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Do Fiddle Leaf Figs Like Coffee? (Pros and Cons)

Before you use coffee on fiddle leaf figs, you need to understand if the plant likes coffee or not. Coffee doesn’t work well on all houseplants.

Many houseplant owners want to use coffee as a natural fertilizer as it is readily available and has a lot of nitrogen that is a vital component of plant fertilizers. Let’s find out if fiddle leaf figs like coffee.

Coffee grounds are beneficial for your fiddle leaf fig when added in small quantities. It is good when used as compost or liquid fertilizer but can be harmful if added directly. Excessive use of coffee grounds can make the soil acidic resulting in root burn, stunted growth, and fungus problems.

Before you use coffee on fiddle leaf figs, let’s discuss the different ways of using it, the hazards, and the risks associated with it.

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Are coffee grounds good for fiddle leaf figs?

Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen. And nitrogen is an essential component that is added to the fertilizers to help the plants grow. 

However, coffee grounds don’t add the other nutrients that the plant requires.

Coffee grounds work well for plants that love acidity in the soil. But most houseplants don’t like acidic soil.

The soil tends to get acidic naturally over time, and adding coffee ground makes it even more acidic.

The ideal pH for fiddle leaf figs is 6.5-7. Anything below 6 is acidic, and if the pH level of the soil of your fiddle leaf fig is below 6, you will start noticing problems in it.

When you brew coffee, the pH level of it turns 5.2 to 6.9. It varies depending upon the type of coffee grounds you are using. Therefore, you need to be very careful while using coffee grounds on your fiddle leaf fig.

How often should I put coffee grounds on my fiddle leaf fig?

Coffee grounds are famous among houseplant lovers because it is said that coffee grounds can boost the growth of plants.

Adding coffee grounds to the soil can indeed help in the plant’s growth, but doing it too often will not be beneficial.

So if you are wondering how many times you should add coffee grounds to your fiddle leaf fig, the answer is once in one or two months. Make sure that the plant is responding well to it.

You can add diluted coffee that has no cream or sugar added to it. It should not be too hot as that would shock or stress the plant. The best way to use coffee is in the form of compost or liquid fertilizer.

Also read: Do fiddle leaf fig need fertilizer? How much? How often?

Best ways to use coffee on fiddle leaf figs

Adding coffee grounds directly to your fiddle leaf fig is going to be harmful to it.

The coffee grounds add up on the soil’s surface and create a mulch layer that slows down the drainage system, retains water, and doesn’t let the water evaporate. This creates an environment for fungus growth and root rot.

You can use coffee grounds for your fiddle leaf figs by mixing them with the existing soil and ensuring that the drainage system is still working correctly.

Let us look at the different ways of using coffee grounds on fiddle leaf figs.

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Compost

Coffee ground is rich in nitrogen and adding it to the compost is a great way to use it.

But coffee grounds alone can’t provide all the required minerals such as phosphorus or potassium, so you would need to add other elements in the compost to make it suitable for your fiddle leaf fig. 

You can add 15-20% coffee ground to your garden or kitchen waste and make organic compost rich in all the nutrients your plant needs.

You should never add too much coffee to create imbalanced compost and increase the soil acidity.

After preparing the compost, you can add it to your fiddle leaf fig once every 6-8 weeks and keep a check on how the plant is responding to it.

Keep these in mind while preparing the compost:

  • Keep the compost light and dry.
  • Add bark, sticks, and dried leaves to even out the nitrogen of the coffee ground.
  • If you plan to repot your fiddle leaf fig, adding the compost to the potting soil will be the best thing to do.
  • Don’t go overboard with composting as that would have adverse effects on the plant.
  • The compost will retain water, so make sure that you are not overwatering it.

Liquid fertilizer

Adding coffee grounds directly to the fiddle leaf fig is not suggested. Instead, you can make a liquid fertilizer and use it.

Making a liquid fertilizer is easy as you need to take a container, fill it with water, and then add coffee grounds to it and let it soak for a week or two. Stir it every few days.

After a few days, you will notice that the coffee has started to break down, and the nutrients will get mixed in that water. After that, you can use a cloth to strain the water out and give it to your fiddle leaf fig.

The roots of your plant can get burnt if you do this too often.

After you have applied the liquid fertilizer, check the plant’s response to it and then move ahead with it. If it responds well and does not show any problems, you can keep doing this once in a while.

However, the plant can have problems if coffee is not working well for it or if there is something wrong with how you are using it. Let’s find out what problems you can expect after using coffee on your plant.

The adverse effect of using coffee on fiddle leaf figs

Using coffee is risky as there can be many adverse effects, especially for those houseplants that don’t enjoy acidic soil.

The problem with the signs is that the same signs you will see if there is a problem of under-fertilization.

So if you think you are fertilizing the plant properly and it still is having problems, you should consider checking the soil’s pH level to find out if it is acidic.

Here are the signs that coffee is not working great for your fiddle leaf fig.

Yellowing leaves

Fiddle leaf fig yellow

Yellowing leaves is one of the most common signs of excess acidity in the soil. Fiddle leaf figs don’t like acidic soil, and a pH level below 6 means that the soil is too acidic for it.

The ideal pH level for your fiddle leaf fig should be 6.5-7.

If you notice the leaves of your fiddle leaf fig turning yellow and start looking dull and unhealthy, you should check the soil’s pH level.

Consider checking the soil’s pH level frequently, especially if you are using the coffee ground, to make sure that the soil has not become too acidic for the plant.

Stunted growth

Stunted growth in plants is usually caused due to inadequate fertilizers.

The plants fail to get as much nutrition as it needs and the growth slows down.

However, when the soil’s pH level increases more than what is favorable for the plant, it will show stunted growth as a sign.

Using coffee grounds too often can lead to stunted growth in your fiddle leaf fig.

If you keep a check on the soil’s pH level, you will be able to figure out the reason early enough.

Moisture retention

Using coffee grounds directly on the soil of your fiddle leaf fig can lead to moisture retention. The coffee grounds form mulch on the soil that doesn’t let the water drain or evaporate.

If the soil of your fiddle leaf fig doesn’t have the correct elements that let the water drain away quickly, it will add to this problem.

Moisture retention creates an environment that supports the growth of fungus and can also lead to root rot.

Attracts pests

Many pests are attracted to coffee grounds, so adding it directly to the soil will attract pests.

You should never add coffee grounds directly and use them in the compost instead.

How to correct soil acidity?

If your fiddle leaf fig is experiencing problems and you have figured that the soil has become acidic, you need to take specific steps to fix the problem.

  • Repot the fiddle leaf fig using well-draining soil in a pot that has drainage holes.
  • Keep a check on the soil’s pH level to make sure that the soil has not become too acidic for the plant.
  • The plant should get enough light so that the soil doesn’t retain too much moisture.
  • If you cannot repot the plant, you can use alkaline water drops to reduce the soil’s acidity.

Final words

You can add diluted coffee to your fiddle leaf to boost its growth, but you should not do this often.

It is recommended to use compost and liquid fertilizer instead of coffee ground for the ideal growth of your plants. An excellent organic alternative of coffee ground shall be Espoma Indoor Liquid Plant Food.

Consider repotting the plant every 2-3 years to ensure that the soil has not turned too acidic.


Source:  Coffee grounds benefitsField Evaluation of Coffee Grounds Application for Crop GrowthEffect of fresh and composted spent coffee grounds.

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