Use ‘diluted coffee’ to water houseplants for a healthier plant

David Domoney provides advice on popular houseplants

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Many plants often lie dormant during the winter months, meaning they don’t need to be fed or watered as much. However, the experts at WeThrift explained how using coffee can be a great way to boost health in the garden as well as with houseplants. This is because the popular caffeinated drink contains some great nutrients including nitrogen, potassium, calcium and magnesium.

The pros explained: “Whether they are to be found outside or inside, most plants will benefit from the extra boost in nutrients that coffee grounds can provide.

“Coffee grounds can still be used for most houseplants for very similar results. Diluted coffee will continue to work as an efficient and organic fertiliser for a much healthier looking houseplant.

“You will struggle to find any plants that will not benefit from being fed coffee, however, there are plants that should only be fed coffee in moderation and others that like plenty of it.”

Houseplant owners can use coffee in a variety of different ways including sprinkling coffee grounds on soil as well as pouring diluted coffee into the plant’s soil. 

However, the pros said the best results will come from applying it thinly to the soil, making sure it is kept away from the plant’s stem.

The experts added: “If you are using coffee grounds, be sure to rake them into the soil to avoid clumping, as the coffee will be more effective the more it is spread out.

“Remember there is no need to go out of your way to make coffee for your plants when you can simply use the leftovers from your own morning cup.”

As well as providing benefits to plants indoors and outdoors, coffee can also be used as a natural pesticide to keep slugs and other pests away.

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According to the pros at WeThrift, it is the combination of the caffeine content and the abrasive texture of coffee which can put off slugs and may be enough to deter them from eating plants.

They explained: “Luckily, caffeine-high coffee in your soil will not be off-putting to worms. Those wriggle creatures are incredibly useful to your soil’s fertilisation process and are thought to love coffee grounds.

“Coffee in very small quantities is not harmful to worms, and a caffeinated worm will unsurprisingly do its job much faster, plus they will be likely to procreate in the soil. 

“A bit like with ourselves, be wary not to over-feed your plant with coffee, no matter how groggy they might be looking. Your plants should only need a coffee boost once a week to see the benefits.

“Coffee can be naturally acidic, so over-feeding your plant with it could have a negative effect.” If using an appropriate amount however, plants will thrive from the application of coffee.

Gardeners looking for a way to boost their soil could also mix coffee grounds into it to add much-needed nitrogen into it. Nitrogen will help plants, shrubs and flowers to “produce greener, healthier and stronger stems”.

A healthy compost mix should contain an even amount of both green and brown waste. According to the pros, green waste includes coffee or eggshells as well as any other fresh products like grass, clipped flowers or even weeds.

The experts added: “Browns include any carbon-rich product such as fallen leaves, dried grass, wood and paper including paper coffee filters.

“Coffee is particularly useful in the winter month because coffee grounds will still work their way into the soil during freeze-thaw cycles, whereas other products may end up freezing in cold or snowy conditions.

“It will also help to protect your pocket as well as your plants since you can feed them with any leftover coffee you had in the house anyway, rather than going out and buying expensive fertilisation products to supplement your plants’ diet during winter.”

Houseplants which will benefit from being watered with diluted coffee include the snake plant, jade plant, peace lily, Christmas cactus and pothos. 

Some outdoor plants which will grow better with coffee grounds include hydrangeas, rhododendrons, azaleas, blueberries and carrots.

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