Are Coffee Grounds Good For Fig Trees – A Complete Guide

A fig tree on the article Are Coffee Grounds Good For Fig Trees

If you have had fig trees for a while, you have probably heard or realized that fig trees do not need much fertilizer.

You can easily grow a healthy fig tree without as much as lifting a finger to fertilize it.

Giving it more fertilizer than it needs can, in fact, prove more harmful than depriving it of fertilizer.

A fig tree that has had too much fertilizer is more likely to suffer damage from the elements.

Plus, it will produce fewer fruits, grow less and overall look unhealthy. However, this does not mean that you should not ever fertilize your fig tree.

Instead, it points to the need to practice moderation. Fertilizer, when used right, can promote healthy tree growth and more fruit production.

To avoid splits and cracks in the trunks and branches from too much fertilizer, we will cover how you can use fertilizers.

We will also explain why coffee grounds may be good for your fig trees and other possible fertilizer options.

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Are Coffee Grounds Good for Fig Trees?

A fig tree with figs onBefore we get into the suitability of coffee grounds as fertilizers, let’s first cover how often you should fertilize the trees.

Ideally, you should do this when the tree starts showing signs of nutrient deficiency. These include pale leaves and stunted growth.

Once you have ruled out other possible causes, you can fertilize the plant.

Also, you may need to use more fertilizer than other gardeners because of the environment in which you grow the tree.

For example, a fig growing in sandy soil will likely need more fertilizer than one growing in well-draining and rich soil.

In such a case, once every year should be enough to combat nutrient loss. Also, if your plant is near others that compete for nutrients, it may need a yearly boost.

Feeding Your Fig Tree

Now, how often should you fertilize your tree? It’s best to space out the feeding to avoid giving it too much nitrogen at once.

Trees between one and two years can do with an ounce of fertilizer per month. You should do this once new leaves start showing, as this will speed up their growth.

As the growing season comes to an end, cut back on the fertilizing. Older trees can handle more feeding, and you can give them a third of a pound of fertilizer during active growing months.

Please note that before fertilizing the trees, you should look out for any signs of overfertilizing.

These include the fruits not ripening well, the branches cracking, and the tree looking unhealthy.

While these signs may owe to other causes such as underwatering, you will not want to ignore them.

First, try and assess the problems and figure out what may be causing the issues.

For example, if the tree is underwatered, you may want to increase the watering schedule and amount.

Do this for every issue and see if the tree improves. If it does not, underfeeding could be the issue, and you can go ahead and add more fertilizer.

Direct the fertilizer towards the roots of the trees, ensuring that you leave at least a foot between the tree base and the fertilizer.

The root zone lies within this section, and the roots will be in a position to soak up the nutrients and use them for the tree’s good.

As you water the fertilizer, it will seep into the soil and get to the roots. Over time, the results of your feeding should show, with the tree showing improved health.

If you are enjoying this article, check out our article on how to get rid of gnats in plants using coffee grounds.

So, Are Coffee Grounds Good for Fig Trees?

Rather than use traditional commercial fertilizers, some gardeners swear by using coffee grounds. Is this a good idea?

Think about it this way. Most people start their day with a steaming cup of coffee. Their coffee grounds go into the wastebin, and that’s about it.

With millions of people emptying their coffee grounds into waste buckets, one cannot help but wonder if these grounds can do much more.

It’s one of the reasons organic gardeners have taken to using coffee grounds and other natural fertilizers.

They are easy on the plant, the environment as a whole, and your pocket. Besides, their acidity could be beneficial to your plant.

However, please note that acidity only works for acid-loving plants. Using coffee grounds on plants that prefer higher pH levels can damage the plants.

Also, too much acidity can damage the plant’s roots. Here’s another perk to using coffee grounds for your fig trees, they are rich in nitrogen, a major component in most commercial fertilizers.

They are about 1.45% nitrogen which might be the slight boost you need to get your fig in good shape.

Are there risks to using coffee grounds for your fig trees? Yes. They can encourage more moisture retention. Your tree having access to adequate moisture is a good thing.

Lots of green figsIt takes away the need to stick to a strict watering schedule and ensures the tree is in good health. On the downside, it can pave the way for fungal growth.

