Coffee plant is an attractive little specimen that has lovely glossy leaves and a compact growth habit.
Surprisingly, it makes a good houseplant as well, thus, you can easily grow them indoor.
Native to Ethiopia, the coffee plant will flower in the spring with small white flowers and then bear half-inch berries.
These berries gradually darken from green to blackish pods. Each of these fruits contains two seeds, which eventually become coffee beans you can use to brew coffee.
Other than the seeds, it is important to know that all plants are toxic to both humans and animals.
Moreover, in their native habitat, this plant grows into medium-sized trees, however, growers need to prune them to a more manageable size.
This is particularly important if you choose to grow them indoors.
Keep on reading to learn more about them in detail.
Arabian Coffee is commonly known as a coffee plant and is an evergreen perennial. This plant can grow about 6 to 15 feet tall and wide as well.
The coffee plant is native to Ethiopia, tropical Africa, and blooms in spring.
This plant can grow in USDA hardiness zones of 9 to 11. However, all parts of this plant are toxic to animals and humans alike, while its beans are edible for humans.
One of the important things to note about coffee plants is that you cannot grow them from the beans you buy from a grocery store.
It is because of the fact that these beans have been treated and roasted, therefore, they will not sprout.
Even though coffee plants are vigorous growers, it often tasks a few years before they produce flowers and subsequent fruits.
Types of Coffee Plant
The following are the types of coffee plants you can choose to grow from:
Coffea Arabica “Nana”: This one is a dwarf variety that grows 12 inches tall, thus, making it ideal to cultivate indoors.
Coffea Liberica: A variety that is native to central and western Africa, it was discovered in Liberia.
Moreover, this variety produces large fruits with high caffeine content than arabica beans.
However, the caffeine content is lower than robusta beans.
Robusta Coffee: Robusta coffee or Coffea Canephora is a species that comes from sub-Saharan Africa.
These plants are robust, however, the coffee beans are less favored as they tend to have a stronger, harsher taste than arabica beans.
Coffee Plant Care
The best environment to grow your coffee plants is to mimic or copy the natural conditions that are found in a tropical, mid-elevation mountainside.
Make sure there is plenty of water with good drainage, high humidity, relatively cool temperatures, and rich, slightly acidic soil.
Moreover, you can also grow them outdoors if the conditions are similar to their natural environment.
On the other hand, while choosing to place coffee plants indoors, make sure to place them near a window, however, not in direct sunlight.
Furthermore, make sure to keep them away from drafts, like those produced from air conditioning.
It is important to water them at least weekly to keep the soil moist.
Light and Soil Conditions for Coffee Plants
Coffe plants like to thrive in dappled sunlight or full sunlight in weaker attitudes.
They are understory plants that exist under the canopy of forests and do not thrive in direct, harsh sunlight.
Moreover, when you expose them to too much direct sunlight. they will develop leaf browning.
Make sure to plant your coffee plant in a rich, peat-based potting soil with excellent drainage.
Coffee plants prefer the acidic type of soil, so if your plant is not growing as it should, then you can add organic matter.
This organic matter can be sphagnum peat moss to increase the pH of your soil.
Furthermore, the ideal pH range of soil for this plant should b 6 to 6.5.
Water and Fertilizing Conditions
Coffe plants are water lovers and require both regular and ample watering.
Moreover, the soil of your garden, pot, or land should stay evenly moist, however, avoid waterlogging of the land.
Never allow the soil to dry out completely.
While fertilizing your coffee plant, feed them with a weak liquid fertilizer throughout the growing season every couple of weeks.
Cut back on fertilizing them to once a month or so in the winter season.
Temperature and Humidity
The optimal average temperature range for coffee plants during the daytime is between 70 to 80 degrees.
While at night time, the temperature ranges from 65 to 70 degrees.
On the other hand, higher, or hotter temperatures can accelerate the growth, however, they are not ideal for growing plants if you intend to get beans.
The fruits of coffee plants need to ripe at a slow, steady pace.
Additionally, these plants naturally grow on the sides of tropical mountains and thrive in highly humid conditions.
This is because such areas receive plenty of rainfall and fog.
The humidity level of 50% or higher should also be beneficial for your plants.
If the air is too dry, the leaf edges might start to brown, thus, mist them daily to raise the humidity level.
Pruning and Propagating Coffee Plants
Coffee plants will need pruning, however, you should make sure to cut them back in the spring season with sharp gardening shears.
This can help shape your plant and it will grow back even bushier.
In order to propagate coffee plants, you can do so from cuttings or air layers.
Air layers are a technique involved where you root branches that are still attached to the parent plant.
The best time to take a cutting for propagating your plants is early in the summer.
For this purpose, follow the steps:
- select a straight shoot that is about 8 to 10 inches long and remove all the leaves, except for a few
- plant the cutting in a small pot of soilless potting mix and keep the soil slightly moist
- when you gently tug on the plant and feel resistance, you will know that the roots have formed.
Growing Coffee Plants from Seeds
While you cannot germinate the coffee beans bought from the store, you can sprout the ones that grow on your coffee plant.
Rub away the flesh of the cherries, wash away any residue, dry thoroughly by sitting in the open air for a few weeks.
Afterward, soak the cherries in water for at least 24 hours and then sow them in damp, but well-draining sand.
When you water them daily, the cherries will germinate in about 2 to 4 months.
Moreover, when they grow, carefully remove them and plant each one in week-draining acidic soil and making sure to water them twice a week.
How to get your Coffee Plant to bloom?
Coffee plant bloom delicate, white flowers, once it is around 3 years old. If these blooms pollinate and are outdoors, the flowers will give away a little red fruit.
This red fruit or cherries are slightly soft to the touch.
On the other hand, to get your own coffee plant to bloom, make sure that it is at the right temperature, i.e. 70 to 80 degrees F during the day,
Moreover, make sure that it receives 4 to 5 hours of sunlight a day and is growing in damp, well-draining soil.
Common Problems of the Coffee Plant
Some of the common problems of the coffee plants are:
Brown Leaves that Fall Off
If the leaves turn brown and fall off usually, then it is usually because of leaf scorch or known as “too much sun”.
Fixing this is merely a matter of giving your plant more indirect sunlight.
Brown Spots on Leaves
Certain fungal diseases such as leaf spot, can give your plant brown spots on the leaves.
To improve it, remove the affected leaves and stems. Moreover, trim away the inner branches so that there is better air circulation for your plant.
On the other hand, growing your coffee plants indoors can suffer from infestations of mealybugs, aphids, and mites.
Signs of infestations include tiny webs, clumps of white powdery residue, or visible insects on the plant.
To treat the infestations with insecticides, or something organic like neem oil as soon as possible.
This helps to prevent them from spreading to the rest of your collection.
Potting and Repotting your Plant
Make sure to repot your coffee plant every spring, gradually stepping up the pot size.
Moreover, make sure that the potting container has a number of drainage holes.
However, if you want, you can prune your coffee plant to the desired size.
Slightly restrict its pot size and roo prune to keep its growth manageable.
If you love coffee plants, then growing them indoors can be perfect for you. The coffee plant or Coffea arabica plant is an easy-care plant with gorgeous leaves that can produce coffee beans if you provide them with the right conditions.
Moreover, make sure to provide your plant with bright, indirect sunlight, well-draining soil, water them when the first inch of soil is dry or when the moisture meter reads dry or nearly dry. Coffee plants like to be root bound in their pot, fertilize them during the growing season and make sure there is 50 to 60% humidity in the growing environment.