Do Succulents Like Coffee Grounds? What to Do

Millions of people consume coffee daily and as a result, tons of coffee grounds are discarded. According to soil experts, coffee grounds can be repurposed to benefit plants. The grounds can be used as a soil amendment, compost ingredient, or for snail and slug control.

Coffee grounds are slightly acidic and using them in your gardens can be more beneficial to plants like succulents which love acidic soils. Grounds can also help to improve soil structure for better drainage and soil aeration, thus preventing issues of root rot.

In this guide, explore more on why succulents love coffee grounds and how you can add the ingredients in the soil for maximum benefits to your plants.

Do succulents like coffee grounds

Do succulents like coffee grounds?

Coffee is a popular beverage and its caffeine content makes some people less tired, more alert, and more focused. For plant lovers, there’s also good news to hear about these remnants of coffee brewing. You can compost and use them to improve the health and vigor of your plants.

Here are some of the benefits your succulents can get from coffee grounds.


Coffee grounds are a rich source of organic matter, containing important plant nutrients. According to a report by the University of Wyoming, coffee grounds contain approximately 2 percent nitrogen, 0.06 percent phosphorus, and 0.6 percent potassium by volume. 

The coffee ingredient also contains important micronutrients including calcium, magnesium, iron, boron, zinc, and copper. However, most of these nutrients remain unavailable to the plant until coffee grounds are broken down by the soil microorganisms.

So, composting coffee grounds is the best thing to do before adding them to the soil. According to research, the fungal species that act to decompose coffee grounds have also shown to suppress some common fungal rots and wilts that affect succulents.


Succulents generally prefer soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH (around 6.0 to 7.0). You can make your plants enjoy this privilege by adding coffee grounds to the soil. Their pH tends to be around 6.5 to 6.8, which is not overly acidic.

However, according to Linda Brewer, a soil scientist at Oregon State University Extension Service, the change in pH can be short-lived and you don’t have to depend on coffee grounds completely for lowering soil pH. It may not be helpful to plants that thrive in acidic soil.

Further, moderation is key when incorporating coffee grounds into your succulent care routine. If applied to the soil before composting, coffee grounds can potentially affect the soil and health of the plants. The caffeine residue can suppress germination and slow the growth of some plants.


One of the most critical factors for succulent health is proper soil drainage and aeration. Coffee grounds when added in moderation can improve the soil structure. As soil microbes act on the coffee grounds, they secrete substances that promote good soil structure with improved drainage.

This can prevent soil compaction and issues of root rot. To achieve this, you must perfectly mix the composed coffee grounds with soil. For succulents, make sure you are using other recommended amendments for soil drainage such as perlite or pumice.

Slugs and snail control

Coffee grounds are also a potential snail and slug killer. Caffeine is presumably toxic to gastropods. According to USDA researchers, a 1 to 2% caffeine solution can be more effective. But slugs and snails will always turn back when they come in contact with coffee grounds.

How to use coffee grounds for succulents

Using coffee grounds the right way can be beneficial to your succulents. Here’s a step-by-step guide on what to do.

Collect and prepare coffee grounds

After brewing your coffee, collect the used coffee grounds. Allow them to cool and dry out for a day or two. This helps prevent excessive moisture buildup when added to the soil. If you are not in a hurry, the best way to use coffee grounds is to compost them before using them on plants.

Some gardening enthusiasts swear by brewing the coffee grounds and applying them as a liquid fertilizer. I don’t think this approach works as the worm casting tea. From my understanding, coffee grounds produce nutrients and other benefits as they decompose.

Mix coffee grounds into the soil

Choose a well-draining soil such as cactus or succulent mix to avoid the problem of root rot.

Blend the coffee grounds with your chosen potting mix. A good rule of thumb is to use a ratio of about 1 part coffee grounds to 3 parts potting mix.

You can also sprinkle a thin layer of dried coffee ground as mulch on top of the soil surface. This is recommended only for established plants. A void adding a thick layer as it can clamp and interfere with soil drainage.

Monitor and adjust

After incorporating coffee grounds, closely observe your succulents for any signs of stress or changes in their growth. If you notice any negative effects, such as yellowing leaves or wilting, consider adjusting the amount of coffee grounds used or discontinuing their use.

Be mindful of your watering routine. Coffee grounds, while aiding in drainage, can still retain moisture. Adjust your watering frequency to accommodate any changes in water retention caused by the addition of coffee grounds.

Final Thought

In summary, coffee grounds can enhance soil structure, improve drainage, and provide some nutrients. However, moderation is key, as excessive use of coffee grounds can alter the soil systems. Young plants and germinating seedlings should be exempted from coffee grounds.

With succulents, provide other care requirements including adequate sunlight, proper ventilation, appropriate temperature, and balanced watering. Additionally, coffee grounds shouldn’t be the sole source of nutrients for your succulents. A balanced houseplant fertilizer is still necessary for optimal growth.

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