You are here:

Carnivorous Plants/feeding plantscoffee

Advertisement


Question
Hi. I've heard that many people fertilize carnivorous plants with coffee with no bad effects afterwards. My question is could I feed my plants American style medium ground roast coffee as I have only heard people use black ground coffee. Please answer this.

Answer
Hi Daniel,

Quite a few postings have been made on bulletin boards over the past few years touting the wonders of using coffee on carnivorous plants.  I'm going to be the black sheep on this issue.  I tried it a couple times, and have seen unimpressive to no results.  I've also heard from a couple of folks that it may cause problems, especially if used in the winter, since the plants are not growing as much as in summer.  Also, the good results reported have been mostly on Nepenthes, not other cp species.  You are very likely to kill plants like sundews and Venus flytraps since you are essentially applying an organic fertilizer.  In all cases what people were doing is pouring brewed coffee into the soil of plants, not using coffee grounds.

Now, despite my pessimism, I think much more controlled research is in order on this topic.  I would love to see someone set up a proper experiment with controls on this, including using the coffee on regular plants which many have done for decades.  I personally do use coffee grounds in my vegetable garden, but the difference there is the soil has lots of bacteria to break the coffee down and release the nutrients.  CP soil media can be pretty inert.

My bottom line would be it's worth experimenting, but I would only personally used it on plants you're not afraid to loose.  Using coffee on some rare, expensive, slow-growing highland Nepenthes could be a source of heartbreak.  However, trying it on a little $7.00 plant you picked up at a big box store, no problem.

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest
http://www.cobraplant.com

Carnivorous Plants

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Sarracenia Northwest

Expertise

If your carnivorous plant is showing poor growth, discoloration, abnormal leaves or possible infestation, the expert growers at Sarracenia Northwest can help! They have a great depth of experience dealing with diseases, pathogens, and abnormal growth in carnivorous plants.

Before submitting your question, please read their care guides on their main website. Many issues can be addressed by simply adjusting your growing conditions as recommended in the care guides. Click here to read the care guides.

Over 8,800 questions answered since 2005!

Experience

Jeff and Jacob are owners and growers of Sarracenia Northwest. They've been in business since 1995. Watch their professionally produced DVDs, Grow Carnivorous Plants. It is a three-volume set that covers all aspects of carnivorous plant care. They literally show you how to be a successful grower! http://www.growcarnivorousplants.com/dvd

Education/Credentials

No terrariums. No myths. No nonsense.
Just the straight facts from guys who grow and propagate
thousands of carnivorous plants each year.


PLEASE READ BEFORE SUBMITTING YOUR QUESTION:
Our focus is to help help growers diagnose a specific plant problem and offer solutions. For example:
  • Why is my sundew not producing dew?
  • Is now a good time to divide my Sarracenia?
  • Why are the traps turning black?
  • What's a good substitute for perlite?
  • Why didn't my seeds germinate?
  • How do you deal with pests?
  • Can you identify this carnivorous plant for me?
We no longer answer general, how-to questions that are already posted on our website or demonstrated in our DVDs. For general plant care, please read our care guides:
http://www.growcarnivorousplants.com/careguides

For business questions:
http://www.growcarnivorousplants.com/contact


Youtube Facebook
Follow us on Youtube and Facebook!


©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.