Here’s everything about How to Grow a Coffee Plant easily in your home garden! Read on to learn all the details and harvest fresh beans!
This article is dedicated to the Arabian coffee plant (Coffea arabica) as it is a source of the best quality aromatic coffee beans. As growing coffee at home is becoming popular, trying this rare and exotic coffee variety is not a bad idea. Let’s have a look at How to Grow a Coffee Plant!
USDA Zones: 10-11, *can be grown in zones 7 to 9 with care in winter
Coffee Plant Information
The two most grown and important coffee species are Arabica coffee (Coffea arabica) and Robusta (Coffea canephora). Arabica coffee is the most popular and considered the best. It is native to Ethiopia and Yemen, now grown commercially all over Africa, South America, and Asia.
Arabica coffee plant has many qualities — its slightly aromatic glossy leaves look beautiful, you can also grow it as an ornamental plant in a container, and if you love the fragrance, then the blazing scent of its flowers is enough to appease you.
The coffee tree is a small-sized tree that grows up to 5 meters tall (average height), but in containers, you can manage the size by regular pruning. Its leaves are dark green, slightly ribbed, and shiny.
The plant blooms twice a year in its native subtropical conditions. If you grow it as a houseplant in the colder climate, it’ll bloom only in summer and spring, and a cluster of small snow-white flowers like jasmine with a sweet fragrance will appear.
The plant then bears small fruits that first come in green and later changes to red. Ripe fruits can decorate the plant for several months.
Growing Coffee from Seeds
Before you ask how to grow a coffee plant, do note that arabica coffee is a rare plant, it may be possible that you’ll not be able to find a potted plant in the nursery. Therefore, growing coffee from seeds might be the only option.
You’ll need fresh green seeds for germination, which you can find online easily. Coffee seeds are suitable for planting throughout the year in subtropical and tropical regions, but the best time to sow them in the colder climate is spring to mid-summer.
Plant seeds in slightly acidic and moist soil when temperature stables around 20C. Seeds will take a long time to germinate (1 month to 6 months). After germination, keep the young plant in partial shade, receiving only the morning sun.
If you manage to find coffee seedlings or plants (which is the best option) in a garden center, select a plant with healthy green foliage and no pests or yellow lower leaves.
How to Grow Coffee Beans?
Before you pick coffee beans for planting, choose a deep pot with good drainage. The plastic pot is better as it is lightweight; you can also use a clay pot. Coffee in the pot should be kept in a warm and humid spot that is less windy. Best to put your pot in the eastern or western direction.
Arabica coffee plant’s optimum growing temperature is between 53 F-80 F (12 C-25 C). It sheds its leaves when the temperature fluctuates often. It grows easily in temperatures between 45 F-85 F (7 C-30 C). The plant needs more care above or below the range of this temperature.
Requirements for Growing Coffee Tree in a Pot
Coffee plants should not be exposed to direct sun (especially afternoon) as it prefers diffused sunlight. Plants grown in full sun can have leaf burns.
Pick a spot where the plant is exposed to the mild morning sun for 2-3 hours daily.
A coffee tree has deep roots, which penetrate the soil; make sure you use a well-draining growing medium. Add organic matter like humus, manure, bonemeal, and dried blood. Soil type should be slightly acidic with a pH level of around six.
In the summer and fall, it requires abundant watering as the coffee plant is native to humid rainforests and blooms only when it gets enough water.
Avoid watering the plant daily and moisten the growing medium only when the top layer feels a little dry to the touch.
Caring for a Coffee Plant
If you are not sure how to care for a coffee plant, then the following points will help you!
From April to the end of August or in the growing season, the plant needs to be fertilized regularly every month. Use a fertilizer that you use for citrus. Do follow the instructions on the label. Alternatively, you can also go for a balanced liquid feed every 6-8 weeks.
Acid-loving plants often suffer from iron deficiency, so it is better to apply iron fertilizer once a year.
Create a micro-climate while growing coffee indoors by grouping plants together. You can also place the plant on a pebble tray filled with water or use a humidifier. Check out our guide to learn how to raise the humidity level for houseplants.
When your plant reaches a height of 2 feet, cut back its growing tip to encourage lateral branching. Harsh pruning can be done to the coffee plant, as it doesn’t mind heavy pruning.
You don’t need special assistance; pinch and prune off your plant’s new growth to restrict its height. Also, remove crossing and diseased branches from time to time.
As it’s not frost-tolerant, freezing temperatures are detrimental to these plants. It is better to keep the plant indoors or in the greenhouse when it reaches below 41 F (5 C).
During winter, while keeping your pot indoors, place it near a window so the plant will receive enough daylight. You can place it under grow light as well to supplement low light exposure.
How to Harvest Coffee?
The plant will start to fruit after four or five years after planting. Hand-picak the beans and dry them up in the sun. Later, you can crush the beans and use them to make a hot cup of coffee! Read this article for more details.