Understanding What plants Like Coffee Grounds

Understanding What plants Like Coffee Grounds

variety of vegetables
Photo by Ella Olsson

The Importance of Knowing the Soil pH In Your Garden Before Adding Coffee Grounds

Before we discuss which fruits, vegetables, herbs, and other plants will enjoy coffee grounds it’s vital to talk about the pH of your soil. A neutral pH is 7 while an acidic soil is anything lower than 7 and alkaline anything greater than 7. Not all soils are the same and not all plants enjoy the same pH levels. The level of acidity in used coffee grounds can vary although it is generally low. Are coffee grounds are good for the garden? Well that depends on the pH level of your soil and which plants you plan on growing. If this all seems too complicated I would recommend a great article on the basics of growing a vegetable garden by Money Magpie.

Plants That Love Acidic Soil

Vegetables that prefer a pH range of 5.5 to 7.5

  • Sweet Corn
  • Cucumbers

Vegetables that prefer a pH range of 5.5 to 7.0

  • Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Turnips
  • Squash
  • Onions

Vegetables that prefer a pH range of 4.5 to 5.5

  • Potatoes
  • Peppers
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Radishes

Fruits That Love Acidic Soil (4.0 to 5.0)

  • Cranberries
  • Blueberries
  • Elderberries
  • Huckleberries
  • Thimble-berries
  • Gooseberries

Flowering Plants That Love Acidic Soil

  • Azaleas
  • Rhododendrons
  • Hydrangeas
  • Camellias
  • Daffodils

Why You Should Test Your Soils pH Levels

Fresh coffee grounds can be quite acidic so you should take this list into account before using them, generally used coffee grounds are safer as much of the acidity has been washed out. Soil pH affects the solubility of minerals in your soil and can alert you to potential deficiencies in vitamins essential to healthy plant growth. Extremely acidic soil ranging from 4.0 to 5.0 may contain certain minerals that are toxic to certain plants, these minerals include iron, manganese, and aluminum. Soils with a pH below 5.5 likely lack phosphorus, magnesium and calcium. Soils with a pH level of 7.8 or greater likely have a wealth of magnesium and calcium but can how a low availability of copper, zinc, phosphorus, and iron.

bloom blooming blossom blur
Photo by Pixabay

Common Nutrient Deficiencies Prevalent in Low pH Soils (below 5.5 pH)

Highly acidic soils generally do not have enough phosphorous, magnesium, and calcium. One of the uses of coffee grounds in your garden can be to increase the phosphorus level as coffee grounds contain a fairly high level.

Common Nutrient Deficiencies Prevalent in High pH soils (7.8 or Higher)

Soils with a high pH tend to lack important nutrients such as copper, zinc, phosphorous, boron, iron, and manganese. It is important to test the soil in your garden so you can make more informed decisions about improving the health and yield of your garden. This applies to everyone whether you are a hobby gardener or a homesteader.

man doing a sample test in the laboratory
Photo by Edward Jenner

How to Test pH Levels in Your Soil

If testing the pH levels in your garden yourself is something you want to do I would recommend buying a pH meter. This is a great idea to determine whether or not your plants will like coffee grounds. A pH meter is the best option for a DIY approach. In my experience, the testing strips you might find at your local gardening center are less reliable (and not reusable). I will link a video below that will show you how to test the pH levels in your soil.

A Quick Overview of Using Coffee Grounds in Your Garden

There are two options for using fresh or used coffee grounds in your garden. The first is using it as a fertilizer. This method is the simpler of the two. Grab your used coffee grounds and sprinkle them lightly onto your garden and mix them in with the dirt. The second is to add the coffee grounds to your compost pile which is a much more complicated process. Generally speaking, coffee grounds are good for your garden.

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