How to Use Coffee Grounds for Plants


Coffee grounds have several benefits when used in gardens. They are high in nitrogen, which is an essential nutrient plants need to thrive. Coffee grounds also make a great mulch for protecting your plants from the cold during the harsh winter months, and from the destruction caused by snails and slugs. If you are an avid coffee drinker, begin saving your used coffee grounds for your plants. If you aren't, you most likely know someone who is. Ask them to save their coffee grounds for you.

Fertilizing with Coffee Grounds

Step 1

Sprinkle your used coffee grounds around the soil that surrounds the plant you want to fertilize.

Step 2

Use a small rake to work some of the coffee grounds into the top layer of your soil.

Step 3

Water the soil around the plant lightly after adding the coffee grounds. This will release the nitrogen into the soil a little faster.

Step 4

Repeat steps 1 through 3 once each month.

Mulching with Coffee Grounds

Step 1

Put the used coffee grounds in a bowl.

Step 2

Cut the used coffee filter up into tiny shreds. Place the shreds in the bowl with the coffee grounds, and mix the two ingredients together.

Step 3

Surround the soil around the base of your plant with your homemade mulch. You want the mulch to be at least 1/2 inch to 1 inch thick, so you may need more than one bowl of coffee grounds mixed with a filter.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not use coffee grounds that are still hot from being in your coffee pot. The heat is not good for the plants.

Things You'll Need

  • Rake
  • Bowl
  • Scissors


  • Sustainable Enterprises: Coffee Grinds for Compost and Fertilizer
  • Seattle PI: Give Your Garden a Jolt with Coffee
  • Oregon State University: Compost Specialist Coffee Grounds and Soil Trial November 2008-September 2009
Keywords: coffee grounds, coffee fertilizer, organic plant food

About this Author

Alicia Bodine has been a professional writer for six years. She has produced thousands of articles for online publications such as Demand Studios, Bright Hub, Associated Content and WiseGeek. Bodine is also the current cooking guru for LifeTips. She has received awards for being a top content producer.