15 Coffee-Loving Houseplants: A Guide to Fertilizing with Coffee Grounds

Photo of author

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I may receive a commission if you purchase using these links.

Are you a coffee lover who also happens to be a green thumb? Have you ever wondered which are coffee-loving houseplants? As a good source of nitrogen and organic matter, coffee grounds can be a great addition to your potting mix.

But hang on, don’t pour your black coffee onto your plants just yet. There are some specific ways to use coffee grounds for the best results.

Why Coffee Grounds? The Nutritional Perks for Houseplants

Before we delve into the specific houseplants that love coffee grounds, let’s understand why these grounds are an excellent choice for your green companions. Coffee grounds contain essential nutrients that can benefit your houseplants in multiple ways.

1. Nitrogen Boost

Spent coffee grounds have about 2% nitrogen1, an essential nutrient for plant growth. Nitrogen promotes healthy leaf development and vibrant green foliage.

Pouring Coffee Compost Tea Into A Blue Flowering Plant
Coffee compost tea adds much needed nitrogen

2. Acidic Environment

Many houseplants thrive in slightly acidic soil conditions. Coffee grounds have a pH of around 6.5, making them ideal for acid-loving plants such as African violets and azaleas.

3. Slow Release

Coffee grounds gradually release nutrients, nourishing your plants over time.

Now that we understand the benefits of coffee grounds let’s explore some houseplants that would be delighted to have a sprinkle of coffee goodness.

15 Coffee-Loving Houseplants

When it comes to houseplants, not all of them are fans of coffee grounds. Some plants thrive in soil enriched with coffee grounds, while others may not appreciate the additional acidity.

Here are 15 houseplants that generally enjoy the benefits of coffee grounds:

1. Christmas Cactus

Treat your cactus twice weekly with coffee-enriched water. Combined with sufficient light, it will help the plant thrive and aid in flowering. Coffee grounds are often used to revive dying Christmas Cacti.

Christmas Cactus
Christmas cactus

2. Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas produce stunning blooms when grown in acidic soil. Coffee grounds contribute to the desired acidity level, producing more vibrant and colorful flowers.

3. African Violets

This charming flowering plant is a huge fan of nitrogen and acid, so you can use a solution of coffee and water for the best growth. FYI, African violets don’t really like strong or direct fertilizers, and coffee could potentially harm them. I recommend using a specialized African Violet fertilizer instead​​.

African Violets
African Violets

4. Azalea

This plant is quite popular for its beautiful flowers, and coffee grounds will ensure it blooms profusely. Just keep it near a south or west-facing window in your home, and the plant will thrive indoors​​.

5. Ferns

Ferns love coffee grounds! They can be used in various ways: as a component of compost, as organic fertilizer, mixed with mulch, in the form of compost tea, or added to the potting mix when repotting. Coffee grounds should not be used for seedlings​.

Coffee-Loving Houseplants
Ferns love coffee grounds

6. Miniature Roses

Most rose species, including miniature roses, like nitrogen and acidic soil, and coffee grounds provide that, which encourages flowering. Alternatively, you can use half a cup of black coffee per plant once every 2-3 weeks.

7. Philodendron

This houseplant offers various indoor varieties. Add coffee grounds to the potting mix or sprinkle a solution of coffee and water for lush growth.

Philodendron, Coffee-Loving Houseplants

8. Jade Plant

You can use coffee grounds to fertilize jade plants either by sprinkling them around the plant base or making a spray with equal parts coffee and water. Fertilize every 2-3 months during spring and summer, and adjust if you notice signs of slow growth or nutrient deficiency​2​.

9. Snake Plants

This low-maintenance plant enjoys an occasional coffee treat. Make a solution of 2 parts coffee to 3 parts water and sprinkle on the pot once every 3 weeks.

Snake Plant
Snake plant

10. Golden Pothos

Pothos like occasional watering with black coffee. Alternatively, you can add coffee grounds into the potting soil while transplanting and watch the plant thrive long-term.

11. Cyclamen

You can aid in dense growth by watering the cyclamen frequently in the flowering season with water and coffee solution (see below). It’s also important to give your cyclamen indirect sunlight and maintain a moderate temperature to promote healthy and vigorous growth.


12. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera plants prefer a well-draining mix enriched with organic matter. Incorporating coffee grounds into the potting soil provides a nutrient-rich environment for these succulent beauties.

13. Spider Plants

Spider Plants are great for cleaning the air in your home. They thrive in slightly acidic conditions. Mixing a solution of one part coffee to three parts water can encourage their growth.

Spider Plant In A Hanging Basket
Spider plant in a hanging basket

14. Peace Lilies

Peace lilies appreciate the organic matter provided by coffee grounds. Improve soil structure and promote healthy growth by mixing coffee grounds into the potting mix.

