Do Cactus Likes Coffee Grounds

With all the talk about coffee grounds and how it can help plants. You wonder: do cactus likes coffee grounds. Cactus is a simple and low maintenance plant.

They are happy as long as you gave them the right potting soil, sunlight, watering, and other affordable conditions. So keep it simple.

In this article, we gonna go through coffee grounds properties and how it could affect your cactus.

Hearing you say, but I still want to know: Do cactus likes coffee grounds?

Cactus dislike coffee grounds because it will alter the soil properties and make it more water-absorbent. And coffee grounds contain caffeine which will hinder the cactus growth.

keep reading to understand why you should not use coffee ground for your cactus and what to use instead.

coffee grounds near plants
coffee grounds near plants

Coffee grounds affects on the cactus soil structure

Cactus is a desert plant. Which means it needs well-draining soil. Therefore most premixed cactus potting medium is 45% to 50% organic materials while 55% to 50% inorganic materials.

This is the optimal organic to the inorganic ratio for cactus soil. When you add a coffee grounds to your cactus soil actually you are changing this ratio.

Coffee grounds are organic materials that will increase soil water retention properties. Such a thing could affect your cactus negatively.

Coffee grounds caffeine effect on cactus

Another reason to not use coffee grounds for your cacti is its caffeine content. According to a scientific study, the caffeine content in the used coffee ground that made one cup of coffee equals the caffeine of one cup of tea.

Such an amount of caffeine will hinder your cactus growth. To understand how caffeine can harm your plant. let’s see why coffee plants produce caffeine in the first place.

Coffee plants produce caffeine as a competition mechanism. In its native habitat, it allows the coffee plant to dominate its space.

The caffeine kills other plants that try to grow in the coffee plant’s surroundings.

Therefore it is obvious that by you adding coffee grounds to your cactus you will put it under unnecessary challenges.

Increasing cactus soil acidity without using coffee grounds

Cactus are acid-loving plants. They flourish best when they grow in soil with a 5 to 6.5 pH level.

Most gardeners who use or recommend using coffee grounds for cactus, they do so because they think it will acidify the soil. But used coffee grounds ability to acidify the soil is something doubtful.

A commonly reported pH value of tested Starbucks used coffee grounds is 6.7. And the neutral pH level is 7.0. Therefore it is barely acidic.

You still want to get your cacti’s soil near to the optimal pH level which is 5 to 6.5 in order to give it the best chances to thrive. Especially if you water it with tap water because tap water is alkaline.

Test your cacti pH level. If you found it alkaline ( more than 7.0 pH) use rainwater instead of coffee grounds to increase the acidity.

Rainwater has a 5.1 pH level which is fairly acidic. Use rainwater to adjust the pH level until you reach 5 to 6.5.


The impulses of doing something impactful is part of our nature as human beings. It looks cool to put the coffee grounds after you enjoyed your coffee cup in the cactus pot. And expecting positive effects.

It is cool to feel you did something good with the coffee grounds instead of putting it with the household waste! isn’t it?!

But, by looking at the studies and researches we found that using coffee grounds for cacti is negative more than positive.

The arguments that support its usage are not supported by studies. And at the same time, the imagined benefits of its usage can be obtained from other resources like rainwater. Without the risk of altering the soil structure and most importantly without putting your cactus under caffeine stress. For more detailed information and a holistic perspective on caring for potted plants and mastering Container Gardening, Get my book Container Gardening: A Step-by-Step Practical Guide.

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