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watering with coffee or juice

April 11, 2006

I posted this in the frugal forum, and then thought I shouldcheck here.

Does anyone do this or have any ideas on this

I always end up with leftover juice and it seems like it could be used better than dumping it down the drain, and what about coffee?

Comments (23)

  • greattigerdane

    Just my opinion, but I wouldn't use anything other than water and fertilizer on my plants. Your looking at a ph issue, possible mold using that stuff I think.

    Billy Rae

  • rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

    I totally agree! Juice would end up being disgusting, and coffee is way too acid to use in containerized plants. The average cuppa may have a pH as as low as 4.5!

    I'd suggest that you pour less juice and don't have that last cup of coffee.

  • naturelover_mtl

    I'm not too sure this is a good idea either. I have a feeling that just the juice alone is an invitation to problems...primarily insects..

  • pirate_girl

    I'd say Rhizo's last line puts it perfectly!

    If the poster's intent on saving the juice, use it in smoothies, depending on what kind of juice this is (I do that w/ left over OJ, into yogurt containers & then the freezer for the next smoothie).

  • username_5

    For houseplants I wouldn't do this, but for outdoor plants where the organic matter will be quickly broken down and the ph of the material won't significantly affect the ground plants are growing in I think it would be just fine, even mildly beneficial.

    Indoors the soil volume is too limited to risk a ph swing and the sugary juice would be a bug magnet.

  • bluejean

    Saving it for smooties is a great idea. You could do that with the coffee too for a frozen coffee drink. Yum! but they both can be used in your compost pile if you have one. Just scrape back the surface stuff a little, pour and cover. Sweetens the compost up and when the compost is later used in the vegetable garden you end up with really yummy veggies!

  • trfk

    thanks I think ....

    I am going to try get composting this year so I will probably use most of it there, I know that sugar and coke are great ways to supercharge your compost pile. Feeding beneficial micro organisms aiding decomposition, thought if it works for them in compost might work for them in house soil, it's not like I am leaving juice out to rot.
    I did find learn that African Violets like coffee because they like acididty.
    I am gong to start collecting rain water as I have been using tap water for my houseplants since I have a water softener, and I don't think they apprecieate that. Just thought juice might be the ticket, it's not like I have gallons of it but I do have kids so there is some waste. Can't reuse it from all of their glasses. ick

  • rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

    Your house plant soil does not have the microorganisms, that's the whole point. Nor should it! By all means, dispose of those things in your compost pile! But you will be sorely disappointed if you begin feeding your housplants sugar, milk, and orange juice, lol. (laughing WITH you)

    Again, the pH of coffee is TOO LOW to introduce to containerized plants. Coffee grounds, perhaps, if you insist, but not the acid coffee. Outside in the compost pile or garden? Sure! Be mindful of the fact that it is never a good idea to load up the compost pile with too many acidy products. The microbes don't appreciate it, either.

  • birdsnblooms

    I'd NEVER use juice in plants..All it'd do is attract bugs and make your soil sticky.
    Some plants wouldn't mind a little coffee..acidic plants like hydrangea, gardenia, azalia and some others..but before adding coffee check to see if 'x' plants are prefer acidic or alkaline soils.
    BTW, before adding coffee, I wouldn't use anything that has milk/cream and sugar..Again these are bug magnets and would only hurt the plant..Toni

  • larry_b

    Hi trfk,

    I have been growing African violets for over 25 years and have never heard of watering a plant with coffee. Granted, African violets do like it to be a little acid. That is why a milled spagnum, vermiculite and perlite potting medium works so well. Like anything else there can be too much of a good thing. When spagnum gets old (six months to a year) it starts to break down and causes the soil to be very acid and that is why African violets should be repotted every six months or if you're lazy like me maybe every year. Again, this breakdown of the spagnum causes the soil to be more acidic and this lower pH makes it difficult for the violet to absorb nitrogen. If you're going to dump your coffee into the African violet pot every time you have some extra I'm afraid that you will do more damage than good.

    I just got off the phone with an African violet grower and mail order establishment to discuss this question. She didn't think the coffee in the violets was a very good idea at all. So, dump a cup of coffee in the violet pot if you feel like experimenting, but be careful about doing it all the time. I don't think you will be happy with the results.

    I hope this helps,


  • mrbrownthumb


    Go over to the experiments forum. There is a thread by a poster on GW where he was experimenting with growing plants in coffee grounds. Some didn't like it but I think he got a couple to continue growing. I haven't checked in a long while so I don't know if he's still posting his results. But it's an interesting thread to read if you like garden experiments.

