Coffee plants, known for producing coffee beans can make an attractive garden plant. Most of us like our coffee as a source of our daily caffeine content.
Well, we are here to let you know how coffee planting is easy and how you can have your own coffee tree. The chosen garden option is arabica coffee variety. It makes up more than 70% of the world’s coffee with robusta making up around 25%.
It is rare to actually grow enough of your own coffee arabica for consumption to replace your favorite coffee brand. The plant however is a great addition to your garden or houseplant.
First, take a look at the arabica coffee plant profile:
|Scientific Name||Coffea Arabica/ C. Arabica|
|Appearance||Small bush, with shiny, dark, green leaves.
Flowers are small and white.
Green cherries are green and gradually turn shades of red.
|Height||14 ft – 16 ft in nature.
3 ft – 10 ft when potted.
Coffee Plants as Houseplants
Coffee plants make for great houseplants because they are a striking evergreen addition. An added advantage is the dark green Coffea arabica plant purifies the air.
It also makes for an excellent houseplant due to its hardy and resilient nature. Planting coffee is a good idea because this plant will stay full and vibrant throughout the year.
They do not need direct sunlight so they’re perfect for bright rooms and covered patios.
An added advantage is that they are self-pollinating. This means they flower even if you plant coffee indoors.
You can control the size with regular pruning of green leaves and branches of your growing coffee plant. This means you can even have a small coffee arabica plant on your desk.
How to Grow a Coffee Plant
There are a few ways to grow a coffee plant by yourself. Firstly, you could use arabica coffee beans or cherries. If you like an easier option, use a sapling coffee plant.
Take a look at these methods below:
Coffee beans refer to the two small beans inside the cherries. You cannot use roasted coffee beans such as those from a coffee shop.
Raw, green coffee beans could germinate, but there is a low success rate. This is because they have undergone a post-harvest process and they’re dry.
This reduces their viability if used for growing plants.
The best option to grow coffee plants is to use fresh, green coffee arabica beans. You can buy some at a local coffee roaster, or otherwise, order online.
Once you have your coffee bean, soak it for 24 hours to soften. Plant in a mixture of wet horticultural sand and peat moss mix or seeding compost.
The ideal temperature is 25℃ – 30℃ and coffee plants like slightly acidic soil. It is recommended to plant in soil with a pH of 5.5 – 6.5 and high nitrogen content. You can increase acidity by sprinkling lemon juice on the soil from time to time.
Keep the coffee plant moist and well-drained, and away from the noon sun or the leaves will burn.
Be patient, they can take from 3-6 months to sprout.
If there are no saplings within 6 months, you might have had defective beans. Don’t give up, just source some more seeds and start again.
Unprocessed coffee cherries are the best option for growing your own coffee plants. Use red coffee cherries that have ripened and pulp the ripe cherry to remove the coffee seeds.
Grow them in the same method as above and wait 2-3 months. The freshness of the seeds also hastens the sprouting process.
You can take the easier (and more certain) option of planting a fully grown tree. Remove it from the holder and transplant it in a pot filled with fertilized soil.
If you buy a coffee plant that is very small, be aware that you may have bought numerous coffee plants.
You can be sure one seed will give you one plant, and all transplanted coffee trees will grow as individual coffee trees.
If you buy new-sprouts, it is likely the seller has clustered four to six coffee plants. This is good for you as you get more for the price of one.
You will need to separate each of the sprouts and transplant them individually.
Do this by immersing the roots for 24 hours then gently pulling them apart. Plant them in their own pots filled with potting soil.
Caring For Your Coffee Plant
Once you’ve planted your coffee plant, there are a few basic tips to care for them. Take a look to keep your coffee plant happy and healthy:
- Watering: The coffee plants like regular watering to keep the soil moist. They, however, don’t like very ‘wet feet’ so be careful not to overwater them.
They will wilt when not receiving enough water.
- Fertilizing: As they grow, use a mild fertilizer on the sapling every second week. Once mature, fertilize your coffee plant a minimum of once or twice a year. Do this preferably during spring and summer.
If you would like faster growth, simply fertilize more often.
- Humidity: Coffee grows naturally in rain-forest like environment. Unless you live in such an area, special care is needed to grow coffee plants in cooler areas.
The plant needs a lot of humidity and if your house is too dry, the leaves will turn brown.
Pro tip: How to boost humidity: If your house is too dry, there are ways to boost humidity. These include misting, gravel trays, and putting a bowl of water between plants. See this video for full instructions.
- Pruning: This is essential, especially if you would like to control the size of your plant. Cut off the top of the plant and the branches at the bottom of the stem.
Look for and remove dead or dry branches. Also, remove the suckers (additional center branches).
The figure below shows where to find suckers on your coffee plant.
- Pests: A great advantage of the coffee plant is that they are not very susceptible to vermin. Vermin usually occur if it’s too cold and not humid enough.
Signs to watch out for include brown scales, or bumps and sticky dew. A common pest is the scale insects that can be deterred by applying a mixture of soap, water, and alcohol daily.
Spider mites also cause the leaves to discolor if it’s too dry. Start by showering the whole pant thoroughly to remove the mites that hate moisture.
If that doesn’t work, develop, and encourage phytoseiulus persimilis to spread. These are predatory mites that eat spider mites and provide an immediate solution.
- Hibernation: As it gets colder, make sure to bring your plant indoors. The plant is usually dormant between October and March.
Keep watering the plant, but reduce the amounts as it gets colder. Make sure to provide enough light throughout the winter months.
Can You Make Your Own Coffee?
So you’ve got the coffee plant thriving, and hoping to enjoy some coffee from your plant. If you can mimic the natural weather conditions where this plant grows, you will succeed.
Unfortunately, nature is unpredictable. Your best option is to plant coffee indoors and be extra attentive.
With controlled temperature, light, and humidity, your plant will thrive. Start by planting the coffee bean in slightly acidic soil, with high nitrogen content. When they do flower, you can expect future coffee production.
By following the above instructions, the plant is more likely to bloom. It may take 2-5 years for the first flowers to show.
The catch is, an outdoor plant can grow tall and give you 4,000 cherries per harvest. An indoor plant will have to stay pruned and probably not produce enough beans for one pot of coffee. Keep your chin up though!
If you’re up for the challenge, try your hand at growing your coffee plant outside, or letting it grow to a larger size in a pot.
Why not take up the challenge, and you will appreciate the time and effort it takes to make a simple cup of coffee.
Spruce Up Your Home With a Lush Coffee Plant
If you are keen to decorate your home with lush plants, look no further than Gardening Channel for pro-tips.
You could create an indoor garden by planting the most popular houseplants.
If you do not want plants in the house, you could also create an outdoor garden space on the patio or covered balcony.
Photo from Unsplash by Rodrigo Flores
Leave a Reply