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Do Schefflera Plants Like Coffee Grounds? (Important Tips+How To)

Schefflera plants are tropical plants grown as houseplants worldwide due to their distinctive foliage. But one common question plant owners might wonder is if they can feed the plant with coffee grounds for better growth and health.

Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen which can be good fertilizer for your Schefflera. The best way to use coffee grounds is to make compost, mulch, and liquid fertilizer out of it and use the same to feed the Schefflera plant. Avoid excessive use of the same as it leads to several problems.

Schefflera plants can get many benefits from coffee if used in the correct way and proportion. However, it is important to know that incorrect use of coffee grounds can harm the plant.

This article will discuss how you can use coffee grounds and the precautions you need to know before using them for your Schefflera. 


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Are coffee grounds good for Schefflera?

Coffee grounds are available in almost every household, and they act as an excellent fertilizer for your plant.

They have multiple benefits that boost your plant’s health and growth.

Coffee grounds also make the soil acidic, which Schefflera prefers.

But incorrect usage can be bad for the plant as it can make the soil soggy and increase the soil’s acidity.

Let’s understand the benefits of coffee grounds for your Schefflera.

Multiple benefits of Nitrogen

Coffee is rich in nitrogen, an essential fertilizer for your Schefflera as it’s required for the plant’s growth.

  • Coffee grounds help the Schefflera absorb sunlight, which helps the plant make energy.
  • Nitrogen helps the plant maintain the color of the plant’s foliage.
  • Coffee grounds also help grow new foliage.

Nitrogen deficiency in Schefflera can lead to several complications like stunted growth, pale leaves, thinning of the stems, and wilted leaves.

If this problem is not cured, the plant may lose its life.  

Easily available and cost-effective

Coffee is easily available in almost all homes, so it makes it easy to use without investing money in buying it separately from the market.

Improves soil quality

Schefflera soil

Coffee grounds are a storehouse of many important minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, and phosphorous, which are excellent storehouses of nutrients for the Schefflera plant.

This improves the overall soil quality of your plant.

Also read: What Kind Of Soil Does A Schefflera Plant Need? (+Ideal DIY Soil Mix)

Improves moisture retention

Schefflera plants are tropical plants like slightly moist soil.

Adding coffee grounds make the soil retain more moisture which helps the plant thrive. 


Looking for a readymade indoor plant soil mix that you can open and pour? Check out rePotme. They offer a wide range of readymade soil premixes for all your indoor plants.


Improves drainage

The organic matters like compost and leaves that you add along with coffee help loosen up the soil and improve drainage.

It makes the soil light and well-draining 

Reduce and reuse waste

Utilizing the used coffee grounds as compost reduces the amount of waste.

Repels cats

Cats hate the smell of coffee and are highly repelled by it.

Also read: Are Schefflera Plants Poisonous? (Dogs, Cats & Other Animals)

Best way to use coffee grounds on Schefflera

Schefflera plants can get all the important nutrients from the coffee grounds if they are correctly given to the plant.

Incorrect usage can create further problems for your Schefflera, harming the plant.

So before using coffee, you must know the right ways to help your plant avoid any damage to the plant.

Let us now discuss the correct techniques to use coffee grounds.

Adding coffee grounds as a compost

The fine particles of the coffee grounds decompose quickly, so it is good to add coffee grounds to your compost.

You can add your coffee grounds to the kitchen waste to make compost for your plant. 

The coffee’s high nitrogen content helps the compost break down fast.

There are a few things you must remember when you add coffee to the compost:

  • Ensure the compost is light and dry and not too soggy and wet. This helps the coffee grounds decompose fast because it fights the antibacterial properties of the coffee.
  • You should add a small amount of compost to keep it light.
  • Using cactus or succulent mix for the compost keeps the compost light. It also aids the drainage of the water, keeping it dry and light.
  • This compost can be added to the Schefflera while repotting your plant. The recommended ratio is 3 parts soil and 1 part compost.
  • Check the watering routine. Coffee grounds in compost can make the soil heavy, so always check the soil before watering and water only when the soil is dry.
  • Compost tends to become smelly as the elements begin to decompose. Adding soil to it prevents the smell of the compost.
  • Do not add more than 1 inch of compost as that can lead to root burn in the plant due to the high amount of nitrogen.

Adding coffee grounds to potting soil

Another way to add coffee grounds to the plant is by adding them to the potting soil.

This will help increase the growth rate of Schefflera because of the availability of the nutrients in the coffee that kicks the plant’s growth.

If you intend to repot your Schefflera, you can add a handful of coffee grounds to the soil and various other organic elements.

Mix coffee grounds with mulch

Another way to add coffee to your plant is by adding it as mulch.

Mulching is commonly seen in outdoor gardens; however, you can also follow them in container gardening.

In mulching, you put a layer of mulch over the soil’s surface instead of mixing it with the soil.

But if you follow this step, it is highly recommended never to add only coffee grounds to mulch the plant but add other organic matters like leaves, wood chips, dried bark, and compost.

Adding only coffee grounds as mulch can make it retain too much moisture, which will lead to bacterial and fungus growth.

