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Are Tea Bags Good For Orchids?

Are tea bags good for orchids? Often folks want to fertilize their orchids with things they already have on hand.

They try things like egg shells, coffee grounds, banana peels, or tea.

So is tea good for orchids?

I decided I would research using tea bags on orchids. So let’s find out.

Many of these homemade fertilizer hacks or remedies may work on other house plants but most won’t work for orchids.

Orchids don’t have root systems like other plants and are not grown in potting soil.

Here Is What I Found

Fertilizing your orchid with tea actually works. But you should use brewed tea and not the bag or the leaves.

There are some caveats to using tea bags because of the caffeine in them.

So read on to find out more about using tea bags to fertilize your orchids.

What’s In Tea Bags?

I could not find a chart that shows the nitrogen levels in tea but N (Nitrogen) can be as high as 4%

But tea also does have substantial amounts of P (Phosphorus)  K(Potassium) CA(Calcium) and Mg(Magnesium)

So it actually makes a pretty decent fertilizer but it also contains caffeine too. And that can cause problems.

Tea leaves contain 3.5% caffeine, while coffee beans have 1.1–2.2%. However, the coffee brewing process uses hotter water, which extracts more of the caffeine from the beans. Typically, you also use more coffee beans than you’d use tea leaves for a drink https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/caffeine-in-tea-vs-coffee#caffeine-content

Is Caffeine Bad For Plants?

You probably heard the old wives’ tale that coffee will stunt the growth of children.

Well, it turns out there may be some truth to this for plants but not for kids.

The coffee plant’s leaves also contain caffeine and as they fall the caffeine in them suppresses weed growth.

Research has shown caffeine can suppress weed growth. It also can act as a stimulant for plants just like in humans.

But over time it has also been found to stunt the growth of plants we want to grow. But it’s not the coffee but the caffeine itself.

Tea also has healthy levels of caffeine. So if you do decide to use it on your orchids I suggest diluting it before you do.

A consistent theme among various articles is that the coffee grounds directly applied to plants suppress plant growth. Coffee is rich in caffeine.  Caffeine reduces competition from other plants by suppressing their growth.  Thus, there is a possibility that coffee grounds can suppress the growth of plants we want to grow and not just weeds that we don’t want to grow. https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=28884

Is Coffee Good For Orchids?

To be honest I really dont know. I did an article about using coffee grounds on orchids. Are Coffee Grounds Good For Orchids? Is It Bad Advice? – Hydroponic Orchids

But in that article I did not look at using brewed coffee to water orchids. So it might work.

But honestly I prefer to feed my orchids with commercial fertilizer. That way I know what’s in it and how much.

How Does Tea Benefit Orchids

Tea benefits orchids in 3 important ways.

  • First tea is acidic
  • Second tea contains tannins
  • Third its a pretty decent fertilizer

If you water with tap water it is most likely alkaline. So tea can help lower the pH of your water.

Orchids prefer slightly acidic water, so this can help your orchid.

If you think about how orchids grow they are usually attached to tree bark.

When it rains the water absorbs tannins from the tree and they end up watering the orchid with tannon rich runoff.

Tea actually has decent amounts of primary macro nutrients.

But it also provides import secondary nutrients like calcium and magnesium.

It also has important trace minerals in it as well.

So Are Tea Bags Good For Orchids?

If you want to fertilize your orchids with tea bags I would use it diluted.

I also wouldn’t rely on it as my only fertilizer because it does contain caffeine.

Some people suggest putting tea leaves inside the pot. Please dont do this.

You dont want to add things you cant easily take out or add things that can decompose or harm your roots.

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


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