If you have landed on this post then it can only mean one thing. You’ve also heard the rumour floating about! A little something about coffee grounds for succulents? Well, we’ve tried and tested this method and are ready to let you in on our findings. We were astounded when we first heard that coffee grounds for succulents could help improve growth. It seemed bizarre. Are coffee grounds good for succulents? It sounded like an odd choice of fertilizer but we thought we’d give it a go. This article aims to guide you through using coffee grounds for succulents and what the best methods are.
You may have already read our blog titled ‘Are coffee grounds good for Christmas cactus?’, but we’ve had a lot of people ask whether or not you can use coffee on all types of cactus and succulents. So we’ve created this post in the hopes that it gives you all the advice you need on using coffee grounds on different types of succulents. We’ve even tried and tested this method of fertilizing on a number of different succulent types and have detailed the most successful below.
If you’re a total newbie to the succulent world, you should read our top tips on succulent care for beginners!
Do succulents like coffee grounds?
This is probably the first and foremost question on your mind. Do succulents like coffee grounds? More importantly do both indoor and outdoor succulents like coffee grounds? The maintenance and care for an indoor plant to an outdoor plant can be drastically different. The main tip to remember is that coffee grounds won’t work on potted plants unless it has been brewed and diluted in water. Potted succulents don’t have enough microbes in them to break down the grounds into a substance they can use. However, diluting in water first will work as a great chemical fertilizer alternative.
We know that coffee grounds for succulents is good but we haven’t answered WHY do succulents like coffee grounds? Well, in simple terms, coffee is acidic and succulents LOVE acidic soil. Coffee grounds contain a number of different nutrients including 2% Nitrogen, Potassium and Magnesium – all essential nutrients your succulents need to thrive and grow. If your plants aren’t getting enough of these nutrients then you’ll notice their leaves start to turn pale and yellow, something you don’t want to happen!
Ultimately it all comes down to pH levels. Tap water tends to have a pH level of around 8. Succulents actually prefer a slightly more acidic pH level of 5.8 – 7.0. Using coffee grounds as a fertilizer will actually help balance out this level, meaning they will thrive more, be more healthy and are much more likely to grow.
Top tip: coffee grounds are a great way to keep cats away from succulents. Pets are wonderful but they are also intrigued by houseplants! We’ve created a blog post on the very best ways on how to keep cats away from succulents.
Coffee grounds for succulent plants – which houseplants like coffee?
We have tried and tested brewed coffee on a number of different succulents and cactuses but we have found the top three to thrive are the Snake Plant (Sansevieria), Jade Plant (Crassula Ovata) and Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera). This is not an extensive list, so we advise testing out coffee grounds on any houseplant you have at home.
Snake plant (Sansevieria)
The snake plant is a popular houseplant across the world due to its low maintenance. It is an extremely easy plant to care for however, this doesn’t mean you can fully neglect it. It will thrive on a cup of cold-brewed coffee every so often. The sansevieria trifasciata enjoys a slightly more acidic soil to other houseplants and the pH level should be around 4.5 – 7.0. Giving your snake plant low – medium light and watering every so often with coffee will help enhance the multi-colored, sword-shaped leaves. Due to its ability to thrive in low light, the snake plant is also one of the best succulents for offices.
Jade Plant (Crassula Ovata)
The jade plant is the most common term used for the Crassula Ovata plant, however is also referred to as the lucky plant, money plant or money tree and is native to South Africa. Jade plants are one of the most common coffee drinkers and watering with cold-brewed coffee will help keep the full dark green appearance of the leaves and also help thicken the stems. This will help prevent your jade plant dropping leaves. This houseplant is susceptible to over-watering and is a common reason for a dying jade plant, so make sure you let the soil fully dry out in between.
Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera)
The Christmas cactus is one of our favourite seasonal plants and should not be mistaken for the Easter cactus or Thanksgiving cactus. Giving your holiday plant coffee grounds will promote blooming during the festive season and is one way to help revive a Christmas cactus if you have been a bit negligent! We also have put together a list of helpful tips if you are wondering ‘why is my Christmas cactus not blooming?’.
