Coffee Grounds in the Garden: Friend or Foe?

Coffee Grounds in the Garden

Updated 4/19/2012:

I am addicted to using coffee grounds in the garden.   Every week, I am a regular at the coffee ground bin at Starbucks.   I feel like I am at Cheers and everyone knows my name.  (Oh, come on, you remember Norm.)

Just to give you some background,  my sickly roses miraculous perked up after a round of coffee grounds.  And the love affair began.   But, I began to worry that my new found obsession may not be the best idea for my plants.  Sometimes a good thing can be too much.  (How many of you saw Fatal Attraction?)

I was afraid I would have to quit cold turkey after my  friend told me to be careful.  She said I should not  give the plants too much coffee grounds.  What happens if she was right? (*Gasp*)  How much is too much?

Searching for the Coffee Grounds Guidelines

I started to dig (sorry about the pun) to find if there was a university study on the effects of coffee grounds on plants.   At first blush, I only found articles written from gardeners or DIY’er reporting the same things I knew. No one seemed to answer the question of “how much.”  The research was quite frustrating.

All, I wanted to know could I use coffee grounds in the garden. Is that too much to ask?

Gardens Alive Takes on Coffee Grounds and Plants

I stumbled upon an article on Gardens Alive answering a question from someone in New Jersey asking the effects of coffee grounds on plants.  (And no, this wasn’t my question.)

Gardens Alive had coffee grounds tested by Will Brinton, founder and Director of the Wood’s End Research Laboratoryin Maine. He found the grounds were too acidic, even for acidic loving plants.  He also cautioned the grounds should not be added to the soil in raw form.  However, he did like them for compost.

“Will liked my [Garden’s Alive] suggestion of four parts shredded leaves to one part grounds by weight, but adds that even having grounds make up 10% of a pile of otherwise shredded leaves would create great compost.”

Well, that article definitely was a downer for me.  (Okay, it was a kill joy.)   It seemed that I can only use the grounds for composting.

To add to the confusion, another gardening article I read called coffee grounds “brown matter.” Boy was I confused.  So, if I followed Gardens Alive’s advice to add leaves to my coffee grounds, would I have to supplement with more “green” material for my compost?

This can’t be this complicated.

Rodale Institutes’ Respond to the Coffee Grounds Dilemma

I reached out for  Rodale Institute since it was more likely they would have an answer for me.  (If the name, Rodale Institute, sounds familiar to you, it is because many of you may know the name through the magazine, Organic Gardening, one of my favorite gardening magazines.)

Luckily I connected with Dr. Paul Hepperly, the research and training manager at the Institute, who  is a well known authority in organic agriculture.  Surely, he would know.  (Fingers crossed.)   He explained that once the coffee grounds are added to the soil, they start to decompose, and in turn, their acidity neutralizes.  Ultimately,  they are only adding nitrogen to the soil.

Best Practices for the Use of Coffee Grounds in the Garden

His suggestion was to side dress the plant with no more than one inch at a time. He further caution  to not add more grounds until the original grounds had decomposed. Coffee grounds are solely a soil amendment and not a fertilizer.

He further explained that soil should have an organic matter of five to eight percent. At some point, there is a diminishing return if you keep adding coffee grounds, and you soil has already reached the eight percent threshold of organic material. It will not hurt the soil, but may not help much at that point. It is best to take a soil sample during the year to see what your soil needs.

As for compost, he suggested one volume green material to three volumes of brown. Coffee grounds are viewed as “green” material.  (Whew.  I was relieved that this matter was settled.)

What about using coffee grounds for composting?  Read on  my final segment on using coffee grounds for compost.

Don’t forget to check out all of my other gardening posts!  If you are here reading about coffee for your plants, you must love to garden.

Join the Conversation:

  • Have you used coffee grounds in your garden?  If so, what was the result?
  • Have you put coffee grounds in your composter?  If so, what was the result?
  • Do you think the grounds are too acidic and don’t use the grounds in your garden?
  • What common household item do you use in your garden?

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  1. 1


    Excellent Blog! I didn’t know about coffee grounds! How about that and go “Starbucks” for being ready for you! Great blog and information!

