English ivy or Hedera helix is a beautiful trailing plant that is hardy and easy to care for. If you use coffee grounds to fertilize your houseplants, you might wonder if English ivy likes coffee grounds. Let’s find out.
Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen, which is beneficial for English ivy if you use it correctly. The best way to use coffee grounds is to make a liquid compost tea or mix it with the compost pile. Avoid adding coffee grounds directly to the soil as it can damage the roots of the plants.
Coffee grounds contain Nitrogen which is great for boosting the growth of the plants. But, if you don’t use coffee grounds correctly, it can harm your ivy.
In this article, I have covered everything you need to know about applying coffee grounds to your English ivy. So, keep reading.
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Is coffee good for English ivy?
Yes, coffee grounds are great for many plants, including English ivy.
It is because coffee grounds contain many nutrients that help plants grow.
Nitrogen: The main component that boosts a plant’s growth is Nitrogen, and coffee grounds contain a lot of it.
Adding coffee grounds to a plant growing slowly or showing weak stems and discolored leaves is a good idea as these signs indicate a Nitrogen deficiency.
Since plants can’t absorb nitrogen directly from the atmosphere, adding coffee grounds to the soil will help.
Other minerals: Besides Nitrogen, coffee grounds also contain the following minerals:
These also help to keep your English ivy happy and healthy.
What is the best way of using coffee grounds on English ivy?
There are many ways of adding coffee grounds to your English ivy.
But, never add them directly to the soil.
Why? Because adding coffee grounds directly to the soil will not allow the Nitrogen to get released into the soil immediately.
There are better ways to help the Nitrogen get released into the soil.
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A popular and effective method of adding coffee grounds to the soil is by composting.
I feel this is easy, and I’ve used it multiple times on different houseplants, including my English ivy.
Unlike adding coffee grounds directly, composting allows the coffee grounds to break down into the soil and release Nitrogen.
Here are a few things you should know if you are going to use coffee grounds for composting:
Good compost is made up of the right balance of green and brown materials.
If you don’t know what these mean, here’s a short description:
Green materials indicate the wet or recently growing elements, which are mostly green in color. Coffee grounds are considered green material.
Green materials supply a good amount of Nitrogen.
Brown materials are dry and mostly brown. Some examples include wood chips, straw, dry leaves, etc.
Brown materials facilitate air circulation in the soil and supply Carbon.
If you don’t maintain the right balance, the compost will start smelling and not get used up by the plant.
A ratio of 4:1 of browns to greens should work well, but you might need to make changes depending on the components you use.
Here are a few more things you should know:
- Add compost to the soil while you repot your English ivy. This is the best way to add compost to the plant. Maintain a ratio of 1 part compost and 3 parts potting mix for best results.
- Don’t go overboard with it. Use a limited amount of compost. Adding excess compost can harm your ivy.
- Don’t make the compost wet and heavy. Make sure it remains dry so the components can break down easily into the soil and get used by your ivy.
Mulch with coffee grounds
How can we not talk about mulching if we are talking about composting?
Mulching is popular in outdoor gardens, but many use it for their indoor gardens also.
Mulching is adding a layer over the soil.
People use compost, dried leaves, and other materials to mulch.
You can add coffee grounds to this layer and add it to the soil.
I don’t mulch my plants with coffee grounds as I don’t think this is the best way.
You must be careful if you want to use coffee grounds as mulch.
The disadvantage of using coffee grounds in mulching is that it can retain excess moisture with fine particles that make the soil soggy.
But, if you still want to go with mulching, here are 2 ways to go about it:
- Prepare a 4-inch layer of mulch and a half-inch layer of coffee grounds. Add this to the soil. This ratio will be ideal and not retain excess moisture.
- You can also add coffee grounds to compost. Don’t add too much. Add other organic matter to maintain the right balance. Now, use it to mulch the soil.
Mixing coffee grounds with the potting mix
I would never add only coffee grounds to the soil.
Adding it with other organic matters creates a balance, and I have never seen it go wrong.
As I mentioned earlier, add coffee grounds to the soil while repotting or transplanting your English ivy.
And don’t forget to mix other organic matters into the coffee grounds.
Use only a handful of coffee grounds as that will be enough.
This will boost the growth of your English ivy.
Coffee grounds as compost tea
Other than composting, a great way of using coffee grounds is to make a compost tea.
This is also called a liquid fertilizer.
I often use this on my plants whenever I have the time to make the compost tea.
Here are the ways to make compost tea out of coffee grounds:
- Take 5 gallons of water. Add 2 cups of used coffee grounds to it and mix them well. Leave it overnight and let the coffee grounds break into the water. Apply this to your English ivy the next day.