Tips on using coffee grounds for succulents
We’ve now established that coffee grounds for succulents are indeed a good thing! But there are some tips you should remember – after all you wouldn’t want to give your succulent plant the coffee shakes! Our top tips on using coffee grounds for succulents are:
This is a bit generic because all succulents need watering at different times so we can’t best advise how often you should water your succulent with coffee grounds. However, it is pretty well known that succulents don’t need watering very often and as a rule of thumb I would start off by watering your succulents with coffee every 2 weeks and see how you get on (the rule is a bit different for Christmas cactus). You should give your plants a thorough soaking and let the soil completely dry out before rewatering. In some cases, overwatering will cause your succulent turning purple and will attract pests such as mealybugs and fungus gnats.
Only use black diluted coffee
I feel like this is very self-explanatory. As humans we love to add all sorts of interesting things to our coffee; milk, cream, sugar, syrups! But needless to say, you should stick to cold black coffee for your indoor plants. I want to reiterate the word cold as well! If you make a fresh brew and pour it straight over your succulents then you will burn and scald the roots which will cause your beloved plant to die. If you are trying out coffee grounds on potted plants, then always make sure you are diluting in water first. If it is outside plants, then using the coffee grounds as they come as a fertilizer will be fine.
Know what soil you are using
As we’ve discussed above, succulents and cacti like slightly more acidic soil. And often coffee grounds are a great way of balancing out the pH levels. However you’ll want to make sure that you are not already using a soil that has high acidity levels. If you are caring for potted indoor plants then you will also want to ensure that the soil you are using is a well-draining soil where the roots are able to breathe.
Coffee grounds for succulents conclusion
So we have discussed a number of different things in this article regarding coffee grounds for succulents. I think it’s fair to say that yes, coffee grounds are in fact good for succulents and you can get some wonderful results by using this method as an alternative to chemical fertilizers.
Although we have said that the three main indoor houseplants that like coffee grounds are the snake plant, jade plant and Christmas cactus, this list is not extensive. These are just the three types of succulent that have worked for us! We are sure that there are many other types of houseplants that enjoy a good cup of coffee and will surely thrive off this method of fertilizing. There is no harm in trying and testing coffee grounds on any of your plants – whether that’s indoors or outdoors! The main thing to remember is that you don’t over-water. So go about your usual watering routine and add a few coffee grounds into the water to test.
If you have a success story of coffee grounds for succulents then let us know by leaving a comment. We are always eager to hear about other succulent types that have thrived of a good ol’ cuppa.
To quickly recap, we also gave you some of our top tips on using coffee grounds for succulents and these were:
- Don’t over-water
- Only use black diluted coffee
- Know what soil you are using
As mentioned above, it is near impossible to advise on how often you should be watering your succulent plant with coffee grounds. There are well over 100 different types of succulents and each will have different watering requirements. The best advice we can give is to do your research on the specific succulent or houseplant you have and how often it needs watering. From here you can water as per the advice and add a few spoonfuls of coffee to your water.
If you take away anything from this blog it should most definitely be that succulents enjoy a slightly acidic soil. Tap water contains a pH level of 8, whereas the average succulent enjoys a pH level of 5.8 – 7.0. Using coffee grounds for succulents is a great way to balance out this pH level and is a fantastic alternative to chemical fertilizer you can buy at your local garden center (not to mention a lot more affordable).
If you’ve enjoyed reading this blog post, then why not read up on some of our other useful guides on succulent care? Learn everything you need to know about etiolated succulents or ever wondered how fast do succulents grow? Alternatively, you can see some related posts below!
At Succulent Care Guide, our aim is to give out reliable advice on all things succulent and cacti. We are actively learning new techniques and methods on caring for houseplants and want to share our journey with you! Feel free to leave a comment with any questions you have and we’ll be sure to get back to you with the best advice we can.
Look forward to speaking soon!