Do Pothos like Coffee Grounds – Pros & Cons for Your Pothos

A pothos on the article Do Pothos like Coffee Grounds

For a new gardener who wants an easy-to-care for indoor plant, then look no further than the Pothos.

These are widely regarded as one of the best indoor plants for people who want to start caring for a plant. They are easy and undemanding plants which add beautiful colour to your home.

Not only are they easy to care for, but their growing environment is also not anywhere near as critical as for many other indoor plants.

Pothos do well in bright, indirect sunlight as well as in low light areas. They will thrive in nutrient rich soil, although they will also grow in poor soil.

Because they can tolerate low light conditions you can place your Pothos in a bathroom or office where lighting conditions may be unsuitable for many other plants.

One question which is often asked is whether, along with many other plants, can give the Pothos plants coffee grounds and what effect they will have on the plant.

If the pH levels are alkaline side then adding coffee grounds to your pothos is a great idea. The ideal pH level for a pothos should be between 6.1 – 6.5, which is on the acidic side of the scale.

Adding coffee grounds increases the acidity in the soil along with providing a great source of nitrogen. Along with this it also contains potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus which is great for your pothos.

While we are always keen to do our best for our plants, it is important to know whether coffee grounds will do good or harm for our Pothos.

Should you Give your Pothos Coffee Grounds?

A pothos on a potAs with many other plants, coffee grounds are an excellent source of nutrients. Not only this, but coffee grounds contain some essential micronutrients and macronutrients which all work together to improve the soil.

Coffee grounds can help to moderate the temperature of the soil and is an excellent way to promote growth in your Pothos. Additionally, adding coffee grounds can help to give a balanced pH level in the soil or potting mix.

Research has shown that coffee grounds contain around 2% nitrogen. They also agree that coffee grounds placed on the surface of the soil are less effective than when they are mixed in with other compounds.

What researchers do agree on is that adding grounds to the soil vastly improves the structure and makes it easier for earthworms to feed and then deposit the grounds deeper in the soil.

Are Coffee Grounds Good for a Pothos?

Absolutely! Pothos prefer a higher acidity in their potting mix and adding coffee grounds will help to increase this acidity.

Coffee grounds contain nitrogen and plants simply love this element! This is because nitrogen helps plants to grow.

Sometimes the plants cannot absorb enough nitrogen from the air so making use of coffee grounds can be an ideal way of getting this important nutrient to them.

If your Pothos suffers from nitrogen deficiency you will see thin stems, stunted growth and leaves which become discoloured. Without enough nitrogen your plant may even die.

Not only are coffee grounds a good source of nitrogen, but they also contain potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus, all which make a healthy plant.

There is one thing to be aware of with adding coffee grounds to your soil mix.

The grounds will increase the pH level of the soil, which is great for Pothos but may be harmful for other plants. Be sure to check any other plants you add grounds to before you damage the plant.

Test the soil for acidity

Here’s an easy way to check the acidity of the soil.

  • Take a sample of your potting mix.
  • Place your soil in a container, along with ½ cup water and ½ cup baking soda.
  • Mix all together and note the reaction.

If the mixture starts to fizz or bubble it shows that your soil is acidic. This is because baking soda is alkaline, and the acidic soil is reacting to it.

Pothos can do well in soil that has pH levels of between 6.1 – 6.5, which is on the acidic side of the scale.

How Often Should you put Coffee Grounds on a Pothos?

Pothos do best with an application of coffee grounds once every 2-3 months.

If you are using the coffee grounds as a liquid application then you can use it on your Pothos once a month.

What are the Benefits of Coffee Grounds for your Pothos?

One of the benefits of using coffee grounds on your Pothos is that it is organic rather than chemical based.

Coffee grounds add organic matter to the potting mix and therefore improve drainage. They also improve water retention and help with aerating the soil.

What is the Different Way of Preparing your Coffee Grounds for your Pothos?

