9 Surprisingly Useful Reasons to Plant Used Tea Bags Rather Than Throw Them Away

January 26, 2021 Updated: February 1, 2021

Where does a used tea bag belong? Well, according to the gardening hive mind, not in the trash! Many experts believe there could be myriad benefits to planting used tea bags in the soil.

Here are nine reasons to consider doing so.

1. Tea can help seeds germinate

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Tea bags can help seedlings to sprout, according to Kiwi Conservation Club. Line a plastic tray with a water-soaked paper towel, pack used tea bags into neat rows in place of soil, and poke a hole for one seed in every bag. Keep the paper towel damp and the tray in a warm, shady spot and seedlings will thrive.

2. Tea nourishes the soil

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The tannic acid in tea is a natural fertilizer for garden soil. As tea leaves decompose, they release nutrients, enriching the surrounding soil by increasing the nitrogen levels, and in turn, facilitating the growth of vegetables and flowers or simply improving the health of your garden, according to The Gardening Cook.

3. Planting tea bags reduces waste

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It’s a simple equation: By planting tea bags in the soil of your garden or throwing them into the compost pile, there’s one less item taking up space in the trash can.

4. Tea bags decompose

The vast majority of tea bags are made from filter paper. Paper tea bags will eventually decompose, but remember to remove the tags, advises The Gardening Cook, as these may be plastic-coated and have staples in them.

5. Tea bags can help keep bugs at bay

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Both used tea bags and coffee grounds mixed into garden soil will work wonders when it comes to pest control. Pests dislike the smell of black tea and coffee, which deters them from destroying your plants.

6. Cats don’t like it, either

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Planting or sprinkling used tea or coffee grounds will deter cats from urinating in your garden. Earth911 advises that this trick also works with indoor plants in the case of any house cat that struggles to limit its business to the litter tray!

7. Tea bags help control weeds

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If weeds are taking over your garden, burying used tea bags in the soil could help control the spread, meaning you can devote more time to enjoying your vegetables, herbs, fruits, and flowers.

8. Tea bags help plants retain water

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If you bury used tea bags near the roots of the plants in your garden, the acids in the tea can help encourage roots to retain water. More water retention equals healthier, stronger, more robust plants.

9. Tea is a worm food, too

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Worms are a gardener’s best friend, and used tea leaves will cause no harm to worms if ingested. In fact, after digesting the leaves, the worms’ excrement will be especially nutrient-rich and good for the soil, according to VeggieGardener.

Next time you finish a comforting cup of tea, consider hanging on to the teabag. It might just enrich your garden, as well as your morning or nighttime routine!