Coffee has many uses in products ranging from cosmetics, furniture production, clothing, art, and organic fertilizers. Coffee lovers will tell you instant coffee is not considered coffee. It is coffee that has already been brewed, processed then packaged. However, instant coffee packs a punch and does have its uses in the garden.
The acidity and high nitrogen, potassium, and magnesium rates make instant coffee suitable for specific plants. It is also beneficial to leafy vegetables, tomatoes, and other household plants. Instant coffee may be used to revive a dying plant and as fertilizer. However, it should be used cautiously.
If you think the only use for instant coffee is drinking, read on. This article will advise you how best to use instant coffee in your garden, for your indoor plants, and for growing vegetables.
Why Should I Use Instant Coffee On Plants?
Instant coffee is pretty acidic. According to science experts, the lower the pH level, the more acidic the soil is. Many plants grow well in slightly acidic to neutral soil (5.8-7). Tap water is more alkaline, having a pH level of 7 or higher.
Both instant coffee and regular coffee have their uses in the garden. The critical difference between regular coffee and instant coffee lies in the production methods. Other than that, instant coffee is very much like regular coffee.
Even though regular coffee and coffee grounds are more widely known for their gardening benefits, instant coffee is also gaining popularity among some gardening enthusiasts.
Instant coffee has lower levels of caffeine than regular coffee.
However, it does have the same acidic level as regular coffee. The pH level of instant coffee is between 4,85 to 5,10, an optimum level to grow healthy plants. Therefore, using diluted instant coffee on plants increases the soil's acidity.
Soil that is neutral may be treated with acid-producing material, like instant coffee, that lowers the pH enough for acidic soil plants and flowers.
If, however, the area you live in has alkaline soil, it is easier to grow your acid-loving plants and flowers in containers or raised beds. This facilitates maintaining the soil with smaller quantities of instant coffee and less regularly.
A word of caution though, constantly test the soil's pH levels before adding instant coffee to it. Soil that is too acidic may be more harmful to your plants.
Just as instant coffee gives you a much-needed kick to get you through your day, it has a similar reaction in plants. Its fast reaction will instantly perk up any dry or drooping plants.
How Can Instant Coffee Improve Soil Quality?
For a plant to grow healthy and yield good produce, the quality of the soil needs to be appropriate. The pH level determines the nutrient availability of the soil. Plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons, blueberries, and tomatoes thrive best in acidic soil, with a pH between 5.0 - 5.5.
Vegetables, grasses, and some ornamentals are best suited to slightly acidic soils having a pH between 5,8 - 6,5. When soil is above or below this range of numbers, it will result in less vigorous growth and nutrient deficiencies.
For healthy plant growth, plants require nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These are known as the primary nutrients because they are required in larger quantities as compared to the other nutrients.
Calcium, sulfur, and magnesium, known as secondary nutrients, are required in smaller quantities but just as essential for plant growth as the primary nutrients.
Zinc and manganese, known as micronutrients, are needed in much smaller quantities. Most deficiencies in the secondary and micronutrient categories may be very easily corrected by keeping the soil at an optimum pH level.
Therefore, adding instant coffee to the soil corrects all nutrient deficiencies and brings the pH to a level that is advantageous to plants. Like coffee grounds, instant coffee also contains high amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which are much-needed essential nutrients.
Unlike using coffee grounds that may be added to your compost heap or used as mulch around the plants, you will not dump a whole lot of instant coffee and hope for the best.
Instant coffee must be used in smaller quantities, as needed. More details regarding the distribution and use of instant coffee for plants are given below.
Is Instant Coffee Good For Houseplants?
Besides making your home look good, indoor plants are a great way to improve air quality and reduce stress. Therefore, every endeavor should be taken to ensure your houseplants are healthy and free from disease or pests.
Instant coffee has an abundance of nutrients such as potassium, nitrogen, and magnesium, which are suitable for you and beneficial for your plants.
A fast and effortless way to ensure your plants' health is to share a cup of coffee with them. However, you first need to determine whether your plant is acidic or alkaline. Coffee can be harmful to some acidic plants, so you first need to test your plants' acidity before adding coffee.
Here is a simple guide to a few indoor plants instant coffee is good for.
Peace lilies thrive away from direct sunlight and are one of the few plants that enjoy acidic soil. Therefore, instant coffee is good for peace lilies because of the high acidity and nutrient content.
The instant coffee powder works as an insect repellant and will also keep cats away from your peace lily. It may also reverse the browning on the leaves. Add the instant coffee powder around the plant and then water.
Jade Or The Money Plant
Crassula ovate, also known as Jade, Money plant, or Lucky plant, is found in Mozambique and the coastal town of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. It sprouts white or pink flowers.
Instant coffee is suitable for this succulent. It can be mixed into the potting soil every six to twelve months to ensure a healthy plant.
The Christmas Cactus or Schlumbergera
It can be no surprise that this plant hailing from Brazil benefits from instant coffee. There are over nine species of this cacti that enjoy the shade and humidity.
There is not a gardener or plant lover who doesn't love a philodendron with its large bright green leaves that adds a tropical air to an otherwise dull and boring corner of your home or office space.
Although instant coffee is good for philodendron, you need to limit the amount and how often you feed it. Instant coffee should be a rare treat for this houseplant.
The same rule of thumb applies to the pothos as well. The Epipremnum, also known as Golden Pothos or devil's ivy, comes from the Araceae family, which may explain why instant coffee is suitable for this houseplant.
Instant coffee powders may be mixed in with the potting soil or dissolved in a bit of water and poured around the plant. Restrict feeding to once or twice a month.
Unlike the more extensive variety of roses, miniature roses may be grown indoors. They are lovely and elegant but do not take up too much space.
