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Are Coffee Grounds Good For Orchids? Is It Bad Advice?

Are coffee grounds good for orchids? I have seen a lot of information about the benefits of using coffee grounds for orchids. But are they really good for orchids?

Are Coffee Grounds Good For Orchids?

Coffee grounds are great for houseplants in soil but most orchids do not grow in soil and will not benefit from coffee grounds.

Are Coffee Grounds Good For Orchids?

There are many articles online that tout the benefits of using coffee grounds to feed orchids.

These articles are mostly based on information about using coffee grounds on houseplants or in the garden.

Anyone with a good knowledge of orchids will understand orchids are entirely different from most houseplants or outdoor gardens.

They have different roots and are actually air plants. They grow on tree bark but they do not get any nutrients from the bark.

Nutrients and moisture are pulled in from the air and not the grow medium they are in.

So any idea about feeding orchids from soil and expecting them to act like other potted plants simply does not work for orchids.

Additionally, coffee grounds lose most of their nutritional value through the brewing process.

They primarily are used to help improve soil texture and not so much as a fertilizer.

Worms and soil bacteria can help break them down more completely and make their nutrients more available.

But orchids simply do not grow in this type of environment so at best coffee grounds are useless to orchids.

More info here: https://orchideria.com/orchids-and-coffee-grounds/

Will Coffee Grounds Hurt Orchids?

Chances are coffee grounds will not hurt your orchids. Coffee grounds are very beneficial for plants in soil.

The problem is that most orchids are not grown in soil with the possible exception of some terrestrial orchids.

Soil has bacteria that can break the coffee grounds down and it may have worms to help break down.

But these bacteria are generally not present in tree bark potting mixes orchids are grown in.

While coffee is acidic and orchids prefer slightly acidic growing conditions most orchids are epiphytes.

Their roots are designed to extract nutrients and moisture from the air and not from the soil which is why they are not grown in soil.

So although coffee grounds won’t harm your orchids, they won’t be able to benefit from it either.

Benefits Of Coffee Grounds

The only benefit I have seen to using coffee grounds for orchids is pest control. They apparently can control slugs and repel some bugs.

Personally, I don’t think many of us have slugs in the house. If we do we have bigger problems to solve than keeping them from orchids.

People spread the whole beans around their plants and the odor keeps away pests.

I’m skeptical about this and it sounds like a waste of good coffee beans. Surely there are better ways to deter pests.

Apparently, the caffeine in coffee is a toxin to some pests. Unfortunately, caffeine is not good for orchids either

What is the best fertilizer for orchids?

Orchids will do best with a well-balanced fertilizer. It does not have to be specifically made for orchids if you have something else.

Whatever you use it should be fed in liquid form. Don’t make a strong mix because it will be applied directly to the roots.

Since orchids are not grown in soil there is much less buffering of the nutrients.

It is a good idea to start with 1/3 strength nutrients and see how your orchids respond.

Coffee Grounds For Orchids? Final Thoughts

I would avoid adding coffee grounds, eggshells, or other trendy additives to your orchids because they probably won’t be able to use them.

Likewise do not water your orchids with ice cubes. How could a tropical plant possibly benefit from this? Is Watering Orchids With Ice Cubes A Good Idea? – Hydroponic Orchids

There are many ideas about innovative “success” tips for growing orchids circulating about on the internet.

A lot of these articles are well-intentioned but a lot of articles are written by paid writers who actually have never grown an orchid.

I hate to be negative but I really think using coffee grounds on orchids is a bad idea.

I think this is just an old wives’ tale based on half-truths and based on circumstantial evidence without any scientific proof.

My best advice is to find someone who actually grows orchids and has experience with them. Then follow their advice if it makes sense to you.

Read more: Are Orchids Hard To Take Care Of? Easy Growth Formula

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