Stop! Before you dump those coffee grounds in the garbage, think if you can use them for a different purpose. It turns out that coffee grounds make for a great soil fertilizer, especially for your Christmas cactus.
Are coffee grounds good for Christmas cactus? There’s something magical about having a plant that blooms in the winter and you want to support that plant as much as possible. A Christmas cactus needs sufficient amounts of potassium and nitrogen to grow and thrive. It just so happens you can find both these nutrients in coffee grounds. Take your used coffee grounds and let them dry out on a sheet.
Too wet and will lead to the growth of mold. Then, gently add the coffee grounds on top of the soil and mix it in a bit. You don’t have to do this often; around once a month is fine. Also, the blooms on a Christmas cactus are delicate, so you want to leave the plant alone during their blooming time and immediately after the blossoms drop.
Can you put coffee grounds on Christmas cactus?
Yes! You can actually put coffee grounds on a Christmas cactus. In fact, many home gardeners are already aware of the benefits coffee grounds have on their garden and regularly place them in the compost.
The issue with a Christmas cactus is that it is a small, potted plant, so you can’t put compost onto its soil. Instead, you can simply put coffee grounds on the soil around your plant.
Most people are coffee grounds and will have some leftovers. This can be in the form of drip coffee or even leftover espresso pucks.
Interestingly, there are many coffee companies that will allow you to take their leftover coffee grounds for your home composting needs. Therefore, these are free, readily available substances that will improve the health of your plants, including your Christmas cactus.
Are coffee grounds good for Christmas cactus?
Let’s dive into why coffee grounds and your Christmas cactus plant are such good pairings. The Christmas cactus is a type of succulent which means they are relatively low-maintenance plants.
Providing proper nourishment will allow your Christmas cactus to have bolder blooms but all-in-all, the plant doesn’t need a lot to survive.
What your Christmas cactus can benefit from, however, is nitrogen and potassium and it just so happens that these can be found in coffee beans.
There’s no point in buying expensive beans and using them exclusively on a house plant but you can enjoy your cup of coffee and give the leftover grounds to your plant.
Coffee Grounds Benefits for Christmas Cactus?
As we mentioned earlier, coffee grounds include potassium and nitrogen, two minerals that help promote the flowers on a Christmas cactus. While the plant itself will grow with little help, those gorgeous flowers that add color to a dreary winter benefit from these minerals.
Nitrogen works well with soil to improve its structure and potassium helps your plant grow. It’s the perfect solution.
In addition to adding coffee grounds throughout the year, there are other ways to support the health of your Christmas cactus. Once a year, you should repot it, as it will continue to grow and the roots need more room.
You should also place your plant in a bright area, near a window. However, they don’t like direct sunlight, so you may have to move it around throughout the year, especially as there are more sunlight hours in the summer.
Finally, your Christmas cactus doesn’t need to be watered too often. You can wait until the top two inches of the soil are dry, and then give it a bit of water. It’s best to place the pot inside another container for better soil drainage.
How to use coffee grounds on Christmas cactus
Unfortunately, the process of using coffee grounds is not as simple as throwing them onto your plant. You actually have to follow a few steps first.
Start by drying your grounds, by spreading them out on a tray and leaving them for a few hours. Moist coffee grounds can inspire mold to grow, which will drastically affect the health of your plant.
Most people dry large batches of coffee grounds and store them in a jar, without the lid on. This way you can have coffee grounds on hand, ready to use whenever you need them.
Once dry, you can then sprinkle the coffee grounds on the top layer of your Christmas cactus’s soil. Try to mix it into the soil but be careful not to disrupt the roots.
Timing is also important when fertilizing your Christmas cactus. You should leave it alone while it is flowering and immediately after it has lost its blooms.
For Thanksgiving cacti, this is late fall through winter, for Christmas cacti, this is through winter, and for Easter cacti, this is late winter through spring.
Then, you can add coffee grounds every two to four weeks. You don’t need to over-fertilize, so if you forget about your cactus, it’s ok.
Finally, every year you should repot your Christmas cactus as it will continue to grow and need more space for its roots. When you do this, you will naturally add more cactus soil, and thus don’t need to fertilize it again for a few weeks.
What are your alternative fertilizers for Christmas Cactus?
If you don’t drink coffee or don’t want to go to the effort of adding it to your cactus, you can simply purchase a pre-made fertilizer.
Look for a standard, 20-20-20 which means it includes equal parts of potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorous, all nutrients your cactus needs. You can follow the same steps of adding this mixture as you would the coffee grounds.
A Christmas cactus is a colorful, easy-to-manage succulent that brings a bit of wonder to any home. While it is low maintenance, you can keep it happy by adding coffee grounds to the soil every two to four weeks.