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Using Coffee Grounds in the Garden

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ground coffee
Coffee grounds are a great addition to the compost bin and can added directly on the soil for many acid loving plants. This guide is about using coffee grounds in the garden.


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October 18, 20041 found this helpful

Don't throw away your coffee grounds or egg shells, instead as you turn the potting soil in your house plants, add the grounds and shells for healthier house plants. This can also be used in vegetable gardens for larger crop yields.

By Ldonston

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By 3 found this helpful
July 20, 2013

We use the empty coffee containers, without the lid, to store our used grounds from the coffee maker each morning. When yard clippings and leaves begin to build up, the grounds are mixed in.

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By 4 found this helpful
September 24, 2010

Used coffee grounds are a great, free fertilizer in your garden. Roses and acid-loving plants love it. Starbucks will give them to you free!

By lindal from Vista, CA

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January 6, 2011

When planting vegetables, such as radishes, carrots, onions etc., try sprinkling some coffee grounds in the soil first and then plant your seeds. This should keep the pests away and is also a good fertilizer.

Source: My Grandmother

By JodiT from Aurora, CO

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May 14, 2008

Many cafes will give out quantities of used coffee grounds for your garden for free! Our local Borders does this and it is wonderful for the garden, esp. acid loving plants like azalea, lilac, hydrangea, etc. :) All you have to do is ask!

By Carol from Landisville, Pa

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June 24, 20050 found this helpful

I save all used coffee grounds and fruit & veggie waste (peels, etc.) and lightly dig them in in my flower beds and around shrubs and trees. My plants have huge blooms year-round (I live in Florida) and vibrant coloring. Visitors and neighbors are always asking what kind of fertilizer I use and are amazed when I say "none". Try it, you will be delighted!

By Carole

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June 7, 20050 found this helpful

In the spring and summer, Starbuck's has their Grounds for Growth, where they bag and give away free used coffee grounds. Spread these around under roses and any other acid loving plants. Recycling at its best!

By Linda

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
January 2, 2013

What are some good uses for coffee grounds in the garden?

By joannedesimone from St. Charles, IL

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January 7, 20130 found this helpful

I just put used coffee grounds outside around my plants. It acts as mulch and fertilizer. I even use the filters! You can hide the filter under leafy vegetation.

If youre fussy, you can always make a compost heap.

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By 1 found this helpful
March 14, 2011

What plants do I put my used coffee grounds on? Is it best to turn it into the soil or just put around the base?
Thanks for any info.

Hardiness Zone: 7b


By Keeper from Blue Ridge Mountains, NC

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March 19, 20110 found this helpful

Laniegirl,t hank you for the site.It's a great source of information. Thanks for taking your time and answering my question.

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By 0 found this helpful
May 16, 2010

Can I use coffee grounds on a princess flower? If I can, how much and how often?

Hardiness Zone: 10a

By Ellen from Los Angeles

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May 20, 20100 found this helpful

I don't know about using coffere grounds on the princess plant but I do know that they are useful in breaking up the soil. There aren't any nutrients in coffee grounds. Starbucks had a program going where if you brought them a bucket (5 gal container) they would fill it free of charge. For my garden I have put many pounds of grounds in to it. I still throw the grounds from my AM coofee in the garden or flower beds

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June 19, 2008


I've heard that used coffee grounds are good for rose bushes. Can the grounds from flavored coffees also be used?

Hardiness Zone: 6a

Maryeileen from Brooklyn, OH



This is a tough one. My initial response is no, it is not a good idea to use the grounds from flavored coffee on your rose bushes. However, it really just depends on the ingredients. The main problem is that many flavored coffees contain added sugars or powdered creams to create certain flavors. This is especially true of instant flavored coffees. When used grounds or leftover coffee containing these ingredients is added to the soil, it can create an imbalance in the soil's chemistry that encourages insects and mold. And as you know, roses can be somewhat susceptible to mold problems as it is.

