When they were younger, our kids loved growing pineapple plants from the sprouting tops they chopped off. However, I must admit we never thought to fertilize them with coffee grounds. So is this a good idea?
Applied once a week so they don’t clump together and form a water barrier, coffee grounds are very good for pineapple plants as they contain nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. Nitrogen helps plant development, potassium is essential for fruit production, and phosphorus promotes root growth.
Let’s dive down into the subject of giving coffee grounds to your pineapple plants in more detail, and discover why they’re so good for your growing plants, and the best way to apply them…
Can I Put Coffee Grounds in My Pineapple Plant?
Yes you can. Used coffee grounds make great fertilizer, because they contain nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. These are all great for your pineapple plant.
Nitrogen is good for plant development, while potassium is essential for fruit production. Phosphorus promotes root growth. And all of these helpful nutrients are available for free, in your coffee filter!
Will Coffee Grounds Help or Hurt My Pineapple Plant?
Coffee grounds will help your pineapple plant, because they contain nutrients that promote fruiting, root growth, and cell development. The grounds release nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus slowly into the soil around your plants.
Your old coffee grounds are also good for the soil, because worms are surprisingly fond of caffeine. Even better, pests like snails and slugs aren’t so keen on coffee, so bug-wise, grounds are a real win-win.
Just be careful that the coffee grounds don’t form an impenetrable crust around the plants. Coffee grounds have a tendency to clump together to form a solid mass (which is why we don’t put them down the drain).
If the used grounds form a crust around the pineapple plants, water won’t be able to get into the soil and keep the roots moist (and pineapple plants do like moist, well-drained soil). To prevent this, scatter the grounds loosely then rake them in.
What Nutrients Does a Pineapple Plant Need to Grow?
Luckily, two of the main nutrients a pineapple plant needs are nitrogen and phosphorus, so your used coffee grounds are perfect for these South American natives.
However, even a large dose of grounds may not be intense enough for hungry young plants, so you may choose to use a commercial fertilizer as well as your coffee.
Never grown pineapple plants before and feeling keen to know more? Here’s a guide to growing pineapples at home, which takes you through everything from planting to how to cut the delicious ripe fruit.
Are Coffee Grounds Good for All Fruit Trees?
Because they release essential nutrients into the soil, coffee grounds are generally beneficial for most fruit trees. Apparently citrus trees really like them.
You’ve probably read that coffee grounds are acidic so can be good for balancing alkaline soil. Actually, used coffee grounds are pretty neutral, so this benefit has been rather overhyped.
The main reason why grounds are good for trees is because they really help the soil. By aerating the soil, improving drainage, and slowly releasing natural chemicals, coffee grounds really enhance the quality of the soil around the fruit trees.
One word of caution: clumpy coffee grounds can inhibit seedling and young roots, so be aware of this before you state liberally scattering them around your yard.
Can You Put Too Much Coffee Grounds in Soil?
The main problem with using a lot of coffee grounds in your soil is that they could form a barrier, which will actually have a negative effect on the plants.
Think about how coffee grounds work during the extraction process. They’re actually designed to make it hard for water to travel through them. Water pushes slowly through the coffee grounds, picking up the aromas and flavors as it travels. Delicious.
Now transfer that process to the soil. If there are enough grounds to form a layer, they will slow down the movement of rainwater and other fertilizers, actually depriving the roots of what they need.
Because wet grounds have a clumping habit, they will get together eventually and form a water-resistant crust on the soil. The more grounds you use, the harder it is to scatter them and the more likely they are to clump.
How Often Should You Add Coffee Grounds to Pineapple Plants?
We reckon once a week should be enough to give your pineapple plants a caffeine-filled dose of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus.
Coffee grounds are a slow-release fertilizer, gradually releasing their goodness into the soil, so you really don’t need to keep adding them.
How much do you need to use? This depends on how many plants you have! Try to stick to the rule that you want a good scattering rather than a layer, to make sure you don’t add too many.
Over the week, collect your used grounds in a container, then give the plants a treat at the weekend. Coffee grounds do attract mold, so you can either keep them in the refrigerator, or just collect three or four days’ worth of used grounds prior to scattering them.
Don’t waste the other three or four days of used coffee, however. You can pop them straight into the compost (most paper filters are biodegradable), where the worms will be delighted when they encounter this tasty treat.
If you have other coffee-loving plants, you could always devise a rota system and share the grounds around.
Is It Better to Give Coffee Grounds to Pineapple Plants Mixed With Water or Not?
It’s best to feed your pineapple plants with dry (or close to dry) coffee grounds. These are easier to mix into the soil, while wet grounds are already on their way to forming those clumps we spoke about earlier.
In fact, some gardeners actually dry out their coffee grounds a bit before sprinkling and raking them into the soil.
On a warm day, you can simply scatter the grounds onto paper or a baking sheet and leave them in a sunny spot to dry.
On a cooler or wet day when you can’t stick your used grounds on the porch, gently microwave them to remove some of the moisture. If you’ve been baking, stick them on a baking sheet in the oven while it cools down. Your kitchen will soon smell like Starbucks.
And this reminds us… What if you’re growing plants like pineapples that really like coffee, but you’re not so keen yourself? Ask at your local coffee shop, because they’re usually more than willing to pass on some of their used grounds to gardeners. 🙂