  2. 2

    Green Talk says

    Thanks, Melanie. Readers check out Melanie’s blog. Here’s how she describes her blog,

    “Be Thrifty in CREATIVE ways with my Blog!
    I love saving money or finding a way NOT to WASTE!I try to figure out a way to use, sell or creatively not toss items!”

    A woman and mom after my own heart. Melanie, if you find a great tip on how to save money and be creative, please contact me so I can put it on Green Talk. Welcome to the community and visit again.

    Before I forget, readers, you could probably ask any coffee house or restaurant to save the coffee grounds for you and do the same thing I did with the grounds. Even use your own too!

  3. 3


    Thank you Green Talk! I do love your blog and I will be looking for ideas for my household on your site! I truly love to find ways to save money, and the green way interests me most! I find myself speaking “green” to my students (I am an Art Teacher to Elementary kids). And I am sure you know, Art of many types can easily recycle so much, creating masterpieces rather than Landfill Trash/Waste! I am huge on that! I am always like, “think before you toss kids” Can Mrs. R use that? I ALWAYS find a use for nearly everything that a lot of people throw away. The Art Room is a great place for everyone to donate and know that it will go to good use. Items don’t have to “create” something necessarily…it could be a brush container, paint holder, storage, and of course the masterpieces as well! I could go on and on! LOL

    Great blog, I will frequent! Thank you for the compliments!

  4. 4

    Green Talk says

    Melanie-If you come up with some ideas for reusing items that would ordinarily go in the trash, I have started a category on Green Talk called Readers’ Reuse Tips. I am sure my readers would really enjoy any tips you have. Seems like you would have a lot from your art classes. Anna

    So many people do not realize they are being “green” when they reuse items. All it takes is a little creativity!

  5. 6


    I’ve been using coffee grounds in my compost for quite awhile. I think I first read about it in a Peace Corps manual some years ago… then again it could have been a Rodale book the Peace Corps had. Anyway it’s good stuff in moderation. I have discovered that I cannot put it in my compost pile, not because it doesn’t work, but because my dogs like to eat it… go figure.

    Ben Clark’s last blog post..HIV/AIDS articles of the week (11/30/07)

  6. 8

    Green Talk says

    Thanks so much for the mention on your site. I loved doing that article. As for starbucks, I am just waiting for them to start it up again for the spring. You should have seen my compost with the worms. I swear they did not get any sleep! My name by the way is Anna Hackman.

  7. 9


    What an outstanding article! I’ve been loving your site here (just found in a couple months ago), and stumbled on this post today. Talk about thorough coverage of a topic! Wow.

    I haven’t tried using them directly in the garden, but I have found that coffee grounds are an excellent addition to a worm composting system. That being said – moderation is definitely the key. Back when I was young and foolish I remember adding a lot at once, and ended up making my bins go sour pretty quickly.

    If you see a huge abundance of tiny white worms in the immediate vicinity of the grounds these are likely white worms (aka pot worms) – while harmless in a worm composting system, they generally are indicative of acidic conditions (not necessarily a bad thing since composting worms are highly tolerant of acidic conditions).

    I like mixing in egg shells (the more ground up the better) with my worm bin additions, since they can help to keep things balanced.


  8. 10

    Cora Judd says

    I used about1/3 used Starbucks espresso “pucks” 1/3 worm castings and 1/3 native soil (southern Cal – clayey, high mineral, high water retention) for virtually everything I planted in my “garden of Eden”, including hydrangeas, begonias, azaleas, roses aplenty, and more. Everything grows like gang busters!
    I’ve read that the acid converts to nitrogen and only about 2% of the nitrogen is continusously available because it breaks down so slowly. IOW-it’s hardly possible to overdo it. And since chemical fertilizers KILL the trillions of healthy microbes, fungi and bacteria in healthy soil, not to mention what it does to your butterflies and birds and ground water, coffee grounds and compost makes beautiful sense!

  9. 11


    coffee grounds on your soil also tends to keep cats away from digging there, but only for a few days till the smell wears off, then you can go again.

