Gardening Houseplants Repotting

Coffee Filters Can Also Filter Soil

By all means, put a coffee filter in the bottom of your flower pot, but do you really need to use a fresh one? Source:

If you’re the slightest bit up-to-date about houseplants, you know you don’t have to put a drainage layer of gravel or pot shards at the bottom of the pot when you pot up a houseplant. Plants actually grow better without a drainage layer! However, it’s rather annoying to see soil particles flow out of the pot and into the saucer when you water a freshly repotted plant. What can you do about that?

On the Internet you’ll often see an interesting tip: using a coffee filter to prevent soil particles from flowing out of the pot. And why not? It’s certainly easy enough: you simply place the filter at the bottom of the pot and then fill it with potting mix. And it works very well … any excess water flows out, but the soil remains in place. Problem solved, but…

Usually in the picture accompanying the text, you’re shown a brand-new coffee filter! What a waste!

20181204B Estormiz, Wikimedia Commons
A recycled filter will work just as well! Source: Estormiz, Wikimedia Commons.

Disposable coffee filters aren’t particularly cheap. It seems to me that, since you’ve paid for them, you might as well use them for their original purpose, to filter coffee. Afterwards, dump the coffee grounds into the compost and use the soiled filter to cover the bottom of the pot. You don’t even need to rinse: coffee grounds aren’t toxic, after all. You’ll soon discover a pre-used filter works just as well as a new filter.

Two birds with one stone: bravo!


20181204C LH.jpg
A piece of newspaper makes a great filter. Source:

Or recycle something else as a soil filter for the bottom of a pot.

I use pieces of newspaper. In fact, I keep a pile of little squares of newspaper, about 4 inches by 4 inches (10 cm x 10 cm), on my potting bench for exactly that purpose. You could try a section of old rag, a used dryer sheet or a leftover piece of window screen: anything that will let water flow through, yet keep soil in.

If you can find nothing around the home to recycle, you could use a sheet of paper towel or a square of toilet paper. Either would be much cheaper than a coffee filter and just as effective in keeping the soil in the pot!

2 comments on “Coffee Filters Can Also Filter Soil

  1. I use coffee filters in the bottom of pots. I never thought about using newspaper even though I use newspaper under mulch to kill off weeds. Hmmm. Of course, we no longer subscribe to a print edition of the newspaper, but I do have a stash in the basement and the weekly advertiser throw away would work as well. Great suggestion.

  2. I’ve used coffee filters but never thought of recycling a used one. 🙂

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