I don't know of any specific tests or studies to point you to, and I don't drink flavored coffee, so I can't speak from personal experience. If you decide to try it, I would recommend using only small amounts of grounds, and digging them slightly into the soil. I have heard some gardeners say that one of the added benefits of using regular used coffee grounds around their roses (grounds void of creams or sugars) is that the grounds actually work to keep insects away.


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By guest (Guest Post)
April 30, 20080 found this helpful

Not sure about the coffee grounds, but I heard that there's some enzyme or mineral in banana peels and onions that when you bury them in the soil around your roses that the roses will have stronger smell.

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By 0 found this helpful
September 25, 2016

Can you use flavored coffee grounds on plants? Is there some way to treat them so they can be used? I have a lot of flavored coffee from my daughter, and want to use it on my herbs. Thanks.

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October 1, 20160 found this helpful

any acid-loving plant will love coffee grounds-hydrangea, roses, citrus, begonia-google acid-loving plants. Starbucks will even give you their used coffee grounds for your garden

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By 0 found this helpful
April 23, 2013

What are some ways that I can use coffee grounds without composting them?

By Karen from Luthersburg, PA

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April 25, 20130 found this helpful

I just throw mine in the flower beds; don't even dig around them. I've heard they keep some bugs away. I know they are good for the soil.

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April 21, 2012

I'm from Louisiana and I was wondering if used coffee grounds are good for the soil around my roses? I don't know enough about what roses need or what coffee grounds add to soil, so hopefully a more skilled gardener can shed some light on this.

By Jackie V.

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April 30, 20120 found this helpful

I don't remember exactly what grounds add to soil (my mother also used tea grounds), but it is helpful to plants. If you want to use them around your roses, go for it!

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November 19, 20140 found this helpful

What plants should I use coffee grounds on?

By Horace

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By 0 found this helpful
September 5, 2013

I want to know the simple way to use coffee grounds for my home veggie garden. Thanks.

By Sharda

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

March 14, 20110 found this helpful

Are coffee grounds good for spruce trees and evergreens?

Hardiness Zone: 11

By Lynn from Washington, IN

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November 23, 20100 found this helpful

Are coffee grounds good for all plants? I specifically want to know about coffee grounds and mums.

Hardiness Zone: 6b

By Trina from TN


Using Coffee Grounds in the Garden

I heard long ago that coffee grounds are a bonus for the garden. They seem to help keep some invading bugs off your plants. I have been also adding them to my my compost. One other thing, I had a huge problem with ants, mainly in the spring. I was told if you sprinkle the grounds around the foundation of your house, it will help keep them out. So I started doing this, even in the winter. It worked! I rarely saw them at all during the warm weather. (11/09/2010)

By Katryn

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October 18, 20100 found this helpful

If you own property when crises suddenly happen that leaves one impoverished, there is remaining the responsibility to maintain, as in "when all you have is lemons...make lemonade," we do with what we know, learn, find, are given, have and can do.

Each time I am required to drive even a short distance, I stop by every single place that sells coffee/tea, because that means "free grounds" that would otherwise go to the landfill and be wasted. Most owners/managers are friendly and willing to give them, but a few can't comprehend the importance and seem to be calculating the idea of "selling the grounds" one day. So, while they are free, take advantage of the opportunity, folks.

During the heat wave we recently all experienced, a record over the last 70 yrs., we all but lost our grass, as well while under water restrictions, which remain until our city water supply is replaced by rain. After tending to other essentials and basic needs, we were able to discover a free "fertilizer" which works, and quickly if done correctly.

Wearing gloves, hand spread the free gathered used coffee/tea grounds all over the grass, especially the "dead" places, like you might when fertilizing with chemicals, but as evenly as possible and slightly heavier than with chemicals.

I chose to do this just before an expected rain, because nothing good happens until the grounds are watered in, and because it is another free resource. One application needed watering in on my allotted day to water because weather reports are often unreliable.

The grounds are considered by gardeners for the compost as being "green" material, containing Nitrogen, a much needed nutrient for all green things. It provides great recycling use of a by-product of our coffee drinking and satisfies the grass because it perked up and is responding after only three days!

