If you want your stunning Bird of paradise to produce new blooms and healthy leaves, you must fertilize it properly. But what happens if you provide coffee grounds as fertilizer for your bird of paradise?
In general, Bird of paradise plants can benefit from coffee grounds, but adding that directly to the topsoil is not helpful as it can lead to water retention and root decay. Making a compost mix by adding coffee grounds is one of the best ways to rip the benefits of coffee grounds for your plant.
This article will help you understand the pros and cons of coffee grounds and the method to apply them correctly on your bird of paradise.
Table Of Contents
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Understanding the benefits of coffee grounds for plants
Coffee grounds are popular in the houseplant community because they can boost the growth of some plants and are readily available.
I have done a lot of research before applying coffee grounds to my plants, and that’s what I will share with you, so you make no mistakes.
The composition of coffee grounds and its effects on soil
Coffee grounds should be applied in small quantities.
The effects of the right application of coffee grounds on soil are:
- Improves the water retention of the soil.
- Improves soil drainage.
- Improves air circulation around the roots.
- Helps maintain the pH level of the soil.
The benefits of the coffee ground as a fertilizer
Coffee grounds are popular for a reason.
Here are all the benefits it provides:
- Adding coffee grounds directly to the soil makes it rich in nitrogen instantly. Due to more nitrogen content, the rate of photosynthesis increases, which helps the plant to grow faster.
- Other than nitrogen, coffee grounds also provides other necessary minerals for plants, such as phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium.
- Coffee grounds also add up organic matter to the soil. This increases the drainage, aeration, and moisture retention of the soil.
- Earthworms are easily attracted to coffee grounds. This helps in increasing plant growth.
- Coffee grounds also help in adjusting the pH level of the soil. It depends on whether the coffee is washed or unwashed. Unwashed coffee grounds are acidic, so when you add them to the soil, the soil pH will become more acidic. On the other hand, using washed coffee grounds makes the soil’s pH level neutral, i.e., 6.5.
It is better to use diluted coffee grounds as a bird of paradise loves to grow in neutral soil.
The effects of coffee grounds on plant growth and health
The growth mainly occurs due to nitrogen content.
Let’s discuss how exactly coffee grounds affect the plant.
- It encourages new foliage growth or blooms on the plant.
- It also helps in producing chlorophyll and encourages green growth.
- It helps in strengthening the stems.
- It encourages the plant to grow taller without any stunted growth.
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Applying coffee grounds to the bird of paradise plants
All the benefits I discussed above depend on how you apply the coffee grounds.
You cannot expect these with the wrong application, so let’s understand that.
The appropriate amount of coffee grounds to use
You should always apply little coffee grounds to the soil, especially to a bird of paradise.
The best way to fertilize a bird of paradise with coffee grounds is to use 1 teaspoon of coffee grounds in 1 gallon of water.
The frequency of application
You should fertilize birds of paradise after every 14 days during their growing season, i.e., spring and summer.
When I say fertilization, I don’t mean you always fertilize it with coffee grounds.
Alternate between your regular fertilizer and coffee grounds.
If you want to apply it during winter, you must do it only once monthly.
But it is better to avoid it.
It is not advised to use coffee grounds frequently on this plant; otherwise, it can risk the plant with over-acidification.
Tips for mixing coffee grounds with the soil
There is various method to apply coffee grounds on the bird of paradise.
Let’s discuss each in detail.
I have often used this method for my houseplants as it is one of the most convenient choices.
You don’t have to add coffee grounds directly to the soil here.
Instead, you must compost it with the right amount of brown and green materials.
The best ratio for composting brown and green materials is 4:1.
Green materials are rich in nitrogen.
Brown materials contain straws, dried leaves, wood chips, etc.
Mix the compost in the topsoil or add the compost with the potting mix.
Where 1 part will be compost and 3 parts will be a potting mix.
Things to remember:
- Avoid using wet compost; otherwise, it will not break down easily.
- Don’t use excess compost to avoid any harm.
You can also mulch your bird of paradise to add coffee grounds.
From my experience, I don’t suggest this method.
I also tried to mulch one of my houseplants in the past, but the soil got extremely soggy.
But even if you want to do, then let’s discuss the two best possible ways:
- You must consider ½ inch layer of coffee grounds and a 4-inch layer of mulch, i.e., barks and leaves. It is the best ratio to avoid a soggy environment.
- Mix coffee grounds with compost and then use it as mulch. You should also mix different organic matter to create a perfect balance.
Make sure the mulch you are creating is light.