    • 13

      bloodyrich says

      I have a worm bin. I would say about 70% of what i compost is coffee grounds [worms LOVE it] 20% is crushed egg shells [glad to hear that may help balance acidity] & 10% plant material. Then i add shredded paper or cardboard to balance the green. I also recently added a big batch of spent grains from home-brewing [and worms loved that] I say ‘love’ when i see massive increase in their #’s. If food good they mate & reproduce more than if no food or bad food..[ i assume. ]
      ALso, i drink beer & usually get it in re0useable growlers, so i don’t have to recycle bottles all the time- i rinse out & refill. When i rinse, i like to pour the first 2 fillings onto plant helping water them… seems to be ok. I figure it might help fungi growth?

  10. 14

    Alan Eisenberg says

    I saw a garden tv show and a lady was explaining vermiculture. The worms loved the coffee grounds from their company coffee brewer. Maybe those worms in”Men In Black” had something going. I do , in early spring , spread some around my roses and cranberry plants. They are fine.Good luck to you and—bottoms up!

  11. 15

    Green Talk says

    I have a ton of coffee around my roses this year but the beetles are just laughing at my coffee grounds. They are eatting my roses alive. Urg!

  12. 16

    Green Talk says

    Wasting, good idea about stale beer. You can also use it as traps for slugs too. Slugs don’t care if it is good beer or bad beer. They like the sugar. Put it a container near your plants. I hate slugs although I know they serve a purpose (somehow.) Check out my slug post on the site and you will see why I hate them so much. Anna

  13. 18

    Green Talk says

    Cora, Wow coffee and worm castings. The plants must love it. I guess this is like eating chocolate all day for us! Anna

  14. 19

    Green Talk says

    Compost Guy,

    I throw my egg shells in there too. I hate to admit this but I am a compost flunkee since I have been processing compost for about 2 year. I just keep throwing stuff in the composter (brown and green) and it goes down and I throw more in. My problem is I don’t keep it wet enough.

    Question for you. I have a terrible fly problem I think because I get delivered 20 yard of compost and I don’t move it quickly as well as big size garden. Do you think I am creating the problem? (ie flies breeding in my garden?) Anna

    • 20


      I used to do the same thing – keep adding to my compost tumbler, and I always had a half full bin of compost. Finally I asked someone at my local nursery, and they told me once it’s full to let it finish for approximately 60 days. In the meantime, I put my green and brown material in trash cans and let it start decomposing there. After the compost in my tumbler was finished, I had some partially decomposed material from my trash can to put in there which finished up a lot quicker than 60 days. Now I get a half full bin of compost every 6 weeks.

      There’s so many possibilities as to what could be causing the fly problem. Are you putting meat into your compost pile? This will definitely attract flies where they lay their eggs and then you have them forever. Where are you getting your compost from? How big is your garden? And can you get enough compost from your own house to use?

      Try bringing in a sample of your soil to your local reputable nursery for a soil test. A lot of nurseries will do this for free. They will tell you the N, P, and K in the soil as well as the PH. It’s possible that you have too much organic matter in your soil. I’m only guessing this because 20 yards of compost is a lot. How do your plants do? “If they’re doing good, then what are you worried about?” is what Bill (the gardening expert at my local nursery) told me.

      I don’t know where you’re from, but here in San Diego, they give compost away for free at the landfill if it’s self loaded ($12 a cubic yard if they load it for me.)

      • 21


        Kirby, my garden is 1/2 an acre with the fruit trees. However all my plants get a ring of compost. My open land is about 2 acres.

        I can’t make enough compost since I leave my lawn clipping on the lawn. I do have enough leaves though!!! I rarely put in meat or dairy.

        The compost I buy is from the county which is just grass and leaves. Mine costs $17 delivered. Is it possible the flies are coming from the mulch? Anna

  15. 23

    Alan Eisenberg says

    By the way my friendly worm population loves, yes loves,the slug beer traps. They don’t drown in it but stretch from their holes to party.

  16. 24

    Green Talk says

    So is this a good idea to have beer traps with worms and the slugs? Hey, worm can have a good time too. Anna

  17. 25


    hi Green Talk,
    Man, you write long posts!
    But thanks. I found you on google. I’m wondering about using coffee grounds in my garden instead of tossing them. I’m still not sure, but I feel I know a lot more! Steve Booth
    PS. I’ve always wondered about the Starbucks bags. I’m surprised there’s not more info out there, but it seems like you found all that there is.