I plan to watch for any road/swim pool/fence construction and ask for any left over top soil for the huge cracks left by dryness, AND for low places. Should I be able to find an abundance of soil, I will add a top dressing over the coffee grounds.

There is even a use for the heavier used filter paper, other than in the compost: I stuffed them into the cracks around my foundation. The residual grounds seem to repel pests as well, and since most used grounds have a significant number of used filters to dig out, it helps to close the gaps.

If the coffee/tea is still in lumps as it was originally processed or packaged, the lumps need to be mashed before tossing onto the grass.

I have not over used the free grounds, so I believe the secret is to find the proper balance for whatever you apply it to. For my front yard of approximately 40'x90' feet, it takes about 15 gallons of grounds. I have St. Augustine grass where there is live grass.

It takes about 1 hour of making rounds to the places (restaurants, drive-throughs, bakeries, grills, even larger service stations) that sell coffee within two miles of my home, to gather that. I go two-three times/week, so far, and will continue until bad weather while en route to grocery, discount bread store, post office, bill paying, gas stations, neighborhood recycling center, $.50 movie evening, church, charity, curbside-bulk pickup, storing them in an outside receptacle at home until Spring, if any are left over. This way, I am not wasting gasoline.

I apply a little more around the drip line of our evergreen trees/shrubs, NONE around Fall leaf-losers. (I will do that for them in the Spring. )

I worked in a handful of grounds in a 20" pot of a salvaged Scheffera and two days later the leaves were not only perked WAY up but in four days there were new leaves and very glossy, whereas the old leaves were sparse, leggy stemmed, and dull leafed, a likely reason the previous owner tossed it curbside!

I am making a schedule with merchants who sell breakfast, for eggshells, to save them for me, too, although they require a special day for pick-up, and I cannot know for sure that I will have the gas on those days. It's harder to schedule, but if I can figure it out, it is worth it, also for both grass, garden and many container plants. Less impoverished friends/neighbors have proven to be more helpful, admiring how I keep trying to find ways, with God's grace and help to live within my "frugal" means.

God bless our frugal living and Thriftyfun.

By Lynda from TX


Using Coffee Grounds in the Garden

I'm doing a science project on how coffee grounds will make a plant grow better or if a leading brand name such as MiracleGrow will work better. I was also wondering if I should use an example of grass or a rose and which would make better results. So if you just make an even layer of used coffee grounds around the plant and use some soil to cover it up, will I have results? Or do I need water? I hope this works!

Editor's Note: Here's a good link about using coffee grounds from Starbucks: (12/14/2006)

By kim

Using Coffee Grounds in the Garden

Finally someone like me. Thank you for all your tips. My husband thinks I'm crazy for asking people for the leftover eggshells and coffee grounds or anything else I might find usable. Thanks again for renewing my faith in mankind to save our planet. (02/20/2008)

By angelwingsf38

Using Coffee Grounds in the Garden

I don't drink coffee, but the people at my workplace do. They were happy to save the grounds for my garden! That way you can help your workplace be "green," as well as your plants. (03/11/2008)

By Cantate

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September 24, 20100 found this helpful

Starbucks is trying to reduce their footprints in the environment and is giving out free coffee grounds for the garden. Coffee grounds are great to add to your soil to add nutrition to your plants. This also keeps the coffee grounds out of the landfills. Stop by your local Starbucks and see if they participate.

By Beth P. from Illinois


Free Coffee Grounds for Your Garden at Starbucks

Hi Beth, I have heard that coffee grounds were good for plants, but aren't they just good for acid loving plants? Thanks, I've often thought about it when throwing coffee grounds out! (02/24/2010)

By gamehen

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February 9, 20100 found this helpful

Starbucks gives away bags of used coffee grounds free for the asking. Dump some on the ground of roses and other acid-loving plants and water.

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December 28, 20070 found this helpful
Click to read more ideas from older posts on ThriftyFun.
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September 26, 20060 found this helpful
Click to read more ideas from older posts on ThriftyFun.
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