How to Reuse Coffee Grounds for Your Plants

National Coffee Day is here and our minds are on our favorite cup of joe - and how we can use it to help our plants, too.

How to Reuse Coffee Grounds for Your Plants

Words by The Sill

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National Coffee Day is here and our minds are on our favorite cup of joe - and how we can use it to help our plants, too.

If you’re a coffee drinker, there’s one day each year to honor your favorite morning drink: National Coffee Day. And if you’re whipping up some espresso or making a pot of your favorite brew to celebrate, you might want to hold onto your coffee grounds, because they can help your indoor jungle. 

Recycling and reusing your coffee grounds is an easy, effective way to impact your plants at home, because it’s a common form of waste and repurposing it can help reduce the amount of waste you have at home overall.

Ready to get reusing? Follow along for our recommendations and insights on how to give your coffee grounds a second life. 

up close image of coffee beans

1. Using Fresh Grounds vs. Used Grounds

There are two types of grounds to consider for use with your plants: fresh coffee grounds or used coffee grounds. Fresh grounds are ground-up coffee beans that haven’t been used to brew coffee, while used coffee grounds are what’s left over after your coffee has been made. 

When caring for your plants, we generally recommend sticking with used coffee grounds because fresh grounds are high in acidity and caffeine. Fresh grounds, however, can be a good option for acidity-loving plants like Hydrangeas, Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Lily of the Valley, blueberries, carrots and radishes. 

2. Using Coffee Grounds as Compost

When it comes to plants and coffee grounds, there’s can be a lot of conflicting information online, but we want to make it simple: we recommend using coffee grounds for compost first and foremost. 

To get started, add coffee grounds to your compost pile, which usually consists of vegetable peels, fruit skins and other types of natural waste. From there, you can mix a small amount of that compost in with your potting soil. 

Be sure to avoid using excessive amounts of compost or coffee grounds in your soil because the acidity of coffee grounds can lead to foliage burn and nutrient toxicity. When it comes to compost, a little goes a long way - it is already filled with rich, organic matter and will naturally retain water, helping to prevent overwatering. 

3. Using Coffee Grounds as a Fertilizer

If you want to use coffee grounds in your potting soil, they will serve as a homemade fertilizer. The key here is to dilute the coffee grounds before you add it to any soil, just as you would dilute fertilizer. We recommend using about a teaspoon of coffee grounds per gallon of water and adding it to a small container. 

Stir the coffee grounds and water mixture for a few nights until it is fully diluted. When you are ready to use your fertilizer, you can strain the liquid through a cheesecloth and use it to water your plants. 

4. Using Leftover Grounds at Home

If you still have leftover grounds (especially if you’re in a caffeine-loving home), you can also use them to create a natural cleaning scrub or skin exfoliator. Your skin and your plants will thank you. 

In need of some new plant friends? We might know what plant you would like based on the type of coffee you like to drink.

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