Coffee grounds have gained popularity lately because of their easy access and excellent nitrogen source for houseplants. But how you use coffee grounds for your peperomia can determine the health of the plant. Before you use coffee grounds to fertilize your peperomia, you need to understand if peperomia likes coffee grounds. Let’s find out.
Peperomia can benefit from coffee grounds, as it is an excellent source of nutrients for the plant. The best way to use coffee grounds is to make a liquid fertilizer or compost from it that can be dosed every other month to supplement the traditional fertilizer.
Before you make up your mind, we will discuss all the advantages and disadvantages of using coffee grounds and different ways of using the coffee grounds for your peperomia so that the plant can benefit from it.
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Are coffee grounds good for peperomia?
The best thing about coffee grounds is that it is made of organic material and is a rich nitrogen source.
Nitrogen boosts the plant’s growth, which is why many plant owners like to add coffee grounds to their houseplants to notice a significant growth in them.
Since coffee grounds contain organic material, it can improve soil structure and make the soil well-draining if you use it correctly.
Besides nitrogen, coffee grounds also contain calcium, potassium, and magnesium that help the houseplants in different ways.
Calcium helps to extend the cell wall so that the plants can grow. It also helps the cell walls remain strong. Potassium helps in protein synthesis and the opening and closing of the stomata. And magnesium helps in chlorophyll production and helps the seeds to germinate.
All these factors make coffee useful for houseplants.
If the soil is not as acidic as your peperomia prefers, you can use the coffee grounds to increase the soil’s acidity.
You must, however, be careful about the quantity of coffee grounds you are adding to your peperomia.
If you decide to add coffee grounds as compost, do not add too much of it as it will be a bad idea for your peperomia.
How often should I put coffee grounds on my peperomia?
Coffee grounds can benefit your peperomia, but that doesn’t indicate that you can use them frequently or daily. If you are using coffee grounds as mulch or compost, you can use them once a month.
We recommend that you use coffee grounds alternatively with other fertilizers as coffee grounds don’t contain all the nutrients your plant requires. Using coffee grounds alternatively with a well-balanced fertilizer will provide all the required nutrients to your houseplants, leading to their healthy growth.
You must be very careful while using coffee grounds. Too much coffee can make the soil too much acidic. Too much acidity in the soil will burn the roots and leaves and cause other peperomia problems.
You must check the soil’s pH level if you are using coffee grounds to make sure that it is suitable for your peperomia. You can get a pH test kit and perform a test to figure out the soil’s acidity.
Disadvantages of using coffee grounds
We always stress that you should apply coffee grounds correctly to draw their benefits.
But many people apply coffee grounds in the wrong way, due to which their houseplants start facing problems. We will discuss some of these problems.
Adding coffee grounds directly to the soil
You cannot use coffee on the houseplants right from the mug. If you do that, you will create a layer that will prevent the water from evaporating from the soil.
The soil will retain more moisture than required, and this will make the soil soggy. The roots will remain wet and might be prone to root rot, leading to pest infestation and fungus attack.
Root rot itself can also bring other problems such as stunted growth, weak plant and can ultimately kill the plant if not treated on time.
Adding coffee grounds too frequently
Peperomia prefers rich but light potting soil. Adding coffee grounds too frequently will make the soil heavy and will not let it drain water quickly.
Coffee grounds can also increase the acidity of the soil if you add them too frequently. Too much acidity can burn the roots of the peperomia plant.
Coffee grounds only repel pests like slugs and ants. But coffee grounds cannot repel other pests such as fungus gnats and flies, and other such pests.
Pests can absorb all the nutrients out of your peperomia and make the plant weak and cause stunted growth as well.
To avoid these problems, use coffee grounds as liquid fertilizer or compost instead of adding coffee grounds directly to the soil.
If you add coffee grounds directly to the topsoil, it can cause fungal growth. The coffee grounds take time to break down and might attract fungus during that period.
Fungal diseases are very hard to get rid of and can lead to other issues if you don’t treat them quickly. To avoid these problems, you can add coffee grounds as compost or mulch.
The best is to use coffee grounds on your peperomia is to use it as liquid fertilizer.
If you have a young peperomia plant, adding coffee grounds directly to the soil can stunt the plant’s growth.
It is best to avoid using coffee grounds when you have a young plant or plan to repot that plant.
Although there is no evidence of the effects of coffee grounds on young plants, you must still avoid it to stay on the safe side.
Best way to use coffee grounds on peperomia
All your doubts about the benefits and drawbacks of using coffee grounds might be clear by now. So we will discuss the different ways of using coffee grounds on your peperomia.
Plant-owners make the most common mistake in adding coffee grounds directly to the soil, which is the easiest thing to do.
But you know that adding coffee grounds directly to the soil can lead to pest infestation, fungal diseases, and stunted growth.
So, how can you use coffee grounds on your peperomia?
You can do so with three different ways, which are:
- Liquid fertilizer
Now let’s discuss these in detail.
Coffee grounds as a mulch
Mulching is mainly practiced in outdoor gardening, but you can also use this method for your indoor plants.
Preparing a mixture of organic matter and using it to cover the soil is called mulching. Mulching helps to retain moisture and provides a balance of beneficial bacteria and microorganisms to the soil.
You can add coffee grounds with other organic matter like dry leaves and branches, straw, wood chips, etc.
However, you must remember not to add too many coffee grounds to the compost, increasing the soil’s pH level and misbalance it.
Coffee grounds as compost
Composting is an excellent way of adding coffee grounds to your peperomia.
Let’s take a quick look at the benefits of using coffee grounds as compost for peperomia plants.
