Do Pothos Like Coffee Grounds? Answered + Benefits & Dangers

Drinking a cup of coffee in the morning is a popular way to start your day. Over 80%¹ of adults drink coffee daily! It boosts energy, raises alertness, and is a great way to get some beneficial antioxidants in your diet!

If you’ve ever wondered if you could share this magic potion with your Pothos plants (Epipremnum aureum), you can! Coffee has tons of incredible benefits that will make your Pothos thrive.

Key Takeaway: Do Pothos Like Coffee Grounds?

Using nutrient-rich coffee grounds can significantly improve Pothos plant growth by enhancing soil acidity and providing essential nutrients like nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. To effectively incorporate coffee grounds, mix them into the soil or sprinkle them on the surface in moderation, avoiding over-fertilization. Proper guidance and suitable amounts can optimize your Pothos plant care routine.

Are Coffee Grounds Good for Pothos? Yes!

Let’s put an end to the question, “do pothos like coffee grounds?”, and explain its benefits.

Nitrogen-Rich Fertilizer

Coffee grounds are an excellent nitrogen source, one of the essential nutrients for healthy and robust plant growth, along with potassium and phosphorus. Also contain magnesium, copper, calcium, zinc, and other trace minerals. These micronutrients are also going to help your Pothos to grow lush foliage. 

Using coffee grounds as a pothos fertilizer will encourage it to put out healthy, strong leaves and grow abundantly throughout its growing season!

Helps Balance Soil pH Levels

Coffee is acidic, which means that when you add coffee grounds to the soil of your houseplants, it lowers the soil’s pH level. Like most plants, Pothos like to have a soil pH that is slightly acidic and sits between 6.0 and 6.5².

However, before applying coffee to your Pothos’ soil, it’s a good idea to test the soil’s pH level beforehand. This way, you can prevent lowering the pH too much and turning the soil too acidic, which could cause issues for your Pothos’ roots!

Organic Pest Repellent

Due to the acidity and pungent smell of coffee, it can keep houseplant pests at bay. Pothos plants are prone to pests like mealybugs, thrips, and fungus gnats. 

Using coffee grounds, rather than chemical pesticides, is a very effective and organic method to keep pests at bay! It can also help bind up and remove toxic pesticide residue.

However, please note that using coffee grounds will not treat pests already attacking your Pothos. But they can help prevent infestations from occurring.

How To Use Coffee For Pothos

grinding coffee to use with golden pothos plant

Use Coffee In Compost

Adding coffee grounds is an excellent way to add nutrients to your compost and reduce waste. Composting your used coffee grounds will ensure that none of your coffee’s nutrients go to waste! 

Mix your coffee grounds in the compost pile, and you’re done. It takes no extra care or effort. 

Did you know that you can compost used coffee filters, as well? Earthworms, essential for healthy and nutritious compost, love to feed on coffee and coffee filters. 

Brew Coffee Grounds Tea

Instead of using a regular liquid plant fertilizer, you can use your coffee grounds to brew a “tea,” which can act as an organic, natural fertilizer for your Pothos

To brew coffee grounds tea, add 2 cups of used coffee grounds into a mesh strainer. If you don’t have one, you can use a sock instead! Next, get 5 gallons of water, add the coffee, and let it steep overnight. 

You can then use this mixture to water your Pothos plants as you would with a fertilizer.

Mix Coffee Grounds Into The Potting Mix

If you like to create your potting soil yourself by mixing different ingredients, adding coffee grounds directly into the mix is an excellent way to enhance the nutrient content of your soil. Add it together with organic matter in similar amounts.

Simply pot your plants using your homemade potting soil, and your Pothos will soon thrive and grow long, lush vines! 

Add It On Top Of Your Golden Pothos’ Soil

There is always to possibility to simply mix the coffee grounds directly in the top layer of your Golden Pothos’ potting soil. Alternatively, you can sprinkle it over the top of your pots. This will make the coffee grounds act as a slow-release fertilizer.

Every time you water your Pothos, the nutrients of the coffee get released in the soil, providing your plant with the building blocks it needs to grow! 

Sprinkling coffee grounds on top of your Pothos’ soil will also help keep houseplant pests at bay. As there are some claims that the caffine we humans love help to keep the pest and animals such as rabbits, cats, and slugs and snails (when growing outdoors) away. 

Please keep in mind that this method may come with some downsides. Coffee grounds hold a lot of moisture, which may cause issues for plants sensitive to overwatering, such as Pothos. 

