How to Water Plants With Coffee

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Coffee gives you a pick-me-up, but will it do the same for your plants? It might, if the plants you water grow in acidic soil. Different plants grow better in different types of soil, and sometimes it’s tough to keep one area of your garden more acidic than others. Traditional ways to make soil more acidic range from applying chemical fertilizers to adding sulfur to simply allowing leaves to remain on the soil and decompose. Coffee has long been used as an organic fertilizer and is useful for adding acid to earth. The next time you have leftover coffee, consider giving your garden a drink.

Things You'll Need

  • Cool coffee
  • Water
  • Watering can or coffee carafe

Select acidic soil-loving plants like African violets, azaleas, amaryllis, cyclamen, hydrangea, bromeliad, gardenia, hyacinth, impatiens, aloe, gladiolus, phalaenopsis orchid or begonia. Do not water plants with coffee that don’t love acidic soil or they may die.

Allow your coffee carafe or pot–as well as your leftover unflavored coffee–to completely cool.

Dilute the coffee with cool tap water, adding at least as much water as there is coffee.

Water acid-loving plants in your garden and those inside with the watered-down coffee, using a watering can or a coffee carafe.

Tips & Warnings

  • For outdoor plants, watering with coffee may add just enough organic fertilizer to the soil to make them leaf and bloom more. For indoor plants, careful use of coffee also may occasionally replace chemical fertilizers, stimulating growth and blooms.
  • Plants--especially potted plants--that are watered frequently with coffee will become sick and eventually die because the soil will become overly acidic. If your plant leaves become yellow after watering them with coffee, they are finding the soil too acidic. Repot the plants and discontinue coffee watering. Do not use flavored coffee or coffee with milk, cream or sugar for watering potted plants. Small amounts of milk, cream or sugar probably will not harm plants with roots in the earth, rather than in pots.

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