  • soundgarden

    I would dilute it and dump it on a plant outside. I just read yesterday about a woman who was frying her houseplants by giving them coffee. WAY too much acid!

  • trfk


    Thanks for giving my question some thought, I apprecieate the time you put into it. I just wanted to add that the coffee African Violets thing was once in every five waterings. I haven't tried it yet but out of curiosity I am going to give it a try. When I do I won't use spagnum so I don't over acidify the soil. As a side not I also heard that coffee grounds are nearly neutral having a PH of 6.9 (all the acid gets leached into the coffee) but they are a good source of nitrogen.
    Thanks everyone for your time
    I promise not to juice my plants ;)

  • saltcedar

    And as ALWAYS, YMMV!

    My tap water has a pH of 9. Anybody think my coffee's
    too acidic for my plants?

    Chris in Arid Austin.

  • pdxjules

    All that kind of leftover stuff, including water from plants that is being changed, goes in my kitchen Compost bin. I rarely need to water the outdoor compost piles, as most amendments go in dripping wet...and well on their way to being compost tea. Greywater from rinsing things at the kitchen sink (and bathtub) gets used for compost too.

  • birdsnblooms

    Chris, 9 is very alkaline. What type of plants are u growing? I hope none that prefer acidic soil..(S)

    Pd, you must have one healthy compost..lol..Toni

  • albert_135   39.17°N 119.76°W 4695ft.

    I had a sanseveria (one of the rarer slim green ones, perhaps a kirkii) in a office that was 'watered' with nothing but stale black coffee for thirteen years. It was a low light, low coffee situation and the plant didn't do much. After retirement I put it in a proper environment and it produced many offshoots.

  • GrowHappy

    Wow, Albert. It's amazing that the plant survived. You just wouldn't think so. I think it knew there was a heaven waiting in the wings;)


  • birdsnblooms

    Albert, your Sans must have been high as a kite..LOL. What no donuts to go along w/the coffee..S Toni

  • heleninseattle

    I never heard of watering plants with juice but I do so with coffee frequently. I perk my own coffee and often put cool left over black coffee (no sugar, etc.) in water when watering my house plants. I sometimes put grounds in the water for my plants or mix them in the plant soil. None of my house plants or outside garden plants have minded at all. They're smiling, in fact. I used to live in Kona, Hawaii on a coffee farm. Plant hulls and residue from the roasting process is used as fertilizer. It is, after all, just part of the coffee plant and biodegradeable. Anything, of course, can be over done so don't go overboard. :-)

  • jeannie7

    Since most houseplants are tropical plants and I'd say 99.9% of them are acid lovers, the use of tea and coffee are definitely a go for use when watering.

    Tea has tennic acid in its make-up and as such is a good fertilizer when the time for such feeding may not be the right time...or in the case of some plants like rhodos and azalea, do not need much fertilizing, tea....and coffee, can do wonders.
    Next time you make a pot of tea....enjoy, then make a second pot and use that in your watering can.
    Use tea bags? Let them dry out, then open up the bag and sprinkle on the surface of your houseplants. Then each time you water, you give your plant a little acid fertilizer. A little nitrogen is given.

    There are questions about the tannic acid found in oak, mahogany, willow and walnut leaves. These contain tannic acid which can tan leather.
    Tea tannin cannot tan leather.
    The tea tannin, if you have stinky feet...put 3 or 4 tea bags into a bucket of water and soak your feet. Do this 3 or 4 times and your feet wont stink....and wont sweat so much. It can help also avoid blisters.

    Juice. I've never heard that a plant can use such acetic acid --as in citrus....or apple juice...definitely acid...
    might attract pests ...I don't know.

  • irishdescended

    Well I do sprinkle coffee grounds on my indoor plants, but its not for the benefit it may give the plant. Its that I had a problem with my cat thinking my plants were her personal litter boxes! I knew my plants were on a quick path to a agonizing death with all that cat urine soaking into the soil. I tried to think of something that had a low odor to humans, but yet a cat would smell alot stronger. And it had to be something that didnt hurt the plant. So I tried coffee grounds. And it worked! She hasnt touched them since. And yes I did change the potting soil out of the plants before I tried the coffee ground experiment. So if you have a problem with a cat trying to use your plant as a litterbox give this a try. It may work for you too. : )

  • albert_135   39.17°N 119.76°W 4695ft.

    Re: my post

    May 27, 2006 at 1:28PM above
    Not a kirkii. Don't know what I was thinking.

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