    • 26

      Green Talk says

      Steve, I do write post because I want my readers to be able to make an informed decision about whatever I am writing about.

      All you have to do is get some coffee grounds and sprinkle them around your plants or put it in the compost. It’s easy and smells great. Anna

  18. 27

    Roxanne says

    Grounds are great for roses,compost and your worm bin.I have used grounds for a couple of years now and my roses are beautiful.I moved them a few weeks ago and added grounds to the soil as I replanted them.All of the plants are thriving……they are in a much better spot also.Roses also love banana peels.I recently read that you should dry them first,but I’m not sure why.I dry some and bury some fresh.
    I compost alot of stuff and believe that everyone should at least compost as much of their food scraps as possible.Sometimes,I just dig a small hole in a flower bed and bury a small amount of food scraps.It will rot and help amend the soil.
    Recycle,reduce and reuse.Three words that should be part of everyone’s vocabulary.We must do even more then we have before to slow down the absurd amount of waste in the world.
    I just discovered your blog and have added it to my favs.Keep up the good work.

    • 28

      Green Talk says

      Roxanne, I have heard about banana peels and roses. I will be burying a few come this summer. Have you heard about egg shells and tomatoes? Anna

    • 29

      halelani says

      Coffee grounds have had a healing effect on my rose bush and they seem to repel diseases and pests: I can’t believe the difference they made to my disease-stressed and dying rose bush. The leaves are perfect as are the blooms. Coffee grounds must be the secret to growing exhibition and/or competition roses.

      Re banana peels: A gardener friend of mine recommended them for repelling ants. She used to wrap the peels around the stems. I never tried it, so I personally don’t know if it works.

  19. 31

    John P says

    Great blog post! I love learning about this online as gardening/landscaping are not only hobbies of mine but I actually do a little bit of work like that during the summer months as a second job. I appreciate your content in your blog and wish that you would keep up the good work :)

  20. 32


    I’ve been putting coffee grounds into a little compost pile I’m working on in my garden for the past month or so. I have to say it works remarkably well to add in other garden waste, dead plant material and organic material to the mix. My soil has gone from very clay like to moist and workable very fast. I’m even seeing tons of beneficial earth worms now.

  21. 34


    I’ve also been using coffee grounds for quite awhile and find they do attract the worms which is a good thing. I also use, on everything as well as my roses, a product called “Soilsoup” an organic aerobic compost tea made by . Not only does it work well for the soil (microbial activity) but if you use it to spray the foliage it helps with the rust and other assorted fungus problems you may have.

    • 35

      Green Talk says

      Viki, that is good to know since my roses always get rust. I wonder if it takes away powdery mildew too? Anna

  22. 36

    Jen says

    Can you use coffee grinds with house plants as well???
    I have an infestation of meally bugs on one of my plants. Thank goodness it was separate from all the other plants I have.
    I\’m just wondering if I could mix some coffee grinds in with fresh soil (how much should I use). I read somewhere that it kills meally bugs as well.

    • 37

      Green Talk says

      Jen, I just put my grounds right on top of the soil and water. Some plants love it more than others. I have a spider plant that loves coffee grounds.

      I don’t put a ton in the plant but just a smattering. Spread the wealth around your plants. I also throw it outside on my garden beds even when it is freezing out. Anna

  23. 39

    Rebecca says

    Hi Anna ,
    Just saw your posting on the beetles on your roses .
    Epson salts works great for roses .1/2 to part water in a gardner sprayer will do the trick. Its a good fertlizer as well.
    Good Luck

  24. 43


    Great post! I drink WAY to much coffee good way to put my addiction to good use :) Don’t tomatoes like acid soil? Would coffee ground rich compost be good for the tomato plants?

  25. 44

    ginny b says

    I loved all the info on coffee grounds to increase acidity in soil. Thanks. It was very helpful..

  26. 45

    Karla says

    I have been tossing my morning coffee AND grounds in my roses all season long for many, many years. I have an incredibly gorgeous bed of roses every year! An elderly friend told me of her “tossing her morning coffee and grounds out every morning, as her roses needed their morning coffee.” I have never since seen roses that could hold a candle to hers…except mine :) I will continue with the “morning brew” for glorious roses!