Dangers of Using Coffee Grounds With Pothos

closeup of dying pothos plant - leaf turning brown and black

Might Turn Soil Acidic

If you use coffee grounds all around your plant collection, please note that the increase in soil pH can harm some plants! Certain plants, such as lavender, tomato plants, or Orchids, need alkaline soil to thrive. 

Too acidic soil can harm young plants with small, sensitive root systems. If you want an organic fertilizer for your baby plants, consider using banana peels or eggshells instead. These contain high levels of beneficial nutrients without the added acidity.

It’s also worth noting that the acidity of coffee grounds is debatable, and many people believe that they are not as acidic as some claim. The best and safest way to ensure your plants get the proper pH is by using a soil tester.

Coffee Grounds May Suffocate Your Pothos

Coffee grounds hold on to lots and lots of moisture. Too much moisture can be beneficial, but it may also come with some issues. For Pothos’ roots to remain healthy, they need good aeration and drainage in the soil. 

Because coffee grounds can retain too much water, they may weigh down your Pothos’ soil, closing up the air pockets. As a result, the roots don’t have access to oxygen and can begin to suffocate. As they are dying, they will quickly fall prey to root-rot-causing bacteria!

A good solution for this issue is to use only small quantities of coffee grounds in your Pothos’ soil or create a liquid fertilizer tea with the grounds instead. 

May Increase Fungal Growth

Due to the moisture coffee grounds hold, using coffee on your houseplants can create a perfect environment for fungus and bacteria to thrive, which may increase the risk of fungal infections and bacterial diseases for your Pothos.

To prevent this from happening, opt for a coffee ground fertilizer rather than mixing the grounds directly into the soil. 

Potential Nitrogen Intoxication

Even though nitrogen is essential for your Pothos to grow lush and vibrant vines, too much can cause harm to the plant too. To ensure that your Pothos gets the right amount of nutrients, you can purchase a soil tester that measures the nutrients in your plant’s potting soil. 

An excess of nitrogen in the soil may cause burnt leaves, discolored leaves, or even root burn, leading to rot of the root system over time. 

To prevent overfertilizing your Pothos with nitrogen, avoid using multiple fertilizers simultaneously (liquid fertilizer and coffee), and do not fertilize too often. Once a month, from March to October, is more than enough.

Other Plants That Benefit From Coffee Grounds 

Garden plants like Azaleas and Rhododendrons love acidity in their soil! Which means they will thrive when you fertilize them using coffee grounds. Another great way to use coffee grounds for your Azaleas is to add them to your mulch, as they can increase the water retention on your mulch. 

Other plants that will benefit from coffee grounds include Cyclamen, Peace Lily, Miniature Roses, Monstera, Blueberries, and Hydrangeas.

Succulents like Jade Plant, Snake Plant, or Christmas Cactus love to grow in acidic soil and will love the nutrient boost that comes with using coffee grounds. However, please avoid using coffee grounds directly in the soil because succulents will quickly develop root rot if their soil becomes too heavy and water-retaining. 

Which Plants Do Not Like Coffee Grounds?

Because coffee grounds can raise the acidity in the soil and retain too much moisture, you should avoid using them on plants that need alkaline soil or plants such as succulents, which will suffocate quickly in excess moisture. 

Can You Put Used Coffee Grounds On My Houseplants

Yes, you can! However, please remember that unbrewed, fresh coffee will be much more acidic than used coffee. So if you are trying to lower the pH of your plant’s soil and increase acidity, you will be better off using fresh ground coffee instead. 

FAQ About Pothos and Coffee Grounds

How Much Coffee Grounds To Add To Your Pothos?

When making coffee grounds fertilizer, add two cups of used coffee grounds to 5 gallons of water and let it steep overnight. In the morning, you are left with nutrient-rich houseplant fertilizer that your Pothos will love. 

If you want to add coffee grounds directly to your plant’s soil, please only add a small amount. A thin layer of half an inch or even less will be sufficient. Too much will increase the risk of suffocating your Pothos’ roots and invite fungal growth. 

How Often Should You Add Coffee Grounds To My Pothos Plants?

You can use coffee grounds fertilizer once a month during the active growing season as a replacement for a houseplant fertilizer. Simply sprinkle some used coffee grounds over your plant’s soil or water using the coffee fertilizer solution.

References

1: Caffeine & Long Work Hours | NIOSH | CDC. (2020, April 1). Caffeine & Long Work Hours | NIOSH | CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/emres/longhourstraining/caffeine.html

2: POTHOS (EPIPREMNUM AUREUM) DISEASES: IDENTIFICATION AND CONTROL IN COMMERCIAL GREENHOUSE PRODUCTION. (n.d.). Retrieved March 6, 2023, from https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/PP340

Website | + posts

Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.