- Take a sock and put some coffee grounds in it. Now, add it to a bucket of water. Leave it for a few days. Once the coffee grounds break and mix with the water, use it to water your English ivy.
Using this can make the soil dry, so check the soil’s moisture after 2 days and water it if it feels dry.
Using a moisture meter to check the soil’s moisture is the best way to go about it.
Advantages and disadvantages of using coffee grounds on English ivy
If used correctly, coffee grounds will only be beneficial for your houseplants.
But, if you use them incorrectly, there can be various disadvantages.
Before breaking them down, let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of using coffee grounds on your English ivy.
|Coffee grounds improve the soil structure.||Coffee grounds can affect root growth.|
|It improves the water retention capacity of the soil.||Coffee grounds can encourage fungal growth.|
|It adds nitrogen to the soil.||Adding unused coffee grounds can alter the soil’s pH.|
|It keeps the soil aerated.||It can destroy the beneficial bacteria in the soil.|
|It repels cats.||It can make your dogs sick if they consume it.|
|It keeps snails and slugs away from your plant.||It can affect seedling growth.|
|It reduces waste and the use of chemicals.||It can create a barrier over the soil, making it soggy.|
Advantages of using coffee grounds on your English ivy
Let’s get into the details of how coffee grounds help the growth of English ivy:
- Improving the soil structure: Mixing coffee grounds well with the soil and other organic matter can improve the soil structure.
- Improving water retention capacity: Coffee grounds help the soil retain moisture with its fine particles. If the soil is not retaining enough moisture for your English ivy, coffee grounds can help.
- Adds nitrogen to the soil: Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen, which helps boost the growth of plants.
- Keeps the soil aerated: Coffee grounds reduce the compaction of the soil and help the roots receive enough airflow.
- Repels cats: English ivy is poisonous for your pets, so adding coffee grounds can keep your cats away from the plant. This is because cats don’t like the smell of coffee grounds.
- Keeps snails and slugs away: The strong smell and taste of coffee grounds keep snails and slugs away from your English ivy.
- Reduces waste and the use of chemicals: When you use coffee grounds instead of throwing them away, it reduces waste. Using coffee grounds instead of a synthetic Nitrogen fertilizer reduces chemical usage.
Disadvantages of using coffee grounds on your English ivy
Now let’s understand how coffee grounds can harm your plant if you don’t use them properly.
- Affect root growth: Excess coffee grounds can suppress the root growth of plants.
- Fungal growth: If the coffee grounds in the soil retain excess moisture, it can lead to fungal growth that can even kill your plant.
- Makes the soil acidic: A myth about using coffee grounds is that it makes the soil acidic. Used or wet coffee grounds don’t make the soil acidic as it has a neutral pH. But, unused coffee grounds can increase the soil’s acidity.
- Destroys the beneficial bacteria: Excess coffee grounds can kill the good bacteria and microorganisms in the soil. This is not good for the plant.
- Makes your dog sick: You should not use coffee grounds if you have dogs in the house. If your dog consumes them mistakenly, it can have health issues.
- Affects seedling growth: Coffee grounds can work great for mature plants, but they will never work well on young seedlings, so avoid using coffee grounds for the young plants.
- Moisture retention: Too many coffee grounds can make the soil retain excess moisture, making it soggy. This is not ideal for most houseplants, including our English ivy.
How much coffee grounds should I add to my English ivy?
Never add excess coffee grounds to your English ivy.
Most of the disadvantages of using coffee grounds happen due to excess usage.
Add coffee grounds depending on how much soil is used.
Mix half-inch coffee grounds with a 4-inches layer of mulch and add it to the soil.
This is the ratio I use and has never caused any problem for my English ivy.
How often should coffee be added to English ivy?
Don’t think coffee grounds can replace the usual fertilizer of your English ivy.
Using coffee grounds once in 2-3 months is best if you use them as compost or mulch.
But, if you use coffee grounds as liquid fertilizer or compost tea, you can use it once a month during the growing season.
Coffee grounds will work well if you use them correctly on your English ivy. Don’t sprinkle coffee grounds directly over the soil, and don’t use excess coffee grounds as these are the reasons that harm the plants.
The best way to use coffee grounds is to add them to the compost or make a compost tea or liquid fertilizer. Don’t replace your usual fertilizer with coffee grounds. Use them alternatively to get the best results.
You can use the Espoma Indoor Liquid Plant Food if you don’t want to use coffee grounds on your English ivy.
Source: Coffee grounds benefits, Field Evaluation of Coffee Grounds Application for Crop Growth, Effect of fresh and composted spent coffee grounds.