  27. 46

    Bill McCabe says

    Found your post and all the responses while researching use of coffee grounds as a soil amendment. We garden in Florida where the soil is very alkaline. and struggle to acidify it.have been using sulfur compounds, but those are only temporary. Sounds like direct application of the grounds along with my other amendments will help a lot. We read elsewhere that coffee grounds deter if not kill off slugs which are a major pest here. Have been trying that for the last year and it seems to work. Thanks Starbucks for allowing us to haul away your trash. Bill

    • 47

      Green Talk says

      Bill, coffee may deter slugs but if you read my slug post, it was proven that it does not kill them. Heck, if it works for you, then use it. Anna

  28. 48

    Rachel says

    Just wanted to chime in about coffee grounds, if you are on the west coast you can also get grounds from Peet’s Coffee and Tea most days. If it isn’t in the silver bags out front, just ask a cashier about it. They should be able to give you some or make arrangements to do so.
    I have a friend with a worm bin and he gives them coffee grounds and tea leaves, apparently they love it.
    About coffee on roses, I’ve heard that one needs to more careful about using the grounds on potted roses. My roses love them.
    Finally about compost, I’m a lazy composter (lazy in the sense of how I do it, not in doing it) and often simply have a hole or wired off area where I put kitchen and yard waste. It works, although it takes a bit longer.

  29. 51

    Lynn says

    Thanks for all the tips. I am using coffee grounds on the hydrangea.
    Does anyone know if tea leaves work as well? Perhaps a mixture of both coffee and tea???

  30. 53


    Great article thank you, anything that gets the message out there about coffee grounds for the garden, the better.
    I am running an initiative known as Ground to Ground to make better use of the tonnes of coffee grounds that are discarded each day, and have so far made use of 1.5 tonnes in my garden alone.
    I have been tracking progress in my blog, and invite you all to stop by for some practicable tips and advice in getting into it. We can all make a difference, and with many of us, make many small differences.

    Shane Genziuk
    Shane´s last blog post ..Ground to Ground in a suit!

    • 55

      Anna@Green Talk says

      Martin, I read the article. I actually have the same composter. Good luck in composting. It is so fun when you actually get compost. Anna

  31. 63


    Thanks for great post, I use coffee grounds during september to give my blueberries a bit of a boost, works like a charm!

  32. 65

    Bill says

    On coffee grounds, not sure if there is a bad side.I use them alot, when i say alot I mean alot. I cover all my beds with a couple of inches in the spring and then I cover that with wood mulch. Around my trees (apple,buckeye,hickory,oak,black walnut,pear,plum) I put about 4 inches thick and about a 20 inch diameter, they are all doing great.My compost bin is 16 foot by 8 foot and I put about 8 to 10 wheel barrows full in and about the same amount of horse manure and about 12 -14 wheel barrows full of fresh cut grass and lots (6-7 pick up loads 8 foot bed) of leaves along with kitchen scrapes along with hardwood ash from the fire place and I get enough egg shells from area restraunts to fill a five gallon buckets of finely chopped (almost dust, using a blender. And to top off the mix about 5 pounds of red worms. tasty. The only thing I dont put alot of grounds around is my roses,and they are the only thing that is not doing good.

  33. 67

    Bill says

    starbucks I stop at 4 of them every night and if someone else has not got them then I do. I start in dec in the snow and backoff in may so that everyone else can get them. I sort the trash and filters out in the winter and throw away and save the filters for a worm box in the early spring , and I am putting them in my compost. I am thinking of putting in a mushroom bed in my woods and useing the filters for that also.

  34. 73


    Took BedBugs advice and started sprinkling coffee grounds on my blackberry plant. I could swear that it is more effective than buying Amonium Sulphate from the nursery which is what I usually do!

