As a coffee addict and plant enthusiast, I’ve experimented with coffee grounds on a lot of different plants, including Dracaenas, but do Dracaenas like coffee grounds?
In my experience, using coffee grounds as part of a compost mix is the best way to utilize them for Dracaenas and other houseplants. Coffee grounds offer little nutritional value on their own, and they can create excess moisture, which can attract pests or promote mold growth.
In this article, I’ll explain the pros and cons of using coffee grounds on Dracaenas, why I personally avoid it, and much more.
- How Coffee Grounds Can Be Used On Dracaenas
- Arguments For Using Coffee Grounds On Dracaenas
- (Some) Nutrients
- Arguments Against Using Coffee Grounds For Dracaenas
- In Summary
How Coffee Grounds Can Be Used On Dracaenas
You might think that the only way to add coffee grounds to a Dracaena is to add them directly to the soil, but there are actually a few other methods as well.
One method to use coffee grounds for dracaenas is to create a liquid fertilizer.
To do this, all you need to do is add coffee grounds to water just like you would with cold brew and leave it in the fridge for 24 to 48 hours.
This solution can then be used as a fertilizer once every two to three weeks or simply as a replacement for water.
Directly On Soil
Another way to use coffee grounds for Dracaenas is by simply adding them to the soil.
I experiment with this a few years ago and ran into many problems (which I will explain later), and I assume that this is the way most people (especially beginners) would assume is correct.
This is, in my opinion, the best way to use coffee grounds for Dracaenas.
Coffee grounds don’t have a significant amount of nutrients when compared to commercial fertilizer products, aside from a small amount of nitrogen.
When added to a compost mix, they will produce more nitrogen and other nutrients as they decompose, and this compost can then be added to your Dracaena soil mix during repotting to boost the nutrient profile of the soil.
Arguments For Using Coffee Grounds On Dracaenas
Although I personally avoid using coffee grounds on my Dracaenas these days, there are some valid arguments for using coffee grounds on these plants, such as nutrient content and waste reduction.
Coffee grounds contain a moderate amount of nitrogen – roughly 2% by volume.
Nitrogen is one of the three essential nutrients found in complete fertilizers and is responsible for leaf development.
Dracaenas Like Acidity
Dracaenas also appreciate slightly acidic soil, which is another factor in favor of coffee grounds.
Freshly brewed coffee specifically has a pH between 4.8 and 5.1, and Dracaenas prefer a soil pH of 6 to 6.5.
Adding coffee grounds to the soil, especially freshly brewed coffee grounds, is an easy way to make the soil more acidic for your Dracaena.
Using coffee grounds to fertilize your Dracaena is a good method for reducing waste.
Arguments Against Using Coffee Grounds For Dracaenas
I personally believe that using coffee grounds on Dracaenas isn’t worth it – let me explain why.
Increases Moisture & Risk Of Pests/Diseases
Coffee grounds contain quite a lot of moisture, especially fresh coffee grounds.
This can be a bad thing for a few reasons:
- Increased Risk Of Mold Growth & Other Types Of Fungus – This was one of the major problems I faced when using coffee grounds on one of my Dracaenas. Within a few days, mold started to grow, and I had to remove the grounds before it spread.
- Attracts Pests – Excess moisture on the surface of the soil can attract common Dracaena pests like mealybugs and scale.
- Can Cause Overwatering Problems – Coffee grounds not only contain a lot of moisture but also form a layer when they dry out, making watering difficult. It can also promote overwatered conditions where dormant fungi like root rot can thrive.
Better Options For Fertilizer
Another consideration is that there are other fertilizers available that have a more balanced nutrient profile specifically formulated for Dracaenas.
These fertilizers often have the appropriate amounts of the three main nutrients needed for plant growth – nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium – as well as trace elements that your dracaena needs to thrive.
Relying solely on coffee grounds may not provide all the essential nutrients that your dracaena requires for optimal growth.
Can Make Soil Too Acidic
Lastly, it’s difficult to know exactly how much coffee to add to get the pH into the correct range.
While dracaena plants enjoy slightly acidic soil, adding too many coffee grounds can increase the soil’s acidity to a level that’s unfavorable for your plant’s growth and health.
In my experience, it’s better to avoid using coffee grounds directly on your dracaena and opt for specially formulated fertilizers to ensure a healthy plant.
In my experience, using coffee grounds for your Dracaena is not a good idea unless you’re able to add them to a compost heap to add to your soil mix.
There are simply better alternatives to use for fertilizers that contain a more well-balanced nutrient profile and don’t risk attracting flies or increasing the likelihood of mold growing.
You can, of course, give it a try, but you will probably run into the same issues that I had.