Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Coffee, Charcoal for Plants
Name: Kevin B.
Status: student
Age: 12
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 1/20/2004

My dad says the residue left over from burned charcoal is good for plants and my mom says coffee grounds are good for plants. Is there any proof that either one is good for plants

Charcoal would offer mostly carbon but needs to be balanced by nitrogen from another source. Coffee grounds would add organic matter to the soil but possibly too acid for plant growth if too much used. Also charcoal might contain other chemical additives that could be harmful to plants and to those consuming the plants if for vegetables. Probably safer to add to compost for later use rather than directly to garden soil.

The following might be helpful:

Anthony Brach, Ph.D
Harvard University

Click here to return to the Botany Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory