Some of the resources below may be affiliate links, meaning I get paid a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you use that link to make a purchase.
As humans, we like to run off coffee! For many of us, we simply couldn’t survive in the mornings without it. But what if I told you that we are not the only species that enjoys a good ol’ cup of coffee? I’m sure you’ve heard the rumor going around, that indeed houseplants and succulents can thrive off coffee. In particular, it’s the Christmas cactus, (also known as Schlumbergera), we will be discussing today and answer the question of ‘are coffee grounds good for Christmas cactus?’
This article aims to answer some of the most important questions we come across online; do Christmas cactus like coffee? Are coffee grounds good for cacti? And benefits of coffee grounds on Christmas cactus. Unlike your usual Cacti, the Christmas cactus looks more like your average plant or plants. Giving your Christmas cactus coffee grounds can encourage bloom but you need to make sure you first have the best fertilizer for Christmas cactus.
The origins of Christmas cactus come from the tropical country of Brazil. They usually bloom from September to February and are often sold over the thanksgiving and Christmas periods (hence the names Christmas cactus and Thanksgiving cactus).
Do Christmas Cactus like coffee grounds?
Yes. To answer shortly, putting coffee grounds on Christmas cactus is a good idea if you want to promote blooming in the holiday season and is a fantastic Christmas cactus care tip. However, there are some important things to remember when putting coffee grounds on a Christmas cactus – after all, you don’t want to give it a caffeine rush! The absolute tops tips to remember when watering your Cacti with coffee grounds are the following:
Giving your Christmas Cacti too much of anything isn’t good. Start off by using half a cup of leftover coffee twice a week and see how it goes. If you don’t see any results after a week, increase to a full cup. Overwatering causes many different types of Christmas cactus problems, such as causing the plant to wilt or droop, rotting of the roots, and ultimately the death of your beloved plant!
Only use black coffee on a Christmas cactus
Sure, you may take your coffee with cream and sugar, but that certainly doesn’t mean you should give you Christmas Cacti cream. I strongly advise against giving your cactus anything but black coffee. Using leftover cream and sugar will also attract bugs, which is the last thing you want.
Use cold coffee grounds on Christmas cactus
Make sure your leftover coffee has been sitting around for a while and is cold. Pouring hot coffee onto your Christmas cactus will scald it at the roots and may even scald the plant itself. This will lead you to ask yourself the question; why is my Christmas cactus not blooming? And that is a whole blog topic you want to avoid as much as possible.
Make sure you are using the right soil
If you are using a basic soil, then adding a dilated cup of coffee to your Christmas cactus will have its benefits. If your soil is already acidic, then avoid adding coffee altogether. You can find out more on the best potting soil for Christmas cactus to make sure you have all the correct information.
If you are growing your Christmas cactus in a pot, then the houseplant needs a well-drained soil where the roots are able to breathe. Using heavy garden soil that is designed to retain the moisture will suffocate the roots, making your Christmas cactus bloom poorly or worst-case scenario, rot the roots and kill the plant altogether. (View source here).
Benefits of coffee grounds on Christmas cactus
There is little point in spending your weeks pouring cold coffee over your Christmas cactus if you don’t know why you are doing it. The main benefit of using coffee grounds on Christmas cactus is, of course, it helps it bloom in season. It will give your cacti the little boost it needs and can help revive your Christmas cactus if you think it may be dying.
In conjunction with this, you also need to be giving it the correct natural sunlight for Christmas cactus and the correct food. You need to be taking care of your houseplant and keeping an eye on it daily – even if it is in the garden. After all, a healthy cactus is a happy cactus. Coffee grounds also act as a fertilizer for your plant, so if you’re an avid coffee drinker, you can save money by just using what’s in your cupboard.
It is also known that coffee contains a measurable amount of magnesium and potassium – two building blocks for plant growth. Using coffee grounds on Christmas cactus can also increase the acidity of the soil (you want your soil to be between 5.8 – 7 pH). View source here.
Are coffee grounds good for cactus?
We’ve established that Christmas cactus enjoy coffee grounds, but what about other cacti? The answer is simple, yes! Coffee grounds can work on almost any type of cactus or succulent. The reason being is that coffee is acidic. I know what you’re thinking. Surly acid and plants equal a big no? That’s where you’re wrong.
A great cactus care tip is that most plants, cacti, and succulents grow better in slightly acidic soil. That’s because it’s all about the pH balance (as I mentioned above). Most water has an alkaline pH of around 8, whereas cactus like between 5.8 – 7 pH. This means that each time you water your Christmas cactus or succulent, you are actually feeding it a higher pH than what it likes. Mixing in coffee grounds into your water can restore the pH levels that your cactus just loves to feed off of.
If coffee grounds on a Christmas cactus isn’t for you, then you can always buy Schultz Cactus Plus 2-7-7 liquid Plant Food – this fertilizer is affordable and is a great alternative if you are looking for a commercial fertilizer instead of DIY’ing it with coffee!
Are coffee grounds good for Christmas cactus? A conclusion
It’s been tried and tested, both by ourselves and across the web! When done properly, there are many benefits of coffee grounds on Christmas cactus. Several people have said that it has helped revive their cactus, and helped their Christmas Cactus bloom more frequently. When asking yourself ‘do Christmas cactus like coffee grounds?’ remember that, yes, they do. However, there are a few things you should remember such as
- Only use black coffee on your Christmas cactus
- Use cold coffee grounds on Christmas cactus
- Make sure you are using the right soil
If you ensure you are ticking off the above, then go ahead and try watering your cactus with some added mmph (coffee!). I mean, after all, it just simply means you have a brand new coffee date and you can never have too many of those.
There are different types of Christmas cactus but all will thrive off a bit of coffee. Throw in a mix of natural sunlight and you’re onto a winner. No more asking yourself why is my Christmas cactus turning purple? or how to revive a Christmas cactus.
Remember that a healthy cactus is all about the nutrients such as Magnesium and Potassium and a pH level of around 5.8 – 7. If you’re unsure about the pH of your fertilizer or soil, then you can buy a pH tester online for an affordable price. You should also be investing in well-draining soil or you will be opening yourself up to Christmas cactus bugs.
It is also not only Christmas Cacti that enjoy a cup of coffee every week. Most cacti and succulents will share the same benefits.
Have you ever used coffee grounds on your Christmas cactus? Comment your results below, we’d love to hear how it worked for you. Or if you have any other out-of-the-box tips and tricks to help cacti and succulents bloom, then let us know.
Here at Succulent Care Guide, we love everything about Christmas cactus and cacti, succulents, and all things house plants. Our aim is to inform you of all the pressing questions you have on how to look after a cactus. We hope you enjoyed this read on coffee grounds on Christmas cactus and you have found the tips helpful.