Do Pothos Like Coffee Grounds?

If you’re a coffee fanatic you’ve probably wondered if there are any other uses for coffee grounds and if they can be used for houseplants like pothos, but do pothos like coffee grounds or is this a common myth?

Coffee grounds can be a great way to introduce nutrients and moisture to your pothos, but it’s essential to know the correct way to do so. Coffee grounds can also cause some issues for pothos plants that you should be aware of before starting.

Let’s take a look at the different applications of coffee grounds for pothos, as well as the pros and cons, to see if this method is worthwhile or not.

Why Are Coffee Grounds Suggested For Pothos?

I’ve been pretty much addicted to coffee for the last couple of years, and I’ve used up a lot of coffee grounds in the process.

It always seems a shame to throw them away after I’ve prepared my morning brew, so over the last few months I’ve been researching the potential to use them on my golden pothos.

Since coffee grounds are an entirely natural product, it makes sense to think about using them for plants. When you combine this with the recent internet obsession with using coffee grounds to speed up houseplant growth, it’s clear why so many people are considering using them on their own plants.

In order to see whether this is the right option for you, and why I have personally avoided using coffee grounds on my golden pothos, I’ll walk you through the pros and cons below alongside the different ways in which they can be used (there are several!).

How Coffee Grounds Can Be Used On Pothos

Coffee contains around 2% nitrogen by volume, which is one of the three main nutrients that compose a complete fertilizer. It also contains small amounts of calcium, potassium, phosphorus and other nutrients.

There are three ways you can use coffee grounds on pothos to get the most out of the nutritional content.


Coffee grounds are a great source of nitrogen for composting and help to repel slugs and snails.

Using coffee grounds to make fertilizer is a great option as it can be added to a pothos soil mix which can be used for repotting or growing a propagated pothos. Keep the amount of compost to around 10% of the total mix, with the rest consisting of vermiculite, peat moss, perlite, sand, shredded bark and coco coir.

This is something that I have not personally tried due to living in an apartment, but the research does prove that coffee grounds are worth adding to compost which can then be used for a well-rounded pothos soil mix, so it’s definitely worth trying if you have access to a compost heap.

Liquid Fertilizer

There can be some complications if you add coffee grounds directly to your pothos, so an alternative is to prepare a liquid version that can be easily sprayed onto the pothos.

To do this, add coffee grounds to water in a container and let it sit overnight or for a few days. The ratio doesn’t really matter, as long as you add a fair amount of coffee (more than one or two cups) it will release nutrients into the water.

This can be used in place of water when misting or watering your pothos. Do this sparingly if you already use a fertiliser, something like once every two weeks.

Mulch/Soil Topper

When you hear about using coffee grounds on pothos plants, you probably assume that you add the coffee grounds directly to the soil as a mulch/soil topper.

Generally speaking, it’s better to mix a small amount of coffee grounds directly into the soil rather than adding it in a layer. This is even more important for used coffee grounds which can cause a dry, hydrophobic layer.

Golden pothos leaves up close

Benefits Of Using Coffee Grounds On Pothos

Coffee grounds have a lot of benefits for pothos plants, you just have to use them in the correct manner to reap the rewards.


I won’t bore you with the details again, but there are quite a few nutrients in coffee grounds – particularly nitrogen – that are helpful for pothos growth.

As long as you use them in addition to fertiliser rather than as a substitute there should be few issues. Start by replacing water with the coffee ground liquid and monitor the progress.

Excellent Addition To Soil Mix

As I mentioned earlier, coffee grounds are a great addition to compost which can then be added into a pothos soil mix in small amounts (10% or so).

Adding coffee grounds in this way is probably the best way to boost the nutrient content of your potting mix without worrying about some of the other problems that coffee grounds can lead to when added directly into the soil.

This also makes for a great opportunity when you next repot your pothos!

Maintain Soil pH Levels

A lot of people believe that coffee grounds are acidic, but it’s actually the water that is the main reason for this acidity.

On their own, grounds have a pH between 6.5 and 6.8, which is optimum for maintaining the right pH level in the soil for pothos to thrive.

Reduce Waste/Eco Friendly

If you drink coffee regularly and prepare it from ground then it makes perfect sense to put them to use once you’ve made your drink.

This will reduce waste and give you yet another reason to have another cup of coffee, not that we coffee lovers need an excuse to pour another brew.

Drawbacks Of Using Coffee Grounds On Pothos

Neglecting the drawbacks of coffee grounds for pothos plants is a recipe for disaster.

Nutrient Deficiency

Adding nutrients to your pothos is always a benefit, but if you replace your fertilizer entirely with a coffee ground solution you can cause deficiencies.

While coffee grounds are great for nitrogen, they don’t contain the full profile of nutrients that a pothos requires from a fertiliser. Use your coffee grounds in addition to a fertilizing product sparingly for best results.


If I forget to clean out my coffee machine drip tray for a week or two I notice mold growth happening right away.

This is no different to adding coffee grounds directly to your soil. If you don’t allow for the grounds to mix with the existing soil it will form a layer that can attract mold growth quickly as the roots will struggle to process water from this area.


Should You Use Fresh Or Used Coffee Grounds On Pothos?

Used coffee grounds are less acidic than fresh, so if you want to maintain the pH of your soil it is better to use coffee grounds that have been used.

The difference is quite small and will only become noticeable if you use coffee grounds excessively, however.

How Much Coffee Should You Add To Pothos?

If adding coffee grounds directly to the soil, I’d recommend starting with a cup or two and mixing it thoroughly with the existing soil rather than creating a layer, being careful not to damage any roots.

If you decide to add it as a layer you should aim for around half an inch of coffee grounds with an inch or two of mulch above.

Can You Use Instant Coffee Instead?

I’d recommend not using instant coffee as it has been processed much more than coffee grounds or fresh beans, so it is difficult to tell how this will affect the pothos.


Coffee grounds can be a great addition to pothos plants when used as a compost addition to soil or as a liquid fertilizer.

While the idea of adding coffee grounds directly to the soil sounds like a great plan, it is difficult to get right and can cause more problems than benefits in a lot of cases.

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About Me

Hi, I'm Joe! I'm the head of SEO and content management at Bloom and Bumble. I'm a huge plant lover and over the years my home has become more like an indoor rainforest. It has taken a lot of trial and error to keep my plants healthy and so I'm here to share my knowledge to the rest of the world.

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