Tons of people throw their old coffee grounds into the compost pile and use the compost in their garden with good results. But as you all know, what works for other plants doesn’t always work for succulents, especially when it comes to fertilizer!
Succulents are more easily burned by chemical fertilizers than other plants, so there’s always a risk that your succulent babies could get damaged when you use them. Could coffee be a better alternative to harsh chemical fertilizers, or is it too acidic for your plants? One thing is for sure, it’s great to drink!
Today, we’re going to tell you whether or not your succulents will love coffee as much as you do! By the end of this post, you’ll have all the info you need to decide if your coffee grounds should go in your succulent pot or in your garbage can, so keep reading!
Nutrients in Coffee
Coffee grounds are about 2% nitrogen, which is why they benefit plant health and get thrown into compost piles. Brewed coffee has some pretty great nutrients too—potassium and magnesium. Nitrogen, potassium, and magnesium are essential nutrients that your plant babies need. If the soil you plant them in doesn’t have enough of these minerals, their leaves will start to turn pale and they won’t be able to grow. Yikes!
That’s why it’s so important to fertilize your succulents, especially if their home is an adorable little pot like this one or a rustic driftwood planter, which you can learn how to make with our article here. After a while of living in that container, your succulents will use up all the available macronutrients in the soil, so you’ll have to add some nutrients back in to keep them healthy.
Coffee seems like a great way to do that because it has so many vital nutrients… but is it too acidic for your plants?
Coffee is Acidic, But That’s Good For Your Plants!
OK, we know what you’re thinking… acid? How can that be good for my plants? But most plants, succulents included, actually grow best in slightly acidic conditions.
It all comes down to pH levels. The tap water you use to water your plants has a slightly alkaline pH of around 8, but plants tend to grow best in slightly acidic soil. They like a pH between 5.8 and 7. So whenever you water your plants, you’re pushing the pH higher than they actually like it!
So using something slightly acidic, like coffee, as a fertilizer can actually help rebalance the pH and return it to the levels that your plant baby prefers.
We’ve seen succulent growers online report good results from planting their succulents in mildly acidic soil. Several people said their succulents looked healthier and bloomed more frequently. Those are just some of the benefits you can expect from fertilizing your succulents with coffee and paying attention to the pH levels of the soil!
Use Diluted Coffee on Potted Succulents, Not Coffee Grounds
Coffee grounds from your favorite coffee brand will work as fertilizer outside in your garden, but they won’t work on potted plants. Pots don’t have enough microbes hanging out in them to break down the coffee grounds into a form that your succulent can use. If you brew the coffee grounds into coffee and dilute it, though, it will work well as an alternative to chemical fertilizer!
Brew up a cup of your least favorite coffee—you wouldn’t want to waste the good stuff on your plants—and then dilute it with some water. You should use equal amounts of coffee and water on your plants. So if you brewed eight ounces of coffee, make sure to add eight ounces of tap water to it.
Now you can use that diluted coffee to water your plants just like you usually do. Test out this DIY fertilizer a few times during your succulent’s active growing season to see if your plant baby likes it!
Take a look at the 5 benefits of having succulents!
Using Coffee Grounds in Your Garden
Coffee grounds don’t really work on potted plants, but if you have some succulents planted outside in your garden, you can place used coffee grounds directly onto the soil. As the coffee grounds break down, they’ll add nitrogen to the soil, which is a vital nutrient for succulents. They’ll also help aerate the soil and improve drainage, and may even suppress weeds and keep pests away.
Just remember not to add unbrewed coffee grounds to the soil—their high caffeine content can be bad for your plants! Brewed coffee grounds have a lot less caffeine, so they’re safe to use.
Now that you know the benefits of fertilizing your succulents with coffee and coffee grounds, are you going to do it? We were hesitant at first, but after learning more, we’re excited to try it out!
Continue your succulent knowledge and read some additional Succulent City articles! Take a look at Everything You Need to Know About Air Plants, Everything You Didn’t Know About the Star Cactus, or Succulents with Orange Flowers!
And by the way, this post is sponsored by Amazon Audible! They are offering all of our Succulent City community an exclusive offer of 2 FREE Ebooks when signing up for a free trial! You can sign up for a free trial here! You can replant your favorite succulents while listening to a succulent ebook, how’s that for a succulent obsession?
Happy planting! ?