Can seeds germinate in coffee and tea grounds?

Some people use coffee and tea grounds for gardening. We have put them in our compost for years, but never used them itself for gardening.

I have heard that if you put flower and vegetable seeds in coffee grounds, they will germinate. Is this true? It’s my experiment time!

Photo taken on 8 May

This is 100% coffee grounds. I sowed komatsuna and bok choy.

This is the photo taken on 12 May. Some of komatsuna seeds are germinating.

This is a black tea bag with romaine lettuce seeds sown in it. I have sown other vegetable seeds too, but only romaine lettuce has germinated so far. It may be just because the temperature is too low.


As a result, it is possible to germinate seeds in coffee or tea grounds. However, if you want to grow them as seedlings after they have germinated, it is better to use normal soil, of course.

This is a komatsuna sown on the same day. If you have soil, using the soil is much better.


Please note that not everyone recommends using coffee grounds for gardening. The coffee grounds can be acidic sometimes. Since lots of plants do not like acidic soil, coffee grounds are not ideal for growing plants.

I have also put some seeds in coffee grounds placed in egg shells. Because the egg shells are alkaline, I thought they may be able to neutralise the acidity of coffee grounds. Disappointingly, none of the seeds that I have sown have germinated by now.


Summarizing the above, it’s possible that seeds in coffee or tea grounds germinate, but if you want to grow them properly, it’s better to use gardening soil. If you want to use coffee or tea grounds for gardening, put them in the compost for better results.

P.S. If you are living in a humid and warm place, it could be another story...


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