15. Bolivian Torch Cactus

The Bolivian Torch Cactus is rapid-growing houseplant cactus that thrives with coffee grounds as fertilizer. Adding coffee grounds to your fertilization routine helps nurture this special cactus. Water it twice weekly with coffee-infused water or mix used coffee grounds into the soil.

Bolivian Torch Cactus In The Wild
Bolivian torch cactus in the wild

4 Coffee-Hating Houseplants

If you want to go Fatal Attraction on ex-boyfriend’s houseplants, make sure he has one of the plants listed below before you sneak in while he’s away using the key he forgot he gave you.

1. Lavender

Lavender plants thrive in full sun, with hot, dry, sandy, and non-acidic soil. The increased acidity from the coffee grounds can hinder their growth​​.

2. Orchids

Orchids can’t break down the nitrogen found in coffee grounds. Also, using coffee grounds as mulch for orchids can cause root rot because orchid roots can’t absorb nitrogen.

Orchids Dont Like Coffee

3. Rosemary

Rosemary plants don’t like acidic soil, so using coffee grounds isn’t a great idea. But, if you mix the coffee grounds with water, they can give the plants some nutrients without making the soil too acidic3​.

4. Cactus

Certain cacti need well-draining soil with a balance of organic and inorganic materials. Adding coffee grounds can upset this balance and hinder cactus growth. However, it’s important to know that both the Christmas Cactus and the Bolivian Torch Cactus prefer nitrogen-rich soil.

House Plant Fertilization Guide

Here’s a table that breaks down the 15 coffee-loving house plants, how to apply coffee grounds as a fertilizer, and how often to do so.

PlantFertilization MethodFrequency
Christmas CactusWater w/ coffee fertilizer teaTwice a week
HydrangeasMix coffee grounds into soil2-3 times a year
African VioletsMix coffee grounds into soilEvery few months
AzaleaMix coffee grounds into soilTwice a month (spring & summer)
FernsWater w/ coffee fertilizer teaBiweekly (growing season), Monthly (Fall), None (Winter)
Water with 1/2 cup black coffeeEvery 2-3 weeks
PhilodendronMix coffee grounds into soil or water w/ coffee fertilizer teaAs needed
Jade PlantMix coffee grounds into soil or spray w/ coffee fertilizer teaAs needed
Snake PlantsWater with 2:3 coffee to water solutionEvery 3 weeks
Golden PothosWater with coffee fertilizer tea or mix coffee grounds into soilOccasionally
CyclamenWater with 1:2 coffee to water solutionOnce or twice a week
Aloe VeraWater with coffee fertilizer teaFrequently (flowering season)
Spider PlantsMix coffee grounds into soilAlternate months
Peace LiliesMix coffee grounds into soilMonthly
Bolivian Torch CactusWater with coffee fertilizer tea or mix coffee grounds into soilTwice a week
Plant fertilization with coffee grounds guide

How do I fertilize my houseplants with coffee grounds?

Here are 4 of the most common methods for safely fertilizing your beloved houseplants using spent coffee grounds.

1: Make a Coffee Fertilizer Tea

If you’re looking for an excellent way to give your indoor plants an extra boost, you can brew coffee grounds to create a liquid fertilizer. Simply steep the coffee grounds in water for a few days, strain the mixture, and dilute it with water.

How to make coffee fertilizer:

  1. Gather 2 cups of spent coffee grounds.
  2. Combine the coffee grounds with 2 gallons of water.
  3. Mix the two together well.
  4. Pour the mixture around the soil of your plants.

You can use this organic fertilizer once a month to provide your plants with a nutrient-rich drink.

Pouring A Diluted Coffee Water Fertilizer Solution Onto Miniature Pink Roses
A diluted coffee fertilizer solution.

2: Add Coffee Grounds to your compost

Coffee grounds are also a valuable addition to your compost pile. When added to a compost bin or pile, coffee grounds contribute to the decomposition process and enrich the resulting compost with essential nutrients.

Incorporating coffee grounds into your compost will create a nutrient-rich organic fertilizer that can be used in your garden to nourish a wide range of plants.

3: Mix Coffee Grounds directly into Potting Soil

You can mix spent coffee grounds in small amounts into your potting soil. Use a quarter cup of grounds for every 4 to 6 cups of potting soil when repotting plants.

Mixing Spent Coffee Grounds Into Potting Soil
Twas a bit messy I admit

For existing plants, work a teaspoon or two (depending on the plant’s size) into the soil’s top surface area. Make sure to blend it in well to stop the soil from soaking up too much water in one place.

4: Sprinkle Dry Coffee Grounds onto the soil

Spread the coffee grounds on a tray or newspaper and let them dry completely. Once dry, sprinkle the coffee grounds onto the soil or mix them with compost before applying them to your plants.

Which outdoor plants like coffee grounds?

Coffee grounds are acidic and can be used to adjust the pH of your soil, favoring plants that prefer acidic conditions. Here are some outdoor plants that like coffee grounds:

Flowering PerennialsFruitsVegetables
LiliesWild StrawberriesPeppers
Outdoor plants that like coffee grounds as fertilizer
A Young Boy Smelling Rhododendrons
Rhododendrons love coffee grounds

Troubleshooting & Tips

Here are some common issues that will come up in your coffee fertilizing journey.

Avoid Using Flavored Coffees

Please remember that not all coffee grounds are the same. Avoid using flavored coffees or coffees with artificial ingredients on houseplants, as they may contain harsh chemicals that can harm plants. Instead, it’s best to stick with the grounds from plain coffee, whether regular or decaffeinated.

Only use spent coffee grounds

Also, it’s essential to note that we’re referring to spent coffee grounds, not fresh, un-brewed ones. Fresh coffee grounds are more acidic and can upset the balance of the soil’s PH levels. The brewing process reduces the acidic level in coffee grounds significantly.

Spent Coffee Grounds Surrounded By Plants And Moss
Make sure to use spent coffee grounds

Dealing with Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnats can be a common problem for indoor gardeners. These tiny insects thrive in moist soil conditions and can infest your houseplants. However, coffee grounds can help combat fungus gnats.

The caffeine in coffee is toxic to these pests, and when added to the soil, it can deter them from laying their eggs and prevent their population from growing.

Preventing Root Rot with Coffee Grounds

Overwatering can lead to root rot, a fungal disease that can be fatal to your houseplants. Coffee grounds, when used in moderation, can help improve soil drainage and prevent excessive water retention. This particularly benefits plants that prefer well-draining soil, such as succulents and snake plants.

Caution: Simply dumping coffee grounds on the soil surface of any indoor plant is not a good idea. Coffee grounds retain a lot of moisture, and if placed directly on the soil surface, they can oversaturate a plant’s root system, leading to root rot and other issues.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I use coffee grounds directly on my houseplants?

Spent Coffee Grounds Fertilizer

Yes, coffee grounds can be used directly on houseplants. However, it is recommended to use them in moderation and mix them into the soil or apply them as a top dressing to avoid potential issues with water retention or excessive acidity.

Can I use coffee grounds from decaf coffee?

Yes, regular and decaf coffee grounds can be used for your houseplants. The caffeine content in coffee grounds is not the primary factor for their beneficial effects on plant growth.

Can I fertilize my plants with coffee grounds from espresso or French press coffee?

Can You Fertilize Your Plants With Coffee Grounds From A French Press

Absolutely! Coffee grounds from any coffee brewing method can be used for your houseplants. The coffee grounds themselves contain beneficial organic matter and nutrients, regardless of the brewing technique.

How often should I apply coffee grounds to my houseplants?

It’s best to use coffee grounds sparingly and not overdo it. Applying coffee grounds once a month or as a top dressing every few months should be sufficient to provide your plants with the benefits of organic matter and nutrients.

Can I use coffee grounds for outdoor plants as well?


Yes, coffee grounds can be used for both indoor and outdoor plants. They offer similar benefits regarding organic matter, nutrient content, and soil conditioning.

Are there any houseplants that don’t like coffee grounds?

Cacti Don'T Like Coffee Grounds

While many houseplants benefit from coffee grounds, there are a few exceptions. Plants that prefer alkaline soil conditions, such as lily of the valley, may not appreciate the acidity introduced by coffee grounds. It’s always a good idea to research the specific needs of your plants before using coffee grounds as a fertilizer.


Coffee grounds can be an excellent natural fertilizer for certain houseplants, providing essential nutrients and promoting healthy growth. Snake plants, African violets, ZZ plants, jade plants, pothos, and spider plants are some examples of houseplants that generally enjoy the benefits of coffee grounds.

However, it’s crucial to use coffee grounds in moderation and avoid overdoing it, as excessive acidity can harm some plants. Remember to monitor your plants’ health and adjust the frequency of coffee ground application accordingly. So, if you have some coffee grounds lying around, why not give them to your houseplants and watch them thrive?!


  1. https://gardenforindoor.com/do-ferns-like-coffee-grounds/
  2. https://homesteadgardener.com/homemade-fertilizer-for-jade-plant/
  3. https://gardeningbank.com/which-plants-do-not-like-coffee-grounds/
Avatar Of Kelsey Todd
With over two decades in the coffee industry, Kelsey is a seasoned professional barista with roots in Seattle and Santa Barbara. Accredited by The Coffee Association of America and a member of The Baristas Guild, he combines practical expertise with a profound understanding of coffee's history and cultural significance. Kelsey tries his best to balance family time with blogging time and fails miserably.

Leave a Comment