Those who keep indoor plants are always on the lookout for natural fertilizers. Natural fertilizers are eco-friendly and suitable for plants. Coffee is used as a natural fertilizer and is applied to many plants. But does ZZ plant like coffee? Let’s find that out.
Coffee grounds are an excellent supplement for your ZZ plant. They are rich in nitrogen and other nutrients needed by the plant. The ideal way to use coffee grounds will be in the form of compost. But be cautious as too much compost can disbalance the soil and slow down the growth of your ZZ plant.
Before you go ahead and use coffee grounds on your ZZ plant, you need to know the right way of using them.
If you want to know the right way to use coffee ground in your ZZ plant, continue reading till the end to understand how you can use the coffee ground of your ZZ plant and what is the benefit of the same.
Also read: Do all houseplants need fertilizer? Why?
Table Of Contents
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Are Coffee Grounds Good for ZZ plants?
Coffee grounds are full of nutrients that are good for plants. Most of the plants love nitrogen, and coffee grounds have a high concentration of nitrogen.
It also contains rich minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, etc., which are great for your ZZ plant.
That makes coffee grounds a great natural option for fertilizers. However, it would be best if you were careful about how you are using them.
If the coffee grounds are used correctly, it can help the soil drain water and not retain it. But the opposite can happen if used incorrectly. It is crucial to maintain a sound drainage system for the ZZ plant so make sure you use the grounds correctly.
Best ways to use coffee on ZZ plant
When you take the coffee grounds and put them on top of your ZZ plant’s potting soil, you do it wrong!
That creates a mulch layer that will retain water, slows down the drainage, and doesn’t allows it to evaporate either. Thus, it creates an environment for the fungus to thrive, and that can cause root rot in ZZ plants.
Coffee grounds being piled on the soil surface will cover up the rhizomes of the plant. If the rhizomes are covered up, it will again create a wet environment and give birth to root rot.
If you want to use coffee grounds for your ZZ plant, you need to mix them with the existing soil and check if the water is getting drained.
Make sure that the soil is not getting clogged and is drying out in between watering.
There are two ways to use the coffee ground on ZZ plants.
- Liquid Fertilizer
Let’s dive into the details.
Composting is the best thing you can do as you cannot add coffee grounds directly to the soil.
Let’s elaborate a bit more on the adverse effects that coffee can have on your ZZ plant and what makes it beneficial to add it to the compost.
We want to add coffee to the ZZ plant in the first place because coffee grounds have elements that can be beneficial to the plant.
And by composting the coffee grounds, you can reduce the harmful effects they may otherwise have on the plant.
The problem with coffee grounds is that they are too fine, and when you put them directly on the soil, they form a layer on it that doesn’t let the water or the moisture move out of the soil.
Caffeine might not be suitable for your ZZ plant. When you brew the coffee, a lot of the caffeine is extracted from it, but some of it still remains in the coffee grounds.
And when you put this on the ZZ plants, the caffeine gets in the soil and damages the plant.
When you compost the coffee grounds, you let them break down and mix with other organic materials, and the caffeine gets a chance to reduce to a level where it will not be harmful to the plant.
Points to keep in mind when you are composting coffee grounds:
- Try to keep the compost light and dry. That will help in the decomposition process and help fight against the antibacterial properties of coffee grounds.
- Note: If the concentration of coffee grounds increases, the antibacterial effect will kill the good bacteria that help break the compost.
- Add dried leaves, bark, sticks, etc., to the compost. These will even out the nitrogen coming from the coffee grounds and will make the compost balanced.
- If you are planning on adding the cactus mix to your soil to lighten it up, adjust the amount you use depending on your compost density.
- The best time to add compost to your ZZ plant is when you are repotting it. You can add the compost to the potting soil. Three parts of potting soil and 1 part of compost will be the right ratio.
- Never apply excessive compost as that would have toxic effects on the plant.
- After you have added compost, keep a check on the watering. The compost will retain water as it is rich in organic matter. So make sure that you are not overwatering the plant.
Instead of adding coffee grounds directly to your ZZ plant’s soil, you can make a liquid fertilizer out of it, and that will do the work for your ZZ plant.
You can make liquid fertilizer with coffee grounds by adding coffee grounds to a container full of water and keep it soaked for one or two weeks. Stir it every few days.
You will notice that the coffee has started to break down, and it will eventually release nutrients into that water. You need to strain the water out using a cloth and then give it to your ZZ plant.
Be careful not to do this very often as that can damage the plant.
Never put hot coffee on your ZZ plant, as the roots will end up getting burned due to that.
Before you decide if you want to give coffee to your ZZ plant, take a look at the problems you can face along the way.
Some of these have already been mentioned, but we will add some more details to them.
The adverse effect of using coffee in the ZZ plant
Using coffee ground on your ZZ plant can be a good idea, but you need to use it correctly.
Even though using it in the form of compost and liquid fertilizer can minimize the risk, it is important to understand the adverse effect.
Coffee grounds are great at retaining moisture. That might sound like a good thing, but it becomes problematic because overwatering is the most common problem that people face while caring for a ZZ plant.
This is the reason it is advised that you add coffee grounds to the compost.
To promote water drainage, you can add a cactus mix or sand to the potting mix that will increase the drainage of water and let the soil dry out so that your ZZ plant will not have root rot.
Another way to combat this would be to change the composition of your soil. If you use a soil combination that can increase drainage to a great extent and add coffee grounds compost to your soil mix, it will reach a balance, reducing the risk of overwatering.
Also read: What kind of soil do ZZ plant need?
Coffee grounds can attract many pests if it is added on the surface of the soil.
This is another reason for which it is advised that you do not add coffee grounds on the soil’s surface and use it to make compost instead.
Once again, if you add coffee grounds on the surface of your ZZ plant’s soil, there might be chances of fungal diseases.
When coffee grounds start decomposing at the surface, a lot of fungal bacteria are attracted towards them.
If you’re not careful with it, your intention of growing a healthy ZZ plant will turn into a disaster for your plant.
To avoid this, use coffee grounds to make compost and add it to the potting soil when repotting the ZZ plant.
Reduces growth of plants
Studies and research have shown that adding coffee grounds directly to the soil can reduce growth in plants. That is because of the caffeine present in the coffee grounds.
There are so many better options that you can use instead of coffee grounds. You will find many natural and synthetic alternatives available that you can use to fertilize your ZZ plant.
Using coffee grounds may not be the best option for everyone as you can easily go wrong with it.
I personally prefer Espoma Indoor Liquid Plant Food. It is an organic liquid fertilizer that works like a wonder for me. Even half the regular dose every alternate month keeps my ZZ plant thriving.
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The best way to use coffee grounds on the ZZ plant would be to make compost or liquid fertilizer.
You can use coffee on ZZ plants, but you need to be extra careful not to let it have any adverse effect on the plant.
It will still be better to say that you can use coffee grounds for outdoor plants. For indoor plants, like the ZZ plant, you can choose other synthetic alternatives like Espoma Indoor Liquid Plant Food.
Source: Coffee grounds benefits, Field Evaluation of Coffee Grounds Application for Crop Growth, Effect of fresh and composted spent coffee grounds.