Otherwise, you will have to face the same consequences I faced earlier.
3. Using it as a liquid fertilizer
Using coffee grounds as a liquid fertilizer is my favorite way.
I never faced any issues while applying this method to my houseplants.
Before we go through the methods, always remember to use soaked coffee grounds.
Here we will discuss the 3 best possible ways:
- Technique 1: Fill some water in a container and put coffee grounds in it. Then keep the container for 7 to 10 days approx. Make sure to blend the mix every day. This will allow coffee grounds to convert completely into the water. After the water becomes nutrient-rich with coffee grounds, you can apply it slowly on your bird of paradise.
- Technique 2: Keep the coffee grounds on a piece of cloth. Then tie it tightly. Take a water bucket, and place the cloth in the water. Then wait for a few days. You can also use a sock instead of a cloth. After waiting a few days, coffee grounds will break the nutrients into the water. When you see the water has turned brown, you can fertilize it on your bird of paradise.
- Technique 3: Boil the water and wait until it cools down. Then add coffee grounds to it and wait for 1 to 2 weeks. After the water has changed color, fertilize it.
4. Mixing coffee grounds in potting mix
If you want to apply coffee grounds as a slow-release fertilizer, mix it with the potting mix.
I have used this method only in time of repotting.
So, this method is the most suitable if you are repotting your bird of paradise.
Coffee grounds contain a fair amount of nutrients, so they can act as a great slow-release fertilizer for six months.
Take 1/4th of coffee grounds and 5-6 cups of well-drained potting soil and mix it well.
Then you can repot the bird of paradise by using this potting mix.
5. Mixing coffee grounds in topsoil
I don’t recommend you apply this method to your bird of paradise.
This method can be very stressful for the plant if applied in excess.
You need to be very careful while applying this method.
Mix only ½ or 1 teaspoon of coffee grounds well on the topsoil.
But never use it in excess.
Advantages and Disadvantages of using coffee grounds on bird of paradise
Let’s look at all the benefits and drawbacks of using coffee grounds on birds of paradise.
The benefits of using coffee grounds on bird of paradise
Here are the benefits:
1. Easily available: Coffee is the most common beverage everyone uses. So, it is easily available in the market, even in the nearest store to your house. There is no need to visit the nursery or fertilizer store to get coffee grounds.
2. Provides nitrogen to the soil: Coffee grounds contain a high amount of nitrogen, which helps increase the plant’s growth. Not only this, but coffee grounds are also rich in other nutrients necessary for most plants, such as phosphorus, iron, calcium, and magnesium.
3. Affordable: When using fertilizer, you must spend a lot of money. But coffee grounds are available in almost every household, so spending extra on fertilizers is unnecessary. You can add necessary nutrients to the plant without any extra costs.
4. Enhancing water retention: If the soil has a poor water retention capacity, coffee grounds can help improve that with their tiny particles. This can help the bird of paradise stay moist for a longer period.
5. Makes the soil aerated and well-drained: Coffee grounds help the soil reduce compaction and allow good air circulation among the root system. Eventually, the soil drainage also increases.
6. Keeps the cats away: A bird of paradise is mildly toxic to pets. By spreading coffee grounds on the soil surface, the cats will not come near the plant because they don’t like the smell of it.
7. Keeps slugs and snails away: As coffee grounds have a strong taste and smell, snails and slugs will always stay away from your bird of paradise.
8. Reduces waste: Coffee grounds will go directly to a dustbin if you do not use them for indoor plants. So using it for your bird of paradise will help the coffee grounds get recycled and will not add to pollution or waste.
The potential drawbacks and limitations
Now that you know the benefits, here are the drawbacks:
1. Can cause stunted growth in young plants: Coffee grounds should not be applied to young plants, shoots, and seedlings as they can cause stunted growth. Bird of paradise is popular for its huge size only, so applying coffee grounds will reduce its charm.
2. Can retain unnecessary moisture: Retaining moisture can act as both advantage and a disadvantage. Due to tiny particles in coffee grounds, the soil can retain excess moisture. Adding coffee grounds can cause overwatering issues if the soil is already compact.
3. Attracts pests: As coffee grounds promote excess moisture in the soil, they can attract pests such as aphids, scales, mealybugs, etc. This is because they love to thrive in moist conditions.
4. Root rot and fungal infections: Coffee ground promotes a soggy environment, which can cause fungal infections inside the soil. This can lead to root rot disease and other harmful fungal diseases that can kill your plant. This mainly occurs when you apply coffee grounds directly to the soil without dilution.
