lifestyle

Why you should water your plants with coffee this winter


Got leftover coffee to use? Give it to your plants (Picture: Getty)

For many of us, coffee is the stuff of life.

Waking us up in the morning, saving our sleepy afternoons, the much-loved bean juice is the caffeine hit that makes our working days bearable.

But would it also work to perk up our plants?

The expert team at WeThrift have discovered that coffee could help to produce stronger and healthier stems, and could give your plants just what they need to survive and thrive during the cold and dark winter months.

So, how does it work?

What are the benefits of watering your plants with coffee?

Coffee can be a great fertiliser for your plants because it contains some of the essential nutrients that your plants need such as nitrogen, potassium, calcium and magnesium.

The experts says that coffee is an especially great source of nitrogen, which your plants need to produce greener, healthier and stronger stems. Mixing used coffee grounds into your compost heap is an organic way to give your plants a huge boost.

Despite its brown colour, coffee is considered to be a ‘green’ compost material because it is kitchen waste. A healthy compost mix should contain even amounts of both greens and browns.

Greens include kitchen waste products – such as coffee or eggshells, as well as any other fresh or ‘green’ products like fresh grass, clipped flowers or even weeds. Browns include any carbon-rich products such as fallen leaves, dried grass, wood chips and paper – including paper coffee filters.

Fertilisation is not only the benefit that coffee can bring to your plants’ health. The nation’s favourite morning pick-me-up is also a great natural pesticide.

Spreading coffee grounds around your plant will make them less susceptible to damage from pests such as slugs. It is thought that a combination of the high caffeine content and the abrasive texture of coffee is off-putting to slugs.

Luckily, coffee in your soil won’t deter the worms. Worms are incredibly useful to your soil’s fertilisation process and are thought to love coffee grounds. Coffee in very small quantities is not harmful to worms, and a caffeinated worm will, unsurprisingly, do its job much faster – plus they will be likely to procreate in the soil.

Make sure not to over-feed your plant with coffee, no matter how groggy they might be looking.

Your plants should only need a coffee boost about once a week to see the benefits. Coffee can be naturally acidic, so over-feeding your plant with it could have a negative effect.

Should you use coffee to water indoor plants?

Only ever use black coffee on your plants (Picture: Getty/EyeEm)

All this talk of fertiliser and slugs is great, but if you don’t have a garden and outdoor plants, it might not apply to you.

The good news is that most indoor plants will benefit from the extra boost in nutrients that coffee grounds provide too.

However, the plants that find coffee grounds particularly beneficial are typically outdoor plants which include blueberries, hydrangeas, hollies, azaleas and the vast majority of trees.

When coffee grounds are introduced to soil, they will naturally create a more acidic pH which will encourage flowers to bloom blue rather than pink, red or white. It is not hard to see why blueberries and blue hydrangeas benefit so much from having coffee in their diet.

Hydrangeas specifically will bloom better in soil that is consistently moist, so you may want to consider using diluted coffee grounds to get the most out of this plant.

But, the experts say coffee grounds can still be used for most houseplants for very similar results. Diluted coffee will continue to work as an efficient and organic fertiliser for a much healthier looking houseplant.

You will struggle to find any plants that will not benefit from being fed coffee, however, there are plants that should only be fed coffee in moderation and others that like plenty of it.

Azaleas, hydrangeas and bromeliads are all acid-loving plants that cannot get enough coffee, whereas roses are not so keen and can end up with a burnt stem if they are overfed.

Before you chug the dregs of your coffee at your favourite houseplant, it’s also important to remember that you should never feed plants with coffee that has milk or any other additive in it. 

‘Only ever use black coffee when applying coffee to your plants,’ warn the experts at Indoor Plants For Beginners.

‘Using coffee with milk or sweeteners like sugar, cream or syrups to feed or fertilize your plants can cause mold, fungus gnats, fungal disease and other undesirable results along with possibly killing your plant.’

Why should you use coffee on your plants in winter?

One benefit of feeding coffee to your plants during winter is that you are naturally going to find fewer ‘green’ products for your compost, since there is less growth of natural products like fresh grass and flowers outside. So coffee is a natural and organic way to get ‘green’ fertiliser into your compost when other products – such as fresh grass – are less available.

Coffee is also a particularly useful fertiliser in the winter months because the grounds will still work their way into the soil during freeze-thaw cycles, whereas other products may freeze in cold or snowy conditions.

It’s also cheaper than buying other fertiliser products, and a good way to use up any leftover coffee you have in the house.



How to use coffee on your plants

Whether you are sprinkling coffee grounds or pouring diluted coffee into your plant fertiliser, you will get the best results if you apply the coffee thinly to the soil and at least a couple of inches away from the plant’s stem. This will help to avoid the stem being damaged as the plant won’t soak up too much of the acidic coffee too quickly.

If you are using coffee grounds, be sure to rake them into the soil to avoid clumping, as the coffee will be more effective the more it is spread out.

You may find that you see the most benefits if you dilute your coffee before feeding it to your plant, approximately a quarter cup of ground coffee to three-quarters of water is thought to be the optimum solution. Diluting your coffee will naturally help it spread, and introducing it to your soil as a liquid may help it to soak up quicker.

Remember that there is no need to go out of your way to make coffee for your plants when you can simply use the leftovers from your own morning cup, your plants don’t need as much coffee as we do.

Plant experts at WeThrift

Do you have a story to share?

Get in touch by emailing MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.


MORE : How to keep your house plants alive over the festive period


MORE : One in eight Brits feel tired ‘all of the time’


MORE : Teen who had leg amputated as a baby donates prosthetic legs so little girl in The Gambia can go to school





READ SOURCE

Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.  Learn more