It is safe to say that 11th century Ethiopians had no idea what a treasure they discovered when they found coffee.
They originally boiled the leaves of the coffee plant as a medicinal concoction, but in the following centuries, coffee has evolved in form and popularity. Recently, coffee is even being used in the garden. Leftover coffee grounds can deter pests and are a rich source of fatty acids, essential oils and nutrients that enrich soil.
We have had success using recycled coffee grounds to repel a variety of insects. Most notably, you can use coffee to ward off the hard-shelled pest called scale that loves to attack camellias, hollies and sago palms at this time of the year. Roses also love coffee.
Mixing coffee directly into the soil can balance alkalinity. Use spent grounds to brew a weak coffee for watering your plants, or mix grounds directly into the mulch for your plants to reap the benefits. Topdressing with several pounds of grounds per
plant will ensure plenty of fodder for earthworms
and beneficial microbes.
In addition to alkalinity, coffee grounds release nitrogen, potassium, magnesium and other nutrients into the soil as they break down. It also provides a boost of acidity for plants that prefer a lower pH, such as hydrangeas or azaleas.
Winter Planting Tips:
Florida is blessed with mild winter weather, so we can plant all year-round. Get a start on your 2018 garden with these coffee-loving winter plants.
Consider adding this evergreen shrub to your garden this holiday season. Camellias are a bush with beautiful flowers and a long blooming season. They love our Southern climate and make wonderful winter bouquets.
The Chinese snowball bush (Viburnum Macrocephalum) has been an ornamental garden shrub for centuries because of its white flower, which bloom in late winter and fall. They make eye-catching accent plants for a front lawn or specimen planting.
Easy-care roses are more available now than ever. ‘Sunrosa Red’ is a new contender on the market as a small shrub that blooms almost constantly. Try ‘Louis Philippe’ for old-fashioned fragrance and beauty.
Ornamental cabbage is a close relative of edible cabbage, and they grow and look very much alike. Ornamental cabbages, however, have foliage that intensifies in color after each freeze. Try the smooth-leaved variety or a frilly one known as Osaka kale.
Not Your Typical Landscape
Jon George is the owner of Cottage Gardens, Inc., a Gainesville-based landscape design and installation firm. Jon has been gardening in North Central Florida for more than 30 years. You may contact his staff at www.TheCottageGardener.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photography provided by Cottage Gardens, Inc.