There are the following two ways to mulch your Schefflera with coffee grounds:

  • You can add half-inch layer of coffee grounds on the soil surface and an additional four-inch layer of mulch.
  • You can add the coffee grounds to the compost and other organic elements like leaves. Mix everything well and add this around the soil surface of your Schefflera.

Coffee grounds as compost tea

Another way to add coffee to the plant is by adding it in the form of compost tea.

This is also known as liquid fertilizer and is the most recommended method to add coffee to the soil.

In this, you dilute the coffee grounds with water which helps reduce any risk to the plant and is, therefore, most recommended for houseplants.

Let us discuss the way to prepare a compost tea.

Two of the most popular methods are:

  • Add the coffee grounds inside an old sock and submerge it inside a bucket of water. Keep it like that for a few days. The coffee grounds will seep into the water, gradually changing its color. After a few days, you can add this water to your plant.
  • Pour 2 cups of coffee into 5 gallons of water and soak it for a few days. The coffee particles will start breaking down, adding nutrients to the water. Strain this water and use this to water the plants. 

Water your plant 48 hours from when you choose to add the coffee grounds. 

While watering, make sure all the roots absorb the water and come out of the drain hole.

Disadvantages of using coffee grounds on Schefflera

Coffee grounds have numerous benefits, but if used incorrectly can damage your Schefflera too.

It is important to know the damage it can cause to your plant to avoid any. 

It can make the soil excessive acidic

Schefflera plants like slightly acidic soil, with a pH between 6.0 to 6.5, but coffee grounds can make soil highly acidic, harming the plants if used incorrectly.

If your plant’s soil is already acidic, coffee grounds can increase it even more, which can burn the roots of your Schefflera. 

It will retain excess moisture

Schefflera moisture meter

Schefflera plants prefer the soil to remain slightly moist but not too soggy.

Coffee grounds can retain too much moisture in the soil, which increases the chances of overwatering.

This is because the fine particles of coffee can hold moisture and make the texture of the soil clayey which retains more water than required.

This is why it is recommended not to add coffee directly to the soil.

If you use coffee for your plant, make sure the pot has drainage holes and add some perlite to the soil to keep it well-draining.

Stunted growth 

Excessive use of coffee grounds can damage the plant’s roots and burn them.

This will stop the growth of the plant.



Pest infestations

The moist soil condition that coffee grounds can create invites pets to your plants like mealy bugs, thrips, snails, and scales that thrive in moist soil.

It can hinder the growth of young plants

Coffee grounds can boost the growth of mature Schefflera plants.

However, you should never add them to your young umbrella plants.

Young plants cannot tolerate acidic soil, and the high acid content of the coffee grounds can burn the plants.

Fungal growth

As we have already discussed, coffee grounds can retain a lot of moisture, becoming a breeding ground for fungus.

Adding coffee directly to the soil will create moisture, so you can use it as a liquid fertilizer or as compost, which helps prevent fungus growth.

This can ultimately kill your plant if not checked. 

Antibacterial effect

Coffee grounds have a lot of antibacterial properties, which is great for humans.

However, they are not always recommended for plants.

Adding coffee grounds directly to the soil can kill all the good bacteria and microorganisms in the soil, which are essential for the plant’s growth. 

The soil can become heavy

Adding excess coffee grounds to the soil can change the texture of the soil and make it clayey.

Schefflera plants thrive in light loamy soil, and clayey soil is not suitable. 

This type of soil holds a lot of moisture and stays heavy and soggy for longer. 

So to prevent this problem, it is recommended to add organic elements like leaves and compost, and bark along with coffee ground to keep the mix light. 

How much coffee ground should you add to the Schefflera? 

The amount of coffee you should use for the Schefflera plant depends on the amount of soil and the size of the plant.

Adding excess coffee grounds can hold a lot of moisture which can invite disease and fungus.

So you can add a handful of coffee ground to the soil, spread it evenly, and then layer it with a thick layer of mulch.

Or, you can make a liquid fertilizer and use it alternatively with your regular fertilizer.

How often should coffee grounds be added to Schefflera?

Remember that coffee cannot replace regular fertilizer, and hence it is not meant for regular use in your plant.

If you add coffee grounds as mulch, you can do that twice a year in March and September.

If you use coffee as a liquid fertilizer or compost tea, you can add that every 2 months.

Is leftover coffee good for your Schefflera?

Many plant owners tend to add leftover coffee to the soil.

You can do this, but there are a few points you should remember.

  • Do not pour the hot coffee into the soil, which might send the plant to shock and damage it. It is important to cool down the coffee and then add it.
  • While pouring the coffee into the soil, ensure it does not touch the leaves or any parts of the plant as that can burn it. Pour it right into the soil without touching the leaves.
  • Dilute the coffee with water so that it does not damage the plant. 

Final thoughts

From the above discussion, we can conclude that coffee grounds can be an excellent food for your Schefflera or umbrella plant as long as you use them correctly.

You can add coffee to the plant as compost tea or as compost mixed with other organic elements. Do not use it directly on the soil, and do not add it to baby plants.

Adding coffee is recommended for occasional feeding, and you must not replace it fully with your regular fertilizer. Remember, incorrect, and excess usage can damage the plant.


Reference: WikipediaSciencedirectBritannicaAmerican Society for Horticultural ScienceSchefflera taxonomic history.