  35. 74

    Jonathon McCormick says

    hi everyone just to let you know you can throw coffee grounds straight around the plant just inoculate the area with mycorrhizae and it will fight and eat the mold bloom. Tested and proved in my vegatable garden and dahlia pots. But worms do love the stuff i think the caffine helps

  36. 76


    Thanks, Anna. Sorry I didn’t find this post sooner! I’ve only recently become aware of all the productive, sustainable ways we can use spent coffee grounds. Nice post 😉

  37. 78



    Though I don’t drink coffee very often, my gf does. And we compost everything 😉 But some of the ideas I’ve found recently for viable uses of spent grounds have been enlightening — especially one about using them to make a flea dip. Clever.

  38. 82


    Hey Shane, regarding your above comment to Natural Remedies.. you are so right! I set up my own little blueberry plant with mulched pine needles and it is very happy indeed! Haven’t tried the coffee grounds yet though…

  39. 83


    This is a really new idea to enhance the growth of roses in garden. Very good post with useful information. I really appreciate the fact that you approach these topics from a stand point of knowledge and information. Please keep on posting.

  40. 85

    John Adams says

    The following has worked absolute wonders.
    Coffee grounds are only good for a limited time and purposes. The true and time tested way to really take advantage of coffee grounds are for worms. Worms absolutely will love you when you add coffee grounds and the worms. The worms will feed off that for ages and at the same time they will give oxygen, fertilizer to your yard, soil, etc.

    In addition, you will not be wasting water because the water will sink into the roots of grass, plants, etc. without rolling off the top soil and bypassing the roots. The worms, through the use of coffee worms soften the soil and fertlize it at the same time.

    Also, it help a huge amount if you do the following:

    1. add leaves of the trees or grass into your soil, it will decompose greatly.
    2. the paper board from egg cartons are awesome for retain moisture hence in the soil and for the worms.
    3. till the soil, leaves, egg shells, lettuce for worms.

    If you had not already gathered it by now the key are worms. All the rest is to feed and maintain “happy” worms. Worms do not sleep or rest. All they do is eat and pour out casting, fertilizer. This is a year round work-horse for your yard and garden.

    I’ve used this method for ages and it works absolutely wonders. Now, the coffee grounds you can place in a large container with water let it sit there for a day or two and than spray that around. It’s more bang for your buck!

    Continue to add worms, worms, worms, and more worms. You will not regret it. Research what I’ve expressed here and in the end you’ll come to the same conclusion. It’s also great for the environment.

  41. 86

    Ricia Steck says

    I just found you! Thanks for the info. My mother’s roses have gone to the way side since she isn’t here to take care of them anymore. I got some coffee grounds and egg shells to see if I could bring them back to health. Now I know what to do. Thanks!

  42. 88

    Suzanne says

    Anna, “side dress the plant with no more than one inch at a time” is a quote from your article (loved it by the way…had been wondering since my brother brought me 2 bags of Starbucks grounds). I feel like a gomer for asking, but what does that mean? Please clarify? I don’t know if that means sprinkle an inch worth of grounds or and inch deep covering around the roses. I am guessing appx a cubic inch worth sprinkled around. I’m no gardener, so will you help me out here? duh :)

  43. 90


    I’m glad Suzanne asked that question b/c I was wondering the same thing myself! :)

    Are you adding dry, unused coffee grounds or the “wet” ones leftover in the filter after brewing?

  44. 92


    I am a coffee drinker and use the old coffee grounds in my compost. and have a good garden. It was very hard for me to start gardening when I first moved here to Colorado from Illinois and now things are growing good,could be better,each year I learn something new about the soil and the dry weather.

  45. 94


    I have had the fortune of helping to found Don Carlos Farm in Tempe, AZ I found this article to be very enlightening. I have been collecting coffee grounds from two different Starbuck’s locations for the past 4 months or so (people keep beating me to them sometimes) and we have just been accumilating the grounds in our compost. This was very useful because we were not sure how we should be using them and now I feel that I have a better idea on how to use them, thank you for this read =).

  46. 98


    WOW!!! Thank you for the info. I’m so glad that I read this before I started adding coffee grounds to my plants. All these websites say different things and from what I collected from the internet. So far is a hit or miss… I’ll keep gathering my research.

  47. 104


    Coffee grounds as an additive for worm bedding? Pappy used to keep a bathtub full of fishing worms out behind the shed. As an avid fisherman Pappy was hard to beat. His coffee grounds were added to the worm bedding.

