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Use Coffee Grounds for Acid-Loving Plants

By plantladylin
January 14, 2012

Coffee Grounds: Mix into the soil of acid-loving plants like gardenias, azaleas, etc.

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Name: Mary
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fiwit
Jan 13, 2012 8:41 PM CST
ummm....used or un-used? I'd always heard unused grounds were bad. Please edumacate me?
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Name: Lin
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plantladylin
Jan 13, 2012 10:19 PM CST
With me it's always been used grounds ... after the coffee has brewed! I sometimes get lax about doing it and feel guilty throwing them in the trash. An elderly neighbor of mine spreads her used coffee grounds around her garden every single day after she finishes her morning coffee.
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Name: tarev
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tarev
Jan 13, 2012 10:32 PM CST
I have used the coffee grounds in one of my potted new zealand flax..I'd say it seems to have improved its growth afterwards...and I also use it in my potted plants to fight off slugs..they hate coffee grounds Big Grin
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
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valleylynn
Jan 13, 2012 11:06 PM CST
Great tip Lin and wonderful photo Cinda. Thumbs up
During the winter I use an old laundry detergent bucket to save the coffee grounds in. When I get a break in the weather I go out and spread them.
Name: Linda
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LindaTX8
Jan 13, 2012 11:07 PM CST
Now, THAT elderly neighbor of Lin's sounds like a dedicated gardener! I take my time...by the time I put them out, there's a whole bag of grounds.
http://www.gardeningchannel.com/how-to-use-recycled-coffee-g...
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Name: Susie
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Aguane
Jan 13, 2012 11:58 PM CST
I put all coffee grounds in the compost or direct in the beds. Our soil is extremely alkaline and in need of acid amending.... I put the used loose tea and tea bags in the beds or compost too. ... and the paper filters.
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Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
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SongofJoy
Jan 14, 2012 2:49 AM CST
Ditto
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Name: Lin
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plantladylin
Jan 14, 2012 6:00 AM CST
gardengus/Cinda: I too thank you for that photo! I supplied a few tips but many were without photo's.

Lynn: Great tip of saving them in a bucket! I've kept them in plastic zip lok bags in the refrigerator for months at a time but a bucket would be much easier!

Linda: Thanks for that link, great information ... when I had a compost bin at my old house I would throw the coffee and filters into the compost as well.

Susie: Yep, into the compost heap or directly in the beds ... coffee grounds are a great soil amendment.



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Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
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LindaTX8
Jan 14, 2012 10:01 AM CST
Yes, I do add it to compost also. And ditto on the spent tea bags...I'm a tea drinker and DH drinks coffee. And it really does increase the earthworms after you dig it into the soil for a while! Earthworms are soil-builders, which are really needed on my place! Other than caliche, rocks and limestone, the yard is mostly just a bit of soil I've brought in and put on top of everythig that was there before. Caliche will kill many kinds of plants if their roots get to it. One reason I like those great Texas Hill Country natives...many of them tolerate my original soil.
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad
[Last edited by LindaTX8 - Jan 14, 2012 10:07 AM (+)]
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Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Jan 14, 2012 10:04 AM CST
We have mostly sand and shell in this part of Florida so amending the soil is always a good idea.
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Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
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Horseshoe
Jan 14, 2012 10:19 AM CST
Nice tip, Lin. I love to see any kind of encouragement when it comes to composting and/or recycling.

As a tidbit of information, when I was giving a class to some gardeners several years ago I read lots of research on coffee, coffee grounds, usage of, etc. It turns out that the used grounds are considered neutral on the pH scale and don't necessarily contribute to lowering the pH of soils. Apparently the acid is water soluble and when brewed it goes into the coffee itself, leaving the grounds at around 6.4 to 6.9, still in near neutral zone required by most plants.

I thought using the coffee (liquid) itself would help some of my gardenias, with it being more acidic than the spent grounds, but it only helps temporarily, similar to how vinegar would only help lower the pH temporarily.

On a good note, this means you can use the spent grounds to your hearts content knowing you aren't increasing the acid level of your soil but rather feeding some good nitrogen to the soil (or rather feeding the bacteria that turn it into N), increasing earthworm population (and their happiness!), and as mentioned above, composting and recycling. Ta-dahh! :>)

Drink coffee. Have fun.
Looking forward to some more good tips!

Shoe
Name: Lin
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plantladylin
Jan 14, 2012 10:46 AM CST
Horseshoe said:On a good note, this means you can use the spent grounds to your hearts content knowing you aren't increasing the acid level of your soil but rather feeding some good nitrogen to the soil (or rather feeding the bacteria that turn it into N), increasing earthworm population (and their happiness!), and as mentioned above, composting and recycling. Ta-dahh! :>)Shoe


Thank you Shoe ... this is great information to know ... a garden can never have too many earthworms! Green Grin!

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ssgardener
Jan 14, 2012 3:07 PM CST
Coffee grounds are also great for keeping the critters away. Some unknown creature was digging at my azalea roots and exposing them. I'm still not sure if it was squirrels, voles, cats, or raccoons. I decided to cover up the holes with spent coffee grounds I got from the local Starbucks, and they haven't been disturbed since!
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Marilyn
Jan 14, 2012 5:22 PM CST
plantladylin said:

Thank you Shoe ... this is great information to know ... a garden can never have too many earthworms! Green Grin!



Hurray! Hurray! Hurray! Green Grin! Thumbs up

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Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
And in the end...a happy beginning!
Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Garden Sages I sent a postcard to Randy! I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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Horseshoe
Jan 14, 2012 5:41 PM CST
Yeh, I love earthworms. One of my favorite pets is an earthworm, named Wiggly-giggly, who always seems so happy he smiles at both ends!

Shoe (off to cook some dead chicken parts for supper; back later) :>)
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Gymgirl
Jan 23, 2012 10:36 AM CST
Can spent coffee ground safely be thrown onto a rosebed? I have a pretty yellow rosebush that I'd love to propagate and boost up with some type of inexpensive additives. I can get spent coffee grinds by the bucketsful!
Name: Mary
My little patch of paradise (Zone 7b)
Gardening dilettante, that's me!
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fiwit
Jan 23, 2012 12:55 PM CST
Gymgirl said:Can spent coffee ground safely be thrown onto a rosebed? I have a pretty yellow rosebush that I'd love to propagate and boost up with some type of inexpensive additives. I can get spent coffee grinds by the bucketsful!


As far as I know, the answer is yes.
Northwest Georgia Daylily Society
I'm going to retire and live off of my savings. Not sure what I'll do that second week.
My yard marches to the beat of a bohemian drummer...

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