Last week when I was moaning about the sad state of my gardenias I did some research online about caring for them and came across a video by some garden expert in the USA and he said “and don’t forget to sprinkle your old coffee grounds around the base, the Gardenias will thrive”. I thought I wasn’t hearing correctly … coffee grounds?? I replayed it a few times to make sure I was hearing right and then started googling “Coffee Grounds fertiliser”. Seems this has become a common practise with organic gardeners. In the USA they go to Starbucks who willingly hand over their coffee grounds to anyone who wants them (see photo below of the little “coffee fertiliser” packets they give away!)

So here’s my point … I thought to myself that I have nothing to lose trying it out. After all, the Gardenias can’t really look much worse than they do right now and what harm could some old ground up coffee do? So I did it … all those little coffee pods from my Lavazza machine … we now have a use for them! After one week, my Gardenias look 100% better!! No more yellowing of the leaves, in fact the plants look much greener already – two of them are totally green, a nice dark green with really shiny leaves again. I’m also  seeing new growth and one produced two flowers this week, no bud drop! Can it really work that quickly? We will see, I’ll keep emptying the used coffee pods and throwing the contents into the soil!

Coffee grounds fertiliser

Coffee grounds fertiliser from Starbucks

Here is what I found on sustainableenterprises.com about why it works:

Coffee by-products can be used in the garden and farm as follows:

  • Sprinkle used grounds around plants before rain or watering, for a slow-release nitrogen.
  • Add to compost piles to increase nitrogen balance.  Coffee filters and tea bags break down rapidly during composting.
  • Dilute with water for a gentle, fast-acting liquid fertilizer.  Use about a half-pound can of wet grounds in a five-gallon bucket of water; let sit outdoors to achieve ambient temperature.
  • Mix into soil for houseplants or new vegetable beds.
  • Encircle the base of the plant with a coffee and eggshell barrier to repel pests.
  • If you are into vermi-posting, feed a little bit to your worms

And this I found on another site: One of the main ways to use the grounds in the garden is to utilise the nutrients they contain as a fertiliser. Acid loving plants such as evergreen, azaleas, laurels, rhododendrons, camellias and roses will flourish with grounds sprinkled around them. My own rose bushes thrived once the grounds had been added and this manifested itself in some really beautiful roses. However do be careful that when the grounds are scattered they do not touch the bush itself as this can cause burning.

Another one: Used coffee grounds are also said to be good for plants who have a more “acidic” taste such as aforementioned milflores. Other plants include roses, azaleas, avocados and lemon trees.

So, I’ll save some of my coffee pods for you – seems it might be good for the worms and veggies too!!