Coffee and Roses: The Garden Experiement

If you love to grow roses and are a coffee drinker this gardening experiment I did will be right up your alley!  Coffee and roses, what’s not to love right?  Makes me kinda giddy all over thinking about them as a couple.  Hey, they say, opposites attract.

Three years ago I came across an article about using spent coffee grounds as a natural fertilizer for roses because coffee is high in nitrogen, plus to perform their best roses need neutrality to acidic soil.  This means by adding the grounds it will aid in the pH balance from neutral to acidic which roses thrive on and I’ve experienced it first hand.  It also helps loosen the soil, which gives the roots more space to grow and helps to deliver the nutrients they need to survive.

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I live in Tucson, Arizona which falls under Zone 9 Gardening  (if you want to know yours click here) and growing things here is a huge challenge but can be done.  Above is this year’s first bloom of “Queenie” our oldest rose bush who came with our home 8 years ago.  Queenie always had nice soft pink blooms, rather small, and never had a fragrance other than a “peppery” smell.  I decided to take that articles advice to see if I could improve on my rose bush.  Afterall, I am a coffee-o-holic so grounds are never short supplied at my house.

In the Fall of 2016, this mad scientist started saving coffee grounds.  Trust me when I say in my household it doesn’t take long.  I keep a large bowl on my countertop once the coffee is made, I empty filter from grounds into the bowl.  That’s it, seriously.  I let those grounds pile up, take the bowl outside and mix it into a little fresh garden soil (you don’t have to, just something I do) and I use three handfuls of the mixture around the base of the rose bush close to the root evenly than do a drip soak to allow the coffee to seep into the ground.  I do this twice a month.

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2016 – Spring.  I noticed my rose leaves were getting a deeper green color with some shine.  Prior to the experiment, they were dull green with yellowish edges and semi-lifeless. Okay, improvement so let’s keep going.  The first bloom of the season came along, Queenie produced about 3/4 more blooms! Still no scent improvement.  Continued coffee treatment for 6 months then the hard part…I stopped … experiment after all.  Now to wait and see.

2017 – Queenie still gets her normal rose feed, water, and conversation with me but no coffee.  She went back to being pretty but sad looking compared to 2016.  Blooms were sparse, leaves green but no shine, back to how she was prior to 2016. 😦 just a bit better.

2018 – I started the coffee fertilization again in January 2018.  Queenie had her first bloom April 2, 2018, she apparently is one happy rosie lady.  She made an amazing transformation and I must say, she loves coffee as much as I do and I started all my roses on the coffee regimen.  Look at the leaves, shiny, healthy and perky.  I never knew she had a two-tone pink coloration since I’d never seen it before and the coffee brought that out!  You can see for yourself.  The best part….scent!  OMGosh in 8 years all I smelled was a pepper like scent and now she has a soft rosie fragrance.   I call the experiment a success, don’t you?


  • One way is to just put the coffee grinds in a compost heap with other waste from your kitchen, sprinkling the mixture around the roses.
  • Another method is to just sprinkle plain, dried up grounds at the base of your roses.
  • Additionally, you can mix 3 parts coffee grounds with 1 part wood ash to mix into the soil around the plants.
  • Finally, you can mix about a 1/2 pound of used grounds with 5 gallons of water for a mixture you can pour on the rose bushes about twice a month.  (My now preferred choice)

Oh and remember this, astonishingly as it may seem, bugs and pests are repelled by coffee grounds. Coffee is one of the few treats we enjoy that the pests won’t try to snag from our kitchens, or gardens, for themselves. Lovin’ it.

Be Well,

~J~ from Doing It Jamie Style

P.S. Speak with your local garden nursery for more advice on this tip and many others for your garden.  They’ll be happy you asked them!