Does coffee stimulate plant growth?


For Caffeine and Kilos
by Jeff Lund

Every year, there are car-sized plants shown at the Alaska State Fair. Well, any state fair, but the thing that makes it special in Alaska is the growing season is so short – just three months – but with 24 hours of daylight, it makes up for a lack of days.

I can’t look at the state record pumpkin (1,287 pounds) and not think it’s the Barry Bonds of the farm. That’s not just tender loving care or a green thumb. Something else is going on.

So that got me thinking, can coffee stimulate plant growth?
I had previously heard that adding coffee grounds to the soil around roses can stimulate growth as long as it’s not overdone. But is it the grounds specifically, or simply the addition of “organic matter” to the soil?

It seems that there would be elements in coffee grounds that would stimulate growth and apparently there is some legitimacy to this, but it depends, naturally, on the plant and who you ask.

Not surprisingly, this is a question little kids answer in science experiments, and even by scientists at the beginning of the 20th century.

Maybe the impact of coffee grounds on the growth of plants is a lot like an individual’s approach to health.

How to recycle coffee rounds

So, if the verdict is somewhat unclear with regards to coffee grounds as a plant stimulant, there have to be other things for which the grounds can be used.

Two of the most interesting ways to recycle grounds is to use them in candles, and to help clean a fireplace.

The coffee candle seems nice, but I’m not about to make that my Saturday night.

However, cleaning the fireplace is intriguing. I grew up in a home on an island in southeast Alaska and the primary heating source was a wood-burning fireplace. Shoveling out the ash was always a mess. Sprinkling the wet grounds to help keep plumes of ash from rising after each shovel seems legit. It’s not exactly a life hack by any means, but there is a chance that I might think about possibly doing it one day when I am back in my childhood home this summer doing what used to be a childhood chore.

This is an interesting list that includes a fishing application. Since I don’t use worms and only use bait when I’m fishing for king salmon or halibut it’s not applicable, but I do respect the attempt. The slightly abrasive texture of grounds makes them useful for scrubbing, but I’m not sure I’d want to scrub my dog with used PR Blend. Nor would I likely use it as a beauty use.

But I won’t judge anyone who does.

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