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Poinsettias tend to return to our collective memories around Christmas time. They’re a beautiful red and can be a bit difficult to take care of. Would it be possible to help poinsettias grow with coffee grounds? Do poinsettias like coffee grounds?
As poinsettias do best in soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5, they would greatly benefit from ground coffee. This coffee can be sprinkled on top of the soil in a container or used to fertilize poinsettias that have been planted in a garden. Poinsettias also need well-drained soil and can benefit from compost, as well.
Keep reading to learn more about how to fertilize poinsettias with coffee grounds, why coffee grounds can benefit poinsettias, and the best ways to administer coffee grounds to poinsettias.
Is Ground Coffee Good for Poinsettias?
Coffee grounds are well-received by poinsettias thanks to coffee’s acidic nature and ability to lower the pH level of the soil. Poinsettias are a pretty tough plant and thrive best in acidic soil with excellent drainage.
Poinsettias can handle soil between 5.5 and 6.5, though they’ll struggle in soil that is 7.5 or higher in pH. As most potting soil is about 7.0 and therefore neutral, adding coffee grounds to your poinsettia can help it flourish, feel more at home, and better absorb nutrients and water. This is especially true if you’re transplanting poinsettias into neutral or alkaline soil in your garden.
Coffee grounds are also a great idea if you notice your poinsettia struggling to thrive, losing leaves, or just looking small and stunted. Contrary to popular belief, poinsettias don’t need to be watered daily. They enjoy being watered once a week and can benefit from coffee grounds in most scenarios. So what does ground coffee add to the soil that makes it especially appealing to poinsettias?
What Does Ground Coffee Add to Soil?
Coffee grounds are natural, easily broken down, and are especially loved by earthworms. Earthworms use coffee grounds in very much the same way that birds use pebbles in their crop to help break down food and improve digestion.
These earthworms provide valuable fertilizer to the soil in the form of their castings (or poop). Earthworms also tunnel and burrow, and this, in turn, helps keep the soil aerated and healthy. The castings also contain and attract helpful microbes whose presence is vital for the health of the soil. This is important if you’re planting poinsettias outdoors.
Coffee grounds also gently and naturally lower the pH of soil. Many well-loved flowers and shrubs, including poinsettias, do best in microbe-rich, mildly acidic soil. Ground coffee is the perfect way to help lower soil pH safely and gradually while increasing the nutritional value of the environment to plant life.
Coffee grounds fertilize the earth by releasing nitrogen as they decompose, a vital nutrient for plants. This added boost of nitrogen is especially useful in the early growing season when plants need all the energy they can get to grow, put forth leaves, and blossom. Rates of potassium and magnesium in soil are also slightly raised by adding coffee grounds, all elements vital to healthy plant growth.
Coffee grounds are also free of harsh, artificial chemicals, break down readily in soil, and are completely safe to be in contact with. This is in contrast to some industrial fertilizers whose use has been linked to cancer. The more natural and under-processed, the better, and it’s hard to get any more natural than spent coffee.
So now that you’ve decided to use ground coffee on poinsettias, how can you get a hold of some? What are the easiest ways to procure ground coffee?
How Can I Get a Hold of Ground Coffee?
The simplest way to get coffee grounds is to simply brew them at home. What kinds of coffee grounds are best for fertilization? Any variety will do. Feel free to use
- Organic coffee
- Non-GMO Coffee
- Flavored coffee
- Artisan coffee blends
- Store-bought big-brand coffee (such as Folgers)
- Light roast coffee
- Medium roast
- Dark roast
Be aware, however, that light roast coffees tend to be slightly more acidic and can be more helpful in the garden. If you want your coffee grounds to be as pure as possible, nom-favored, organic, non-GMO brands would be best, though gardeners don’t report any significant difference in how well flavored vs. coffee varieties help plant growth.
You can use a traditional drip machine, a pour-over system, coffee pods, grounds from an espresso machine, and coffee seeped through little bags like tea. Feel free to toss the coffee bags in as well, as they’ll decompose nicely.
Store your used coffee grounds in a stainless-steel bucket with a lid, and be sure to empty it every two days to avoid mold and to avoid attracting pests. You can also collect coffee grounds from cafes, farmer’s markets, gas stations, and even from neighbors. Simply ask if you could collect their used coffee grounds, bring your bucket, and pick up the grounds at an agreed-upon time and day.
How Should I Administer Coffee to Poinsettias?
Coffee grounds can be sprinkled near the base of the poinsettia and then watered or allowed to work their way into the soil over time. 1/8 cup of coffee grounds every week should work just fine for a smaller plant like a poinsettia.
Feel free to sprinkle used coffee grounds as well as fresh coffee. If you use fresh coffee, however, be aware that the acidity of fresh coffee is quite a bit higher than used grounds. Monitor soil acidity to make sure that your poinsettias are not getting too much acid.
You can also soak used coffee grounds in water overnight. Add 1 cup of coffee grounds to 1 gallon of water and allow it to seep overnight. Pour the coffee-infused water over your poinsettias during their weekly watering for a process that both hydrates and fertilizes.