When caught at a later stage, root rot may have advanced to a point where you cannot save your plant.

Secondly, there’s the risk of impaired plant growth by creating an over acidified environment.

Finally, there is the issue of drainage. Coffee grounds are solid, and if they are not in a composting environment, they can hamper the drainage in the soil.

Instead of helping the fig roots drain excess water, it can clog the drainage holes and cause moisture retention.

Once mold starts growing, it’s only a matter of time before the environment is no longer ideal for plant growth.

How can you know that you’re overfeeding your fig? The plant will show you! Fig trees generally thrive in slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soils.

If you go anywhere close to the extremes, the plant will not be happy and will have a hard time absorbing nutrients from the soil.

By keeping the pH within the ranges of 6.5 to 7, you can avoid this. Now, keep in mind that coffee grounds will generally have a level of about 6.5 to 6.8, which should be great.

But if they have coffee on them, this can fall to about 5.2, which is way too acidic for the plant.

One sign of too much acidity is yellowing in leaves, which you would notice in an underfed plant.

If plant roots cannot absorb nutrients due to low pH, your plant will seem underfed. Plus, it can also suffer stunted growth.

Unfortunately, you might see this and think that the plant needs more fertilizer, prompting you to add more coffee grounds. It will only worsen the situation.

Here’s what you should do. Get a soil meter and measure the pH of your soil. If it’s above the 6.5 to 7 range or below it, you need to amend the soil.

You can either move the plant and if this is not possible, you can buy some alkaline drops and use them on the soil.

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How to Fertilize with Coffee Grounds

Please note that while coffee grounds can give your plant a boost, they lack magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium.

They may have small amounts of these nutrients but not as significant as those in commercial-grade fertilizers.

However, the grounds may be sufficient for now until your plant needs something else.

First, you have to make sure the grounds do not have any sugar or cream. These components will only encourage microbial growth, which would damage the plant.

You can then use the grounds like you would other fertilizers. Leave them on the soil around the root base and water the plant.

Over time, the nutrients will seep into the soil and get absorbed by the roots.


For trees aged one to two years, fertilize the fig once a year. For trees above this age range, you can fertilize the fig during each growing season.

The amount used is not standard, and it depends on your initial assessment of the tree.

Are Eggshells Good for Fig Trees?

It’s easy to focus on the nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium needs of the plant and forget another important one- calcium.

Just as we humans need calcium, your fig tree does too. Eggshells boast high amounts of calcium, and if you want a cost-effective yet practical way of adding more of it to the fig’s soil, here’s an idea!

It can also help balance the acidity brought on by the coffee grounds.

How to Fertilize With Eggshells

The process is quite simple. You will need to crush the eggshells into smaller pieces to make it easier for them to break down in the soil.

It takes months for the pieces to break down finally. You may want to start tilling them into the soil in the fall.

Unlike coffee grounds which you leave on top of the soil, you need to work the shells into the soil. You can add more shells in the spring, taking caution not to raise the soil’s Ph too much.

For best results, mix your eggshells with coffee grounds to give your plant the best of both worlds.

The eggshells will help with aeration and offset any adverse effects brought on by coffee grounds.


For trees aged one to two years, fertilize the fig once a year. For trees above this age range, you can fertilize the fig during each growing season.

The amount used is not standard, and it depends on your initial assessment of the tree.

What Else can you Fertilize your Fig With?

A green fig treeIf natural feeding does not work for you or your tree needs something a bit stronger, you can use store-bought fertilizer.

Go for either 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 options. These should be strong enough to boost the tree’s growth without hampering healthy growth. Anything stronger than this may damage the tree.

Just as you would use traditional fertilizer, use these natural solutions too. Be cautious with them, though, and use smaller amounts at first as you help your plant warm up to the newcomers.

Before you go, here are some more related articles I encourage you to read below to help solve more of your gardening issues:

How To Take Care Of Your Coffee Plant With Brown Leaves

Why Does Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Have Multiple Stems

How to Get Rid of Spider Mites on a Fiddle Leaf Fig

Happy gardening!

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