5. Soil becomes acidic: As unwashed coffee grounds are highly acidic, soil can also become extremely acidic. But rinsed coffee grounds are neutral, so it doesn’t affect the soil acidity. So you must always use rinsed coffee grounds for your bird of paradise.
6. Kills the necessary bacteria: Many microorganisms and bacteria stay in the soil and benefit the plant. But adding coffee grounds can kill them, which can cause weakness in the plant.
7. Creates sickness in the dog: Avoid applying coffee grounds to your bird of paradise if you have a dog in your house, as it doesn’t suit them.
Dogs can face serious health issues after consuming coffee grounds.
The impact of coffee grounds on soil pH and other factors
Coffee grounds change the pH level of the soil immediately after application.
PH level depends on 2 main things.
- Wet or washed coffee grounds: It has a neutral pH ranging from 6.5 to 6.8 ph. Bird of paradise requires a pH of 5.50 to 7.50. So, it means the soil doesn’t need to be acidic. Coffee grounds for a bird of paradise should always be applied after rinsing it with water to reduce the acidic texture. Otherwise, the plant cannot properly absorb nutrients from the soil, leaving it completely weak.
- Raw or unwashed coffee grounds: An unwashed coffee ground has a pH of 4.85 to 5.10 ph. This is mostly suitable for those indoor plants which love to thrive in an acidic environment. Applying raw coffee grounds directly to the soil can even burn the root system. So you should apply this until and unless the soil is extremely alkaline and you want to neutralize it.
Alternative fertilizers for a bird of paradise
Many plant enthusiasts prefer using coffee grounds as fertilizers for their Strelitzia.
I do not recommend that.
Here are a few things you should know about fertilizing a bird of paradise plant.
Common fertilizers for a bird of paradise
Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are the most important nutrients for a growing bird of paradise.
It is mostly known as N-P-K.
The ideal mixture for a bird of paradise is a 10-10-10 N-P-K ratio.
Common fertilizers for a bird of paradise are:-
- Granular fertilizer: This is a slow-release fertilizer. Here the nutrients are provided to the plant over time. For application, sprinkle it all over the soil surface and then water it.
- Liquid fertilizer: 10-10-10 NPK liquid fertilizer for a bird of paradise is easily available in the market (Both Concentrated and ready-to-use). Dilute it with water properly, and then apply it to the soil. Also, water the plant properly after applying.
- Fertilizer spikes: Fertilizer spikes are a type of fertilizer that releases the nutrients in the soil over time, just like slow-release. This is mostly used for shoots and seedlings. You will just have to push the spikes into the soil surface, and you are done.
The pros and cons of different types of fertilizers
|Type of fertilizer||Pros||Cons|
|Granular fertilizer||This can be applied very easily just by sprinkling, unlike liquid fertilizers.||If applied in excess, it can burn your bird of paradise.|
|Liquid fertilizer||It provides nutrients instantly to the soil.||Over-fertilization can cause root rot and burnt leaves.|
|Spikes fertilizer||As it is slow-release, you don’t have to worry about the measurements as it automatically applies nutrients to the soil over time.||It is very costly compared to granular or liquid fertilizers.|
Tips for selecting the right fertilizer for your plant
- First, you must consider the needs of your plant. Do a soil test to know which nutrient is missing from your plant and select it accordingly.
- Always choose a well-balanced fertilizer with an N-P-K ratio of 10-10-10. Choose the fertilizer ratio accordingly if there is any nutrient deficiency of one specific nutrient.
- Also, find the perfect pH level for the plant to know the suitable fertilizer.
- If you want an instant result, you can go for liquid fertilizer. But if you want to provide the nutrients slowly over time, go for granular or spikes fertilizer.
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Using coffee grounds is an alternative to fertilizer. It can have advantages and disadvantages, depending on how you apply it. I know you want to provide proper nutrients to your bird of paradise in the best possible manner. And providing coffee grounds is one of the good methods.
Always apply coffee grounds in very small amounts to avoid health issues. I have explained everything you need to know about using coffee grounds on birds of paradise plants. If you are unsure, use regular NPK fertilizer to fertilize your birds of paradise.
Can I use leftover coffee on a bird of paradise?
Yes, you can use leftover coffee grounds. I have done this for my houseplants. Mix the leftover coffee with water well and add it to the soil. However, ensure the temperature of the coffee is normal.
Is it better to use coffee grounds or a normal fertilizer?
Using a normal plant fertilizer is always better for fertilizing your plant. If coffee grounds are not used in the correct amount, the plant can experience severe damage.
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