Alocasia or Elephant Ears is an exotic tropical plant with large green leaves. One common question among plant owners is whether their plants will benefit from coffee grounds. If you want to know whether your Alocasia will like coffee grounds, you are at the right place.
If used correctly, coffee grounds can make your Alocasia grow faster as it contains a lot of Nitrogen that boosts plants’ growth. But, if you don’t know the right way to use coffee grounds, the beneficial microbes will get destroyed, causing other problems like leaf burn and brown leaves.
You should use coffee grounds on your Alocasia if you know how to use them correctly. Before you decide, let’s understand the pros and cons of using coffee grounds on Alocasia.
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Are coffee grounds good for Alocasia?
Coffee grounds can benefit your Alocasia if you use them the right way.
Here are the reasons:
- Coffee grounds add nitrogen to the soil, which boosts the plant’s growth.
- Coffee grounds can increase the soil’s acidity if the soil doesn’t have enough already.
- Coffee grounds help the soil retain moisture that can be helpful if the soil you are using is too loose.
- Coffee grounds can act as a pet deterrent and keep the pets away from your Alocasia.
- Coffee grounds can kill pests like slugs and snails.
- Coffee grounds also contain potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Potassium helps in protein synthesis, calcium extends the cell walls, and magnesium helps produce chlorophyll.
However, before adding coffee grounds to your Alocasia, check the soil’s pH with a pH Test Kit.
Alocasia prefers slightly acidic soil with pH levels between 5.5 to 6.5.
If the soil is already acidic, adding coffee grounds will increase the acidity drastically and make the soil even more acidic and unsuitable for the plant.
Instead of using coffee grounds directly on the soil, you should apply them in the correct way.
How often should I use coffee grounds on Alocasia?
You should use coffee grounds on Alocasia once in a while.
You should not use coffee grounds every time you fertilize your Alocasia.
Your plant will not react well if you use coffee grounds too often.
If you are unsure how often you should use coffee grounds, start using them once a month.
If your Alocasia reacts well to this, you can continue doing this.
If not, and if you notice signs of stress, you must stop using coffee grounds once a month and try to increase the gap.
If the plant doesn’t react well even when with that, stop using coffee grounds altogether.
Therefore, the best way of using coffee grounds on your Alocasia is to use them sparingly.
Pros and cons of using coffee grounds on Alocasia
|Adding coffee grounds to Alocasia adds nutrients like Nitrogen, Potassium, and other essential nutrients to the soil.||Coffee grounds increase the soil’s acidity, so coffee grounds will make it more acidic if the soil is already acidic.|
|Coffee grounds contain high amounts of Nitrogen that are responsible for boosting the growth of your Alocasia.||Excess coffee grounds can also cause stunted growth in your Alocasia.|
|Coffee grounds improve the retention capacity of the soil, so if the soil drains water too fast, you can add coffee grounds to improve its retention.||Adding excess coffee grounds can make the soil retain excess water, making the soil soggy.|
|Adding coffee grounds to the soil can improve the drainage of the water.||Since coffee grounds can make the soil soggy, they can attract pests such as scales, mealybugs, aphids, etc.|
|If the soil is too compact, adding coffee grounds can loosen the particles and increase the airflow and allow the roots to stay healthy and breathe.||Excess coffee grounds will make the soil soggy and thus, promote fungal growth, which can even kill your Alocasia.|
|You can reduce waste by not throwing the coffee grounds and using them on your Alocasia.||Young plants usually don’t react well to coffee grounds, so you must not use coffee grounds on your young Alocasia.|
|Adding coffee grounds can repel cats and keep them away from your Alocasia.||Coffee grounds are not good for dogs and can cause health problems if it ingests the coffee grounds.|
What is the best way to use coffee grounds on Alocasia?
If you want your Alocasia to get the benefits from the coffee grounds, you need to use them the right way.
Coffee grounds as a mulch
Mulching is mostly done on outdoor plants, but you can do it for your outdoor and indoor Alocasia.
However, you must be careful when using mulch coffee grounds as you don’t want to use too much.
