Philodendron is a tropical plant that is easy to grow as it adjusts to different conditions, so it is recommended even for beginners. Philodendrons grow fast but require fertilizer for better growth. Many people like to use coffee grounds as fertilizer for their houseplants but are coffee grounds suitable for your philodendron? Let’s find out.
Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen which is an excellent fertilizer alternative for your philodendron if you can use them the right way. You can either make compost out of the grounds or make a liquid fertilizer using the coffee ground, which can boost the growth of philodendron.
Philodendrons can benefit from the coffee grounds as they are a rich nitrogen source required for the plant’s growth. If your philodendron is growing slow, adding coffee grounds will boost its growth.
However, you should understand the hazards of using coffee grounds before deciding to give them to your philodendron.
In this article, we will discuss if you should give coffee grounds to your philodendron.
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Are coffee grounds good for philodendrons?
Coffee grounds have gained popularity in the houseplant community as it is easily available and boosts the growth of the plants. Not only can one use it as a beverage but also give it to their plants as fertilizer.
Let’s find out how coffee grounds can help philodendrons.
Nitrogen: Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen, an essential element required for the growth of plants.
Although it is not easy for the plants to absorb Nitrogen, they need a lot of it for their growth.
If there is a Nitrogen deficiency in your philodendron, it leads to thinning of stems, stunted growth, and discolored leaves. If the plant doesn’t get Nitrogen for a prolonged period, it can even die.
Other minerals: Coffee grounds contain other minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. These minerals are excellent for the health of your philodendron.
However, there’s one thing that you need to be careful about. Coffee grounds can increase the pH level of the soil, making it acidic over time. So, before you consider adding coffee grounds to the soil, check its pH level to avoid it from getting too acidic.
Best way to use coffee on philodendron
Philodendrons can benefit from using coffee grounds if it is applied in the right way.
There are several ways of using coffee grounds on your philodendron. You can use it as liquid fertilizer, compost, add it to the soil or mix it with mulch, and use it as compost tea.
Let’s understand all the processes in more detail.
Coffee grounds are fine particles that decompose quickly. So you can add the coffee grounds to the compost.
The compost breaks down faster due to the presence of Nitrogen in the coffee grounds.
You should remember these points when composting coffee grounds:
- Ensure that the compost is light and dry. This will fight against the antibacterial properties of coffee grounds and fasten the decomposition process.
- Add bark, sticks, and dried leaves, etc., to the compost.
- Adding brown materials to the compost keeps it balanced.
- You must apply a small amount of compost as adding too much of it can harm the plant.
- Using cactus mix as the potting soil can help the compost to lighten up. Cactus mix will also support proper drainage of water.
- You can add the compost to the soil while repotting your philodendron. It is best to add one part of compost to three parts of potting soil.
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Add coffee grounds to the potting soil
You can add coffee grounds to the potting soil if you want to speed up the growth of your philodendron.
This is because coffee grounds will boost the nutrients in the soil that will, in turn, help the plant grow fast.
If you plan to repot or transplant your philodendron, you can add a handful of coffee ground to the soil along with other organic materials.
Mix coffee grounds with mulch
You can use coffee grounds on your philodendron by adding them to the mulch. Along with the coffee grounds, add organic matters such as compost and leaves to the mulch.
You should never add only coffee grounds in the mulch as that can have side effects.
If you don’t use coffee grounds correctly, it will form a layer on the soil and retain moisture, leading to fungal and bacterial growth.
There are two ways of using coffee grounds as mulch –
- You can add the coffee grounds to compost with other organic matter. Mix everything and add the mulch around the soil of the philodendron.
- One more way is to put a half-inch layer of coffee grounds to the soil and add a four-inch layer of mulch. This will be the correct ratio for your philodendron.
Coffee grounds as compost tea
You can use coffee grounds as compost tea for your philodendrons. It is also known as liquid fertilizer, and using this is the best method of adding coffee grounds to the soil.
Let’s understand how to create compost tea. You can do it in different ways, but two easy methods are –
- Place the coffee grounds inside a sock and keep it inside a bucket of water. Let it be for a few days. Allow the coffee grounds to seep into the water. Then you can pour it on the soil of the philodendron plant.
- You can mix two cups of used coffee grounds with five gallons of water. Let the coffee grounds soak overnight, and then you can add them to the soil the next day.
Water your philodendron within 48 hours from the time you added the coffee grounds. Not adding water will make the soil dry, so you must not skip this.
Water your philodendron thoroughly so that water reaches all parts of the roots.
Disadvantages of using coffee grounds on philodendron
Coffee grounds can damage your philodendron if you use it the wrong way.
So, before adding coffee grounds to your philodendron, take a look at all the disadvantages it can cause.
It can make the soil acidic
Philodendrons prefer the soil to be slightly acidic, but if the acidity increases, the plant will not tolerate it. The ideal pH level requirement of philodendron is between 5.0 and 6.0.
If the soil your philodendron is planted in is already acidic, adding coffee grounds in any form will increase the acidity that will burn the plant’s roots.
It will retain excess moisture
Philodendrons like their soil to remain slightly moist, but excess moisture retention can cause overwatering, leading to root rot.
Houseplants don’t enjoy being overwatered, and excess moisture retention will be deadly for the philodendron.
Coffee grounds have fine particles that can change the soil’s texture after mixing and making it clayey. Due to this, the soil will retain more water than required.
So you should avoid adding coffee grounds directly to the soil.
It will hinder the growth of young plants
Coffee grounds can boost the growth of mature philodendrons, but you must not apply them on young plants or cuttings.
Young plants don’t prefer acidic soil, and the coffee grounds can make the soil acidic. While mature plants can tolerate acidity, young plants can’t.
So you must refrain from adding coffee grounds to your philodendron.
We already discussed how coffee grounds could retain excess moisture and water in the soil.
If you add coffee grounds directly to the soil, it will create an ideal environment for fungal and bacterial growth.
Adding coffee grounds as compost or liquid fertilizer will prevent fungus and bacteria attacks.
Coffee grounds are known for their antibacterial properties. This can work great for humans but might not be very good for your plants, including your philodendron.
If you add coffee grounds directly to the soil or use an excess of it, the good microorganisms and bacteria in the soil might get killed. These are important for the growth of the plants, and the plant can struggle with different problems if these die.
The soil will become too hard
Clayey soil is not ideal for philodendrons. But adding too many coffee grounds can make the soil clayey. This type of soil becomes very hard when it dries.
This type of soil will hinder the growth of the philodendron as the philodendrons don’t prefer soil that gets bone dry.
Therefore, you should add other organic matter to the coffee grounds to maintain a balance.
How much coffee ground should you add to the philodendrons?
The amount of coffee ground you add to the soil will depend upon the volume of the soil.
You can add a handful of coffee grounds and spread it evenly on the soil to form a thin layer. Add a layer of mulch on the layer of the coffee grounds.
You should not add too many coffee grounds as that will retain excess moisture and be the reason for other diseases in the plant.
How often should coffee grounds be added to philodendron?
You should not use coffee grounds too often. Don’t make it a replacement for the regular fertilizer.
If you add coffee grounds as compost or mulch, you should add it once every 2-3 months.
If you are using coffee grounds as compost tea, you can apply it once a month.
Coffee grounds can boost the growth of your philodendron significantly if it is growing slowly.
You can use coffee grounds as compost along with other organic matter or make compost tea out of it and give it to your philodendron.
However, don’t let the soil’s pH level drop below 5.0, as that would become too acidic for your philodendron.
Avoid using coffee grounds on baby philodendron plants as it can hinder the growth of the plant.
You can always use the coffee ground to boost the growth of your philodendron. But that doesn’t mean it can replace traditional fertilizers. It is still recommended to use a well-balanced fertilizer like Espoma Indoor Liquid Plant Food.
Source: Coffee grounds benefits, Field Evaluation of Coffee Grounds Application for Crop Growth, Effect of fresh and composted spent coffee grounds.