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Gardening is a great way to relax while doing something productive. It became especially popular during quarantine, as it is a satisfying way to pass the time. Snake plants, or sansevieria, became popular, as they are a great indoor plant to have. If you’re new to gardening, you may have heard coffee grounds are good for your soil, but is that really true? Are coffee grounds healthy for snake plants too?
Because snake plants are considered acidic-loving plants, coffee grounds make a great addition to boost the acidity of your soil. As a general rule of thumb, when adding coffee grounds to your soil, it should contain approximately 25% coffee grounds and 75% nutrient-filled soil.
Coffee grounds can be a great way to add acidity to your soil, but are there any other benefits to adding coffee grounds besides raising acidity? Keep reading to learn more about how coffee grounds affect snake plants and the extra benefits of using them.
Are Coffee Grounds Good for Snake Plants?
Plants, like humans, are all different and can have varying different needs based on where they come from, what kind of plant they are, and if they are indoors or outdoors.
Not all plants like coffee grounds, but snake plants are part of the family of plants that are known as “acid-lovers” or “lime-haters.” Acid-lover refers to the plant’s love for acidic soils, while lime-hater refers to their disliking of lime-based or alkaline soils.
Snake plants are also known as Saint George’s sword, mother-in-law’s tongue, and many other names.
As snake plants love acidity, keeping the soil acidic is crucial. Many soils often try to become alkaline over time, so giving your beloved plant some help once in a while can be a good idea! Coffee grounds are a great way to add some acidity back into the soil. This acidity allows your snake plant to grow beautifully and healthily. Without the proper amount of acidity, snake plants can become dull in color or yellow before beginning to suffer more unwanted and dramatic health complications.
There are a few reasons why a person may need to add coffee grounds to their soil:
- The acidity has been watered down or washed out by overwatering or flooding
- Your soil’s nutrients have been watered down or washed out due to overwatering or flooding
- The soil has become too alkaline over time
- The soil bought is not acidic enough
After adding coffee grounds to your soil, bacteria will begin to break it down. Over the course of a couple of days, as more and more bacteria break down the coffee grounds, the coffee grounds will begin to release different nutrients into the soil that your plant can then use for its own benefit.
The Benefits of Using Coffee Grounds in Your Soil
Coffee grounds can be very beneficial to your soil in ways you may not realize at first if you are a novice or beginner gardener. Not only can it double as mulch or a slow-release fertilizer, but it is always packed full of nutrients that your plants need to not only survive but thrive as well.
The Nutrients in Coffee Grounds
Coffee Grounds, whether they have been used or are new, are packed full of minerals your soil needs to keep your acid-loving plants fresh, healthy, and happy. Coffee grounds contain the following minerals:
- It could also contain vital micronutrients
- Such as Calcium, Boron, Iron, Zinc, etc.
Nitrogen is a very important nutrient for your plants’ health. It is a key macronutrient for the proper function of your plant’s production of amino acids. Amino acids are responsible for aiding in the production of your snake plant’s enzymes and proteins, both extremely important things for your plant to have.
Potassium is also extremely essential to a plant’s health. It is responsible for the movement of water within the plant, allowing for the transportation of nutrients as well as carbohydrates. It helps retain water, helps create food for your plant, and creates cellulose, as well as many other crucial functions.
Phosphorus is crucial to plants in a slightly different way. It greatly aids in dividing a plant’s cells, as well as allows your plant to grow. This is especially important for seeds or very young plants. You can think of phosphorus in your plants as milk is for young kids: it promotes growth and healthy bodily functions.
There are many micronutrients that are important for a plant to have access to, but we will stick with the main four:
In plants, calcium is a micronutrient responsible for the creation of cell walls and membranes. It should be noted that calcium deficiencies in nature are rare and excessive amounts can be more harmful than good for your plant.
Boron is responsible for pollination, how sugar and energy are moved and used within a plant, and maintaining structures within your plant, as well as many other things.
Iron is extremely important, as your plant cannot complete its plant cycle without it. It is responsible for chlorophyll synthesis, which gives plants their common green colors, as well as certain metabolic processes within the plant.
Zinc is important for all plants and crops, as it is responsible for the metabolic processes within the plants.
It Can Double as Mulch or a Slow-Release Fertilizer
Coffee grounds can also be used as a mulch or a slow-releasing fertilizer for your snake plants. This can help with the circulation of oxygen within the soil, the draining of excess water, as well as holding onto necessary amounts of water. This is important as it allows your plant access to water as needed without worrying about drowning your plants’ root systems.
Certain plants are very sensitive when it comes to water. Some prefer to have their roots wet; some would rather have only slightly damp soil. No matter what kind of plant you have, coffee grounds can aid in keeping your soil at appropriate levels of water without worrying about overwatering your plants.
