Are you an African violet fan like me who loves to experiment with different natural fertilizers to promote healthy and lush growth? If yes, then you must have heard about the rumored benefits of using coffee grounds as a fertilizer.
But have you ever wondered if coffee grounds are beneficial for your African violets or just a myth? In some cases, even though coffee grounds are known to be slightly acidic and include nitrogen, they can help African violets’ growth. It is recommended to occasionally sprinkle used coffee grounds over your African violet potting soil, as it can help your plant thrive.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about using coffee grounds to help your African violets thrive! If you wonder whether you can put coffee grounds in potted plants, I wrote a detailed article that I encourage you to read.
Why Use Coffee Grounds?
Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which are all essential nutrients for plant growth. When used as a fertilizer, coffee grounds can improve soil structure and help your plants grow stronger and healthier.
Generally, African violets grow well in slightly acidic soil, and coffee grounds can help maintain the acidic level of the soil.
During the plant growth phase, using a fertilizer with a balanced formula, like 20-20-20, or one with a little more phosphorus, like a 15-20-15, is recommended. In addition, some gardeners use milk and juice to make a homemade African violet fertilizer, including diluted compost tea, worm castings, or fish emulsion.
Do African Violets Do Well With Coffee Grounds?
African violets are renowned for their delicate and vibrant blooms, and they require specific nutrients to grow correctly. Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen, potassium, and magnesium, which are essential nutrients for plant growth.
Generally, African violets prefer a slightly acidic pH level of around 5.5 to 6.5 (Source: University of Georgia). Generally, using coffee grounds can make the soil more acidic, resulting in root damage, yellow leaves, and slow growth. However, if the coffee grounds are composted or mixed with other compost material to achieve a pH level of around 6.0, it could promote healthy growth.
The other issue with using coffee grounds as fertilizer is that they can be too potent. African violets are sensitive to high levels of nitrogen and potassium, which could result in overfeeding and burning the roots. A solution to this is to use a diluted coffee ground solution or mix the coffee grounds with peat moss, which acts as a natural buffering agent. Experts suggest using coffee grounds as a top dressing rather than mixing them into the soil to ensure regulated nutrient release.
Another consideration is the type of coffee grounds you use. Coffee grounds from different sources may contain varying levels of pesticides, chemicals, or other contaminants that could harm your African violet plant. It is best to use organic coffee grounds or coffee grounds that have been sourced from trusted sources.
How to Use Coffee Grounds For Your African Violets?
You can use coffee grounds as a top dressing, by simply sprinkling them on top of the soil, or as a soil amendment, by mixing them with the soil. However, it is important not to use too much coffee grounds since it can lead to a build-up of acid, which can harm your plant. A general rule of thumb is to use half a teaspoon of coffee grounds per plant per month.
If you wonder how to use coffee grounds as a fertilizer, I wrote a whole article discussing how!
When to Use Coffee Grounds?
Coffee grounds can be used throughout the year, but it is best to use them during the growing season. This is when your plant is actively producing new leaves and flowers and needs extra nutrients to grow. You can use coffee grounds every few months, but avoid using them too frequently, as this can lead to over-fertilization.
Remember to choose high-quality coffee grounds from reputable sources and organic if possible.
If you decide to use coffee grounds as a fertilizer, I recommend you use in moderation. Overfeeding your African violet can be fatal. Experts from the University of Georgia recommend fertilizing African violets with liquid or water-soluble balanced fertilizer (20-20-20) every four to six weeks during the growing season and holding off during the dormant season.
Other Benefits of Using Coffee Grounds?
Apart from being a great fertilizer, coffee grounds can also repel insects and pests. You can use them to create a barrier around your plants to keep ants and slugs away.
Moreover, coffee grounds are an eco-friendly option since they can be recycled instead of being thrown away. If you wonder which plants like coffee grounds and how to grow them properly, I wrote a whole article that I encourage you to read.
Precautions to Take When Using Coffee Grounds
Although coffee grounds can be good for your African violets, it Is important to use them in moderation. Using too much can harm your plant, lead to over-fertilization, and build up of acid in the soil.
Furthermore, since coffee grounds are acidic, it is important to test the soil’s pH level before use to ensure that your plant won’t get over-acidified. Ensure the pH level is optimal; use a diluted solution, and mix it with peat moss.
I believe that experimenting with coffee grounds as a fertilizer can be a fun way to explore different fertilizers and keep your African violets healthy, blooming, and vibrant.
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African violets can benefit from coffee grounds if used correctly. While coffee grounds can be a great way to improve soil structure and provide nutrients for your plants, it is important to use them in moderation.
By following the guidelines mentioned in this article, you can ensure that your African violets grow strong, healthy and produce beautiful flowers.