I have a mother-in-law's tongue, Sansevieria trifasciata, that's getting a bit yellow and slightly droopy. A friend recommended that I add some coffee grounds to the soil, which I've been doing, but I'm worried that the grounds are making the soil too acidic. Do you have any suggestions?

  • Hi! I agree with Bamboo that you should feel free to add some pictures of your plant, especially the yellow and droopy areas, and a good view of the soil. Even if coffee-grounds are considered unhelpful, somebody might be able to offer other suggestions. Have you taken a look at the other sansevieria questions on the site? If so, and none of the answers are helpful, you should definitely let us have a look at your plant! Commented Dec 3, 2016 at 22:07

1 Answer 1


No; the current fad for coffee grounds use is just that, a fad, and its not helpful for almost all potted plants. Remove the coffee grounds, or as many as you can, they don't do any good at all and are often positively detrimental. This was confirmed by James Wong (a professional and famous British ethnobotanist and garden designer) who once touted coffee grounds as great for everything, having to finally confess very recently that he'd rescinded that advice; he'd put them in his houseplants and they all died. Small quantities are good on the compost heap, maybe a few spread round acid loving plants outdoors if you must, but don't use them on houseplants.

Regarding the Sansevieria (mother in law's tongue) it might be helpful to give more information and add a photo if you can - info such as how long you've had the plant, your watering regime,the level of light it receives and so on, in order to maybe get a diagnosis of what's wrong with it (well, other than the fact its been made worse by coffee grounds!).

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    Yeah Bamboo! I think I'd like to stomp these coffee grounds somewhere else. Just because they look and smell so nice they've got to be good. Then there are all the FAD starters...for real...let's just grow in straight coffee grounds!? Thank you thank you thank you!
    – stormy
    Commented Dec 3, 2016 at 21:37
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    @stormy I often wonder if starbucks started the rumour that coffee grounds are great for use in almost any gardening application... it;ll take about ten years before people stop believing the myth.
    – Bamboo
    Commented Dec 3, 2016 at 21:42
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    Seriously...that would make sense. Gees. People keep looking for magic remedies/solutions.
    – stormy
    Commented Dec 4, 2016 at 9:25

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