This is also beneficial if you forget a watering here or there, as your plant will have water retained it can use as a backup, thanks to the coffee grounds.
To learn more about the benefits of coffee grounds for your snake plants, you can watch this short video.
The Cons of Using Coffee Grounds
There is a major con of using coffee grounds instead of a product made for plants: it doesn’t come with directions. If you buy alternatives, the packaging almost always comes with instructions about how much of the product you should add and when.
Unfortunately, using a product like coffee grounds means not having easy access to specific instructions about use. Luckily, coffee grounds are actually quite simple to use in your soil, as long as you are careful not to overdo it. Too much of anything can be a bad thing, and this is also true for the acidity of your snake plants’ soil.
How Often Does Your Soil Need Coffee Grounds?
If you use compost with your soil, a rule of thumb is to add 1 cup of used or new coffee grounds once a week to the compost. To directly add it to your soil, add enough coffee grounds to your soil to have a ratio of 25% coffee grounds and 75% nutritious soil. You can continue to fertilize your soil every day for up to 10 days, but you should not continue to do so after the 10 days are up. This is because you will risk making your soil too acidic for your snake plants to properly survive in.
Alternatives for Acidic Soil Without Coffee Grounds
For those who may not drink coffee and therefore do not have coffee grounds around their home, or for those who simply wish to use an alternative product for coffee grounds, there are other things you can try to boost the acidity in your soil.
Ericaceous compost is a compost specifically tailored for plants that are lime-haters and acid-lovers. This compost is perfectly suited for plants that cannot survive in soil that is too alkaline.
The plants most commonly used alongside ericaceous compost are as follows:
- Certain kinds of magnolias
- As well as many others
Ericaceous compost can also be used with snake plants, as snake plants thrive in acidic soils.
If you would rather skip the coffee grounds, you could always simply purchase soil that is already acidic. This cuts out the middleman of needing coffee grounds to up the acidity within the soil.
Some popular brands include:
- Perfect Plants’ Acidic Potting Soil
- Farfard’s Acid-Loving Plant & Berry Soil Mix
- Dr. Earth’s Organic Acid Lovers Planting Mix
These are just three of the many different brands out there that sell acidic potting soil.
Keep in mind that the acidity in your soil will eventually need to be replaced as it is used up by your plant, washed away by flooding or overwatering, or when it becomes too alkaline. If you would rather not use coffee grounds, you can replace the soil around your plant that is not attached to roots with more acidic soil, or you can add acidic compost such as ericaceous compost.
Peat moss is another great alternative to coffee grounds and can make your snake plants’ soil acidic.
Peat moss is formed in swamps by layers and layers of decomposing moss lying on top of one another. It aids in the production of healthy microbes and can add gentle amounts of acidity to your soil when you would rather not use something such as coffee grounds.
How Coffee Grounds Compare to Other Substitutes
Alternatives can be a great thing to think about, as every plant’s needs are different, but if you are thinking about alternatives to use rather than coffee grounds, but you’re just not sure which is truly more beneficial, it can be confusing to choose one.
While coffee grounds, ericaceous compost, acidic soil brands, and peat moss are all great options, there are slight differences that may make you choose one over another. Ericaceous compost, acidic soil, and peat moss are created specifically for plants, and while this may seem more enticing for some people, coffee grounds should not be forgotten about either. In fact, not only are coffee grounds great for the health of lime-hating plants, but they are preferable for some people.
The first difference is how easily accessible it is to find. While ericaceous compost, acidic soil brands, and peat moss are all readily available in many garden shops, nothing can beat the availability of coffee grounds.
Coffee grounds can already be found in many homes without the need for a trip to a store, especially if you only need them for one or two plants. If you live in a place particularly far from a garn shop that sells ericaceous compost, acidic soil, or peat moss, it is very likely you live near a store that sells coffee grounds. Stores like grocery stores, supermarkets, and even some convenience stores readily sell coffee grounds.
Another great reason coffee grounds are so popular among garden enthusiasts is cost. The cost of ericaceous compost, acidic soil, and peat moss can add up quickly. While these may be great solutions if you need to buy large quantities easily, coffee grounds are relatively cheap. This is especially true if you only need the coffee grounds for a few plants around the house.
Whether you enjoy a cup of coffee or not, coffee grounds can be a great thing to have around the house for gardeners of all levels and experiences, as it is a great way to boost the acidity in your lime-hating plants’ soils. Remember to keep the ratio at 25% coffee grounds and 75% soil while fertilizing, and do not fertilize for more than 10 days at a time, as it can over-expose your beloved plants to acid. As long as you keep that in mind, you can sit back confidently, knowing your plants are as healthy as can be!