Miniature roses also thrive with large amounts of nitrogen and acid. Therefore, adding instant coffee now and again instead of water around the plant will give it a natural perk up.
Saintpaulia, or African Violet, originates in Africa from the Gesneriacacea family, of which there are ten herbaceous perennials.
Unlike some other plants listed above, the African Violet cannot get enough acid or nitrogen. That is why instant coffee is good for African Violets, and you may feed more regularly than other indoor plants.
Instant Coffee Is Good For Some Acid Loving Shrubs
These shrubs will thrive and grow healthy if instant coffee is added to their diet. Instant coffee will keep the pH level of the soil low. A few examples of these acid-loving shrubs are listed below.
Instant Coffee Is Good For Flowers
These flowers grow well at a lower, more acceptable pH level. Ground cover such as wintergreen, pachysandra, and all types of ferns enjoy soil that is acidic. Therefore, they would benefit from a healthy dose of instant coffee.
Acidic soil flowers such as Japanese iris, Caladium, Begonia, and trillium are examples of how instant coffee can enhance the soil quality and prove beneficial for both the plant and the soil.
Is Instant Coffee Good For Tomatoes?
If you are researching a natural alternative to perking up your tomato plants, you need only look in your cupboard. Instant coffee contains potassium, magnesium, nitrogen, and other trace elements, which are great to ensure healthy tomato plants and fruit.
Instant coffee also makes an excellent natural insect repellent, keeping ants and slugs away from your tomatoes.
Is Instant Coffee Good For Succulents?
If the soil in your garden does not contain sufficient nitrogen and other nutrients, the plant leaves will start to yellow, and the stems will get thinner, which will eventually affect the growth of the succulents.
Succulents may be at risk if chemical fertilizers are used. Therefore, instant coffee is an alternative as it contains all the nutrients succulents need. Also, instant coffee does not contain as much caffeine as regular coffee, which is a bonus for succulents.
Is Instant Coffee Good For Roses?
If you are looking for a quick me up for your roses, instant coffee is just what you need.
Like some other plants mentioned above, roses are acidic and therefore prefer acidic soil.
Instant coffee also makes a good insect repellent and works as a fertilizer for roses.
Can Instant Coffee Be Added To Fertilizer?
Many artificial fertilizers of today do not contain sufficient nutrients beneficial for plants. Therefore, mixing some instant coffee with your fertilizer will give the added boost needed to help your plants grow healthy.
Is Instant Coffee Good For Lawns?
In order for healthy grass growth, essential nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and other micronutrients are needed. When adding instant coffee to your lawn fertilizer, these nutrients are released much slower than the quick release in synthetic fertilizers.
Using instant coffee on lawns also helps the earthworms who seem to love coffee as much as we do! The earthworms munch on the instant coffee, breaking them down and aerating the soil.
The aerated soil, in turn, accelerates microbial activity, which further stimulates lawn growth.
Is Instant Coffee Good For Hydrangeas?
Hydrangea is another acid-loving plant. The plant is covered with bright blue flower heads when acidic soil.
While most acid-loving plants become chlorotic (yellow-green leaves) if pH levels are not low enough, the hydrangea's budding flowers blossom a fluorescent pink, with no leaf discoloration.
This is a clear indication of the pH level of the soil. Adding instant coffee around the hydrangeas will ensure a healthy plant with bright flourishing flowers.
Is Instant Coffee Good For Orchids?
With all the buzz about instant coffee being good for plants, you would be making a mistake if you thought to use it on your orchids. Even though orchids are acid-loving plants, this is one plant that instant coffee is not suitable for.
Instant coffee is good for plants that live in the soil. On the other hand, orchids are epiphytes; they do not grow on the soil. There are two reasons why instant coffee is not suitable for orchids.
- The orchid's roots cannot absorb coffee in its raw form without nitrifying bacteria.
- The nitrogen released into the soil is due to bacteria and earthworms, not the coffee itself.
Furthermore, if instant coffee is added to the orchid pot, there is no way for them to be absorbed by the roots. They stay in the pot, and the only purpose they serve will be to turn the roots a darkish brown.
You cannot use instant coffee on orchids as an insect repellent either. A 2% dose of caffeine kills 95% of slugs and snails. A study by scientists in 2002 found that a 1% coffee solution will kill 50% of snails, and a 0,1% coffee solution kills only about 20%.
However, the caffeine in instant coffee is insufficient to remove the slugs and snails on orchids.
How To Water Plants With Coffee?
If you cannot get a hold of coffee grounds, which gardeners most recommend, you may consider using instant coffee instead, as instant coffee is good for plants. However, there are a few guidelines to remember, as listed below, for maximum gain.
- Use only diluted black coffee for your plants.
- Never use coffee that contains milk, cream, sweeteners, or honey. These additives can cause plants to rot, attract fungus gnats, or other fungal diseases which can kill the plant.
- Never Add Hot Coffee to plants!
- Do not overuse instant coffee on plants. Continued use of instant coffee can cause stunted growth in plants.
- Plants should be watered down with coffee water once every two to three weeks.
How To Use Instant Coffee On Plants?
You may use instant coffee on plants in one of two ways.
- You may sprinkle directly onto the soil around the plant then water.
- Mix two to three tablespoons of instant coffee powder into water, then add to the soil. This allows for the release of minerals and other nutrients immediately into the soil.
Adding instant coffee to soil improves its pH levels, and in this way, improves the soil's quality. Instant coffee has valuable nutrients and minerals essential for improved soil quality.
They are also good at repelling harmful insects and pests. Unlike regular coffee, instant coffee does not contain as much caffeine, which may damage plants. Therefore, you may conclude that instant coffee is good for specific plants.