- Composting will not let the coffee grounds retain excess moisture.
- Composting will help minimize the adverse effects of caffeine by creating a balance.
Coffee grounds contain caffeine that can get into the soil and harm the roots of your peperomia. But if you add it to the compost, the coffee grounds will get a lot of time to break down with other organic matter.
Coffee grounds are a rich nitrogen source, but that is not the only thing that peperomia requires. Coffee grounds are considered green material, but compost is incomplete without some brown materials, so you must add dry leaves and branches.
Make sure that the ratio of the green material and brown material remains 4:1. This ratio will keep the compost light and will allow water to drain well through it.
Do not add too many coffee grounds as that can kill the good bacteria required for the breakdown of the compost.
You can add this compost when you plan to repot your peperomia. While preparing the soil mix for repotting your peperomia, add three parts of potting soil and one part of the compost.
If you think that your compost feels heavy, you can add perlite while adding the compost to the potting soil to make it light and well-draining.
Coffee grounds as liquid fertilizer
Let’s dive into the process of making a liquid fertilizer with the help of the following steps:
- Pour water into a container and let it simmer.
- When the water starts simmering, turn the gas off. Let the water settle down.
- Add coffee grounds to the water after few minutes.
- Let this mixture remain like that for some days.
- After a few days, strain the remaining liquid into a spray bottle.
Letting the coffee grounds sit in the water for a few days allows the good bacteria to break down the coffee grounds to release nutrients in the water.
You can use this liquid to fertilize your peperomia once a month. It will boost the growth of the plant and improve the soil structure with the help of good bacteria and beneficial microorganisms.
Watering peperomia with leftover coffee
It is best to say that you must not water your peperomia with leftover coffee. Although many plant owners might be doing this, it comes with some hazards.
- You might end up overwatering your peperomia if you start adding leftover coffee every time.
- The concentrated caffeine in coffee can stunt the growth of your plant.
We have already discussed the different ways of adding coffee grounds to your peperomia that should not harm the plant.
But if you decide to add leftover coffee to your peperomia, make sure to dilute it well and then water it.
Never add hot coffee to your peperomia, as the temperature difference will also shock the plant and burn its roots.
Other options to fertilize your peperomia naturally
Coffee grounds might be used as a natural source of fertilizer for your peperomia. But, you must use the correct method and the right quantity. If you do anything wrong, the whole thing can cause damage to your plant.
If you are unsure of using coffee grounds, you can choose from any of the below-mentioned ways to fertilize your peperomia organically.
Organic fertilizer bought from the store
People are turning to organic ways of fertilizing more these days, so the stores have started keeping organic fertilizers, not just chemical ones.
Chemical fertilizers contain synthetic substances that can give your peperomia nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These might not be the best thing options for your peperomia plant.
On the other hand, organic fertilizers contain natural materials such as bone meal, fish emulsion, rock phosphate, etc., which can provide the required nutrients to the plants.
Organic fertilizers are less concentrated than chemical fertilizers. So you might need to fertilize more often if you are using an organic one. But this is a much better option as it doesn’t contain synthetic materials that can stress the plant.
Now, there are many options with which you can fertilize your peperomia by using homemade fertilizers.
If you have an aquarium at home, you can use the water that you throw when changing the water.
The water from the aquarium contains fish poop and decomposed fish food that makes the water rich in nitrogen. If water plants are in the aquarium water, nutrients will increase, making it an ideal fertilizer for your houseplants.
So, the next time you plan to change the water in the aquarium, use that water to fertilize your peperomia plant. You can apply this directly without the need to dilute it.
Use stuff from your kitchen
Yes, there’s a lot that you can use from your kitchen to fertilize your peperomia.
Some examples are:
- Ground-up banana peels – Great source of potassium.
- Blackstrap molasses – You can dissolve this in water. It will add many compounds, such as sulfur, iron, copper, potassium, magnesium, etc., to the soil.
- Powdered eggshells – Great source of nitrogen and calcium.
But before you add any of these to your peperomia, do your research well and figure out which one works best for your plant.
You can create compost tea by adding compost in water. Put 3-4 cups of compost in a five-gallon bucket filled halfway with water and stir it.
As the compost starts breaking down and mixing with the water, you will be left with a rich brown mixture. Let this sit for two more days and keep stirring it few times daily. After that, you can strain the mixture and reserve the water.
You can water your peperomia with this compost tea. Still, if you are unsure of the concentration, you can dilute it with plain water and add it to your peperomia.
You can add Epsom salt to the compost tea to increase its potency.
You can use seaweed to make a similar mixture as compost tea. This might be a bit smelly, but it can be highly beneficial for your peperomia.
You can get dried seaweed at the stores that you can use to make seaweed tea. Add 2-3 cups of dried seaweed to enough water and blend it in a blender till the seaweed breaks down to small pieces.
Take a container and pour this mixture into it. Add half gallon water to it. Keep this aside for 6-10 hours at least and strain it.
Collect the seaweed water in a bowl and dilute it with equal parts of plain water.
Now, this mixture is ready to be used on your peperomia as a liquid fertilizer.
You can also purchase seaweed solutions online.
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Coffee grounds can be a good option for your peperomia plant if you can use them the right way. You must not use it too often or in large quantities. Too much coffee can make the soil too much acidic and bring other problems with it.
If you are unsure, you can use other organic fertilizers mentioned above instead of coffee grounds to fertilize your peperomia. Espoma Indoor Liquid Plant Food is an excellent organic fertilizer to try out.
Source: Coffee grounds benefits, Field Evaluation of Coffee Grounds Application for Crop Growth, Effect of fresh and composted spent coffee grounds.