There are several different ways to use coffee grounds:

Organic Fertilizer

Sprinkled on top of the soil, coffee grounds act as a slow-release fertilizer, adding essential nutrients around your plant.

Mixed with Mulch

It is a good idea to add coffee grounds to mulch as long as the mulch is organic, namely leaf mold and compost.

Researchers differ about the benefits of adding grounds to seedlings as this may be detrimental to the growth. They do agree however that grounds should be added to organic matter if you plan on using it as mulch.

Add to Potting Mix

You can add between 10% – 20% grounds to your Pothos potting mix. It is a good idea to also add other organic matter, mix well and repot your Pothos. The addition will increase the nutrient value of the potting mix.

Compost Tea

A golden pothos

By creating a liquid fertilizer, you will be watering your Pothos rather than using the grounds directly onto the soil.

The easiest way to make a compost tea is to have 5 gallons of water in a container. Add two cups of coffee grounds and mix. Let stand overnight and then use as liquid fertilizer.

A note about adding dry grounds: it is best to water your Pothos within 48 hours of sprinkling the grounds so that your plant gets the full benefit of the nutrients..

Make sure that the water gets to the roots – you may want to poke several small holes around the plant so that the water runs down.

Do you Have Too Many Grounds?

If you grind your own coffee each morning you may find you end up with a pile of grounds which you cannot use right away.

It is a great idea to add to your compost pile and once you have done that you can place the grounds in a plastic tub until you are ready to use them. If stored this way they will not go bad.

What are the Disadvantages of Coffee Grounds for your Pothos? 

Unfortunately, while there are many advantages to adding coffee grounds to your Pothos, there can also be disadvantages.

Can Form a Solid Form on Top of Soil

Because of the very small particles which make up ground coffee, you may find that when they dry out they form a solid layer, which water does not get through. Your Pothos will suffer from lack of water.

If you plan on using coffee grounds as a topping then be sure to add them to a mulch or top dressing so that water can soak away easily.

Harmful for Dogs

If your dog is in the habit of nibbling the odd plant you should be aware that coffee is not good for dogs. Indeed, a large amount of coffee grounds can be toxic to an animal.

If there is any chance of your pooch digging in the soil around your plant then resist the urge to add grounds on the top.

Bad for Seedlings

Caffeine can inhibit the growth of seedlings and small plants. If you plan on starting any plants from seeds or cuttings then it is best to avoid using coffee grounds on them.

The grounds may kill the seedlings before they have a chance to mature.

Root Growth Suppressed

Too much caffeine will supress the growth of the roots, even on a mature plant so be careful to not overdo the coffee grounds, and make sure that they are well mixed with the potting mix.

Good Bacteria may be Destroyed

While caffeine does contain some antibacterial qualities, too much of this is not good for the soil.

By adding antibacterial matter to the mix, you will be in effect killing off the good bacteria which in turn will make the soil vulnerable to pest attacks.

Additionally, adding coffee grounds in vast quantities can kill off the earthworms that help to aerate the soil around your plant.

So, how Much Coffee Grounds Should you add to Your Pothos?

Never put a layer down which is deeper than ½ inch, thinner is better, and then cover with a good amount of mulch.

Better still, mix it all up and add it to your regular compost pile as this will improve the nutrient value even before you add it to your plants.

For your compost to be balanced you should add no more than 20% of coffee grounds to your heap.

Final Thoughts

A golden pothosPothos are among the easiest plants to grow. They require minimum care and attention and will do even better with the addition of coffee grounds to the soil they grow in.

In most household, coffee grounds are freely available. If you do not use ground coffee, you will normally be able to ask for some from a local coffee shop.

If used correctly coffee grounds are an excellent natural fertilizer for your Pothos plants, because of the high nitrogen level. Ideally you should mix your grounds with soil or make them into a liquid fertilizer before adding to your Pothos.

With minimal care and attention, and a regular infusion of coffee grounds, there is no reason why your Pothos should not thrive and be healthy for many years.

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