repellent 
by: swissgardener

To University Horticulturalist: 
As a scientist, I should expect you would share my curiosity about coffee grounds and conduct an experminent. 
Pupil scientists in Germany have done this. As part of a national junior science competition, they have tested several "home remedies" for slug repelling and coffee grounds have come out top. 
I'm ready for one to give it a try in situ!

Aug 04, 2011
Grounds for Slugs 
by: Anonymous

I am thrilled to hear that coffee grounds help get rid of slugs. I am having a terrible problem with slugs getting into my cabbage this yr. Now my question is.. will the grounds affect the taste of our veggies?? 


Aug 04, 2011
by: maliasgarden

I have been using coffee on my compost for years I get more worms they help to break down the compost it works also to keep slugs off your plants...

Aug 04, 2011
The Java Effect... 
by: Sonia

I too add my coffee grounds to the little 'compost bucket' I keep in my kitchen. I also add any egg shells, used tea bags, parings, peelings and veggie discards.... (also empty cardboard cores of toilet tissue rolls and I don't use paper towels any longer but when I did I would add them to the bucket and also the cut up core) and at the end of the day, the bucket gets emptied on my compost pile. The worms go crazy! I also use any coffee leftover in the pot, add a bit more water and empty it around some of my plants as a weak tea....they love it!

Aug 08, 2011
Coffee grind 
by: Anonymous

I have been using coffee grind for one year on my bougainvillas and ibiscus. I have never seen more beautiful flowers before. There must be some truth in the use of coffee grind.

Mar 05, 2012
Coffee in the garden? YES! 
by: Robert Bradford

One question that appears on almost every garden blog and list or book is the advisability of using coffee and coffee grounds in the garden. The quick answer is it is much better if you have a bench to sit on, admire your work and set the cup on when empty. Seriously, coffee grounds are great in the garden. Those with alkaline soils can use it wholesale while the rest of us are better off adding it to the compost. We employed a flock of chickens to work our compost and in six months they have it ready to plant and call garden. We add scraps daily and trust them to eat only those things that are good for them (a skill lost by humans). There are some plants like azalea and rhododendron that require acidic soil that you can mulch heavily with grounds. A quick web search can give you the cultural requirements of most plants. For months I fussed at my wife for throwing out the ounce of cold coffee left in a cup or the quarter cup left in a pot. She has now been trained to give it to house plants or at least look to see if I am watching. 

Bottom line, coffee grounds are great. They are slightly acidic but composting changes most materials closer to neutral. Both gardens and chickens love worms and worms love coffee.

Apr 10, 2012
coffee ground NEW
by: Anonymous

I have not tried it yet, but know of people who, very successfully, grow mushrooms on coffee ground. I going to experiment as soon as I can find what is required to start growing mushrooms and write about it.

Apr 12, 2012
Winter Composting NEW
by: David Hughes

Just learned in my Master Copmposter class that the bacteria active in composting go to sleep below 50 degrees. That being said, if you have a compost pile with sufficient mass to maintain an internal temperature above this (and adequate moistures and food) stuff keeps breaking down, releasing more heat, etc. Coffee grounds are a great and free source of nitrogen. My worms love them too!

Click here to add your own comments