Another fantastic way to administer coffee grounds to poinsettias is through compost. Coffee grounds work very well as a composting agent, and this material can benefit your entire garden, as well.
Ground Coffee Makes Great Compost
Coffee grounds can also be composted, which can be used to fertilize poinsettias, vegetables, flowers, herbs, and trees. Coffee is natural, breaks down well, and adds important nutritional components to your compost heap. Compost materials come in two varieties, green and brown. Green compost is rich in nitrogen and includes:
- Fruit and vegetable material
- Coffee grounds
- Used tea leaves
- Freshly cut grass
Brown material, in contrast, infuses carbon into the earth and is best represented by
- Dry, brown leaves
- Dried yellow grass
- Wood Chips and Bark
A 50-50 mix of green and brown composting materials is preferable and easy to remember. Never compost meat or solid waste from meat-eating animals. It can disrupt the chemical stability of a compost heap, will smell terrible, and can attract scavenging animals, too.
Make sure to turn your compost weekly to help materials break down faster and keep the compost breathing. You may also wish to add earthworms to your compost heap for added soil nutrition and health.
Simply spread your compost on top of the soil around your plant life, or mix compost in with soil as you plant your vegetables, trees, flowers, and herbs. Next, give your plants a healthy watering to help the nutrition in the compost seep into the earth and nourish plants. Composting is a great activity for early in the growing season and can help your garden thrive all spring and summer.
Well, you’ve composed your coffee grounds and are curious if they have any other uses around the home. Apart from acting as a great neutral fertilizer for poinsettias, can you use coffee grounds in other ways?
Other Uses for Ground Coffee Around the House
Coffee grounds are natural and grainy, smell wonderful, and have a variety of creative uses around the home and garden. If you don’t need any more coffee grounds on your plants or in your garden, don’t throw spare grounds in the trash.
Coffee grounds can be used to scour metal pots and pans. Sprinkle some onto stuck-on food materials along with dish soap and then use an abrasive scrubbing pad. The grit of the grounds will help loosen food particles and grease.
Coffee grounds can also be used as a natural dye for fabrics. You can seep grounds in hot water or use leftover brewed coffee, whichever you prefer. Coffee will lend a lovely, natural brown color to fabrics. The stronger the coffee and the longer fabrics soak, the darker the color will be.
Ground coffee can also be used to absorb moisture and order around the house. Dry out used coffee grounds in the oven; spread wet grounds on a dry baking sheet, set your oven to 175° F, and gently “bake” the grounds for 1 hour. Your coffee grounds should be nice and dry and ready to take on moisture and odor.
Store these dried grounds in the fridge, pantry, closet, or anywhere else you need to control humidity and odor. They can also repel moths and other insects and help keep wool sweaters looking great naturally.
You can also use coffee grounds outdoors to help repel mosquitoes. Simply dry out and burn the coffee grounds, or throw them into a bonfire for the same effect. Mosquitoes hate the smell of coffee, and you’ll have a natural pest repellent that’s much safer than man-made chemicals.
Finally, now that you’ve found a home for all of your used coffee grounds let’s help give your poinsettias a longer life. We know they can benefit from coffee grounds, but are there tricks that can help keep them healthy and enjoyable for longer?
What Else Do Poinsettias Need?
Many consumers buy some poinsettia plants for the Christmas season but find, much to their dismay, that the little guys seem to struggle and then die fairly soon. How can you care for a poinsettia plant year-round?
Most of us water poinsettias far too often. This excess of water leads to root rot, which kills the plant. The top of your poinsettia’s soil should be very mildly damp but not soggy. If the surface of your poinsettia’s soil dries out, there will still be moisture just below the surface.
How often does a poinsettia need to be watered? Poinsettias will benefit from moderate watering once every 5-6 days, as well as indirect sunlight for at least 6 hours a day.
Check out: How to Fix an Overwatered Plant
Poinsettias also need to be kept fairly warm to thrive, around 70° F. Leaving poinsettias out on a chilly porch or mud room will cause them to struggle or even die. At the same time, keeping these plants right next to a space heater can overheat and kill them.
If you plant poinsettias outside once the weather warms up (make sure that daytime temperatures are at least 70° F daily before transplanting), ensure your poinsettias have plenty of indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight can overwhelm or scorch your poinsettia, and too much shade can stunt them.
Poinsettias thrive in soil with a pH level between 5.5 and 6.5 and can greatly benefit from coffee grounds’ acidity and natural fertilization properties. Coffee naturally lowers the pH of the soil, releases nitrogen naturally, and also attracts earthworms, and helps improve the health of the soil.
Coffee grounds can be administered on top of the soil weekly and watered in, or they can be infused with water and used to hydrate poinsettias. Coffee grounds make for a great composting agent, which can benefit poinsettias as well as other flowers and vegetables.
Poinsettias are notoriously hard to keep alive. Make sure not to over-water poinsettias; they don’t need more than one watering per week and need to be kept warm and in indirect sunlight. Extra coffee grounds can be used to repel mosquitoes in the yard, as a natural dye, or as an agent to absorb moisture and odor around the home.