    Since we all know the value of worm castings in gardening “black gold”…recycling coffee grounds seems like a natural fit. Gathering fishing bait to take the grandson fishing will be easier and more cost effective for this Pappy.

    Excuse me…I’m headed to Starbucks
    James Blackstone´s last blog post ..Pool Service & Pool Maintenance – San Clemente – Orange County – Eco Clear Pools Service

  48. 108

    Pam says

    When I was a child cleaning up the table, my Dad had me put all the coffee grounds in a small area next to the house. It attracted worms, & he always had an easy place to find his fishing worms.

  49. 110



  50. 112

    Antoinette Jackson says

    What is moon planting? One of the posters referred to above? July 19, 2012 I also use coffee grounds on my plants my mother used to do it. I live on The Big Island of Hawai’i people here say to plant at the full moon and things will grow better. I’ve tried that and sure enough they do!

  51. 113

    Sherry says

    My small company uses a Keurig machine. I keep a bowl next to it, and everyone deposits their used K-cups. I take them home, open them up, and put the coffee and small pieces of paper filter into my compost. I also use the leftover cups (which have a small hole in the bottom for drainage) for transplanting seedlings to give away to the local community garden. They are a pain to clean out, but at least nothing is going into the landfill.

  52. 115


    Thank you so much for this article! I have been using the grounds from our own coffee machine on my lemon tree, but have procrastinated over, and over, going to the coffee shop to ask them to save grounds for me…just wasn’t sure…you can’t always believe…too much might be damaging to the plants or the soil…

    I have no further excuses…I must away to the coffee house.
    Thanks again.
    Kerri´s last blog post ..Veg out and watch the vid – A year in the garden

  53. 118

    Lori says

    Great blog!
    Nice to know I can use the grounds safely. I use the brewed coffee in a sprayer and spray all my plants during grasshopper season, they don’t like the taste. We had a bad case of grasshoppers and the coffee saved my garden. Now… to keep away the deer!?

  54. 119

    Cindy says

    My brothers wife brought home bars of soap that he did not like the smell. He cut a hole through the soap and put string through the hole. He then tied it to the trees the deer were eating and now has no problem with the deer.

  55. 122

    samuel says

    I haven’t heard the concern of coffee and pesticides.
    I read that coffee is genally laiden with pesticides unless its organic coffee, which I undersatnd is not what we get in free grounds from Starbucks.
    So adding Starbucks grounds to our compost may not be so good if its not organic?

    • 123


      Samuel, you make a good point so I did a little research as to whether pesticides would disappear after the beans were roasted. Several studies, such as indicated that the pesticides basically disappear or are at low levels.

      However, I do agree with you on Starbucks vs organic. Supporting the organic coffee industry is good since it helps the workers who would ordinarily be the ones who spray the nasty pesticides. (Not to mention, what pesticides do to the surrounding environment.)

      Thanks for bring up the point. Anna

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    I usually put coffee grounds in the compost but after reading this I’ve been dumping them on the fire ant mounds in the garden. Don’t know yet if it works, but if it does, it will be worth keeping an eye on soul pH and adding dolomitic limestone as needed. Fire ants are a real gardening plague around here.
    Leigh´s last blog post ..Pig Report

  57. 128

    Breemom says

    My husband had stale coffee, almost a full can.Is it bad that I mixed unused coffee grounds in my raised vegetable garden.I just went out and speed them all over and mixed them in the dirt after I pulled up all of last years dead plants.will I be able to replant my veggies again this spring or did I mess up my gardens dirt that was a mix of miricalgrow potting mix and miricalgrow potting soil?Thankyou if anyone can help me.

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      The coffee will decompose and become organic matter. You are fine. You might want to take a soil test next year just to make sure you don’t need any minerals in the bed. It is a good practice to do anyways. Anna


  1. […]  What about all those potatoes and carrot peels?  Send them to your composter so you can have sweet compost for your plants.  Don’t forget to collect free leaves in the fall so that you can have the right mix of brown and green to make compost. Your lawn loves compost as well. And by the way, don’t forget to sprinkle your used coffee grounds around your plants.  They will love you for it.  (How can coffee grounds help your plants?   Read my much read article, using coffee grounds for your plants.) […]

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