You must not use coffee grounds alone and rather use other organic matter such as dried leaves, straw, etc. so that the plant can get a lot of nutrients.
Using coffee grounds as mulch can help you retain moisture in the soil and not allow the plant to dehydrate.
You must not try this on young plants or seedlings as coffee grounds can restrict their growth.
Coffee grounds as compost
Compost is a great way of using coffee grounds on your Alocasia.
Composting is a great way of providing different nutrients to Alocasia, and you can add coffee grounds to the compost pile.
Before you try this, there are a few things you should know.
Compost contains two types of elements:
- Green: Coffee grounds fall under this as it is high in Nitrogen.
- Brown: Dried leaves fall under this category as they contain a lot of carbon.
When making the compost, you must ensure that the ratio of browns to greens should be 3:1.
Adding green and brown elements ensures that the plant evenly gets all the required nutrients.
Since potted Alocasia plants don’t get nutrients naturally, compost adds similar nutrients to the soil and makes it suitable for the plant.
There are many ways of adding coffee grounds as compost:
- You can add it as a layer on top of the soil.
- You can add it to the soil while repotting your Alocasia.
- You can mix it with the topsoil.
Whichever way you use it, keep the following things in mind, so you don’t make any mistakes.
- Coffee grounds can make the soil retain moisture for longer. When using coffee grounds as compost, you must check the watering and make sure you are not overwatering the plant. Never water your Alocasia without checking the soil’s moisture.
- Avoid using more than 1 inch of compost as too much can burn the roots and foliage.
- Compost might give out some smell that many people don’t want in their house. To avoid that, mix coffee grounds very well with the soil.
Coffee grounds as liquid fertilizer
The best way of using coffee grounds on Alocasia is to make a liquid fertilizer or a compost tea.
To make the liquid fertilizer, you need:
- Coffee grounds
- A container
- Add water to the container and put it on the gas.
- Let the water simmer, and then turn the gas off.
- Allow the water to cool down.
- Add the coffee grounds to the water and let them soak for 1-2 weeks.
- Keep stirring after every few days.
- After the coffee grounds break down and fill the water with nutrients, strain it and use it on your Alocasia.
Using the coffee grounds as liquid fertilizer will add beneficial bacteria to the soil that will be good for the Alocasia.
Can I add leftover coffee to my Alocasia?
Coffee is a popular beverage, and you will find it in every other household.
Plant owners tend to use leftover coffee on their houseplants, so it is not unusual if this question pops in your head.
But before adding leftover coffee to your Alocasia, make sure to follow these:
- Add water to the leftover coffee to dilute it.
- Don’t add hot or cold coffee to your Alocasia, as it can shock the plant. Let it cool down and reach a room temperature that is comfortable for the plant.
- Don’t add coffee grounds to the leaves or flowers as that can damage them.
Other options to fertilize Alocasia naturally
If you don’t want to use coffee grounds on your Alocasia, here are some alternatives.
- Use aquarium water: If you have an aquarium at your house, use that to water your Alocasia instead of throwing it away while changing the water. The fish poop inside the water will add Nitrogen to the soil.
- Use seaweed tea: You can buy dried seaweed from the store and blend 2-3 cups in a blender. Pour this into a container and add half gallon water to it. Leave this for 6-10 hours and strain it. Dilute this with water while using it on your Alocasia.
- Use kitchen waste: You can use banana peels or eggshells to fertilize your Alocasia instead of throwing them away. While banana peels are a great source of potassium, eggshells add calcium and nitrogen to the soil.
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Adding coffee grounds is not compulsory, but it can boost the Nitrogen content of your Alocasia, thus boosting its growth.
As long as you know how to use coffee grounds correctly on Alocasia, you can help your plant get all the benefits from it.
The best way to use coffee grounds on Alocasia is by mulching, composting, or making a liquid fertilizer. You must avoid adding coffee grounds directly to the soil or too often, which causes most problems.
Coffee grounds are not a substitute for the regular fertilizer you give to your Alocasia. Coffee grounds are fine for occasional use.
Observe your Alocasia after using coffee grounds on it. Continue if it reacts well, or else you can reduce the amount or frequency or stop altogether.