Coffee can actually be a great houseplant! Besides yielding a significant amount of beautiful coffee beans, it will also adorn your living space. Of course, don’t expect too much- one coffee tree yields about 1 pound of roast coffee. Now, considering that you won’t be able to grow a gigantic coffee tree at home, you’ll have to lower your expectations. But hey, you can always start with one coffee plant, and if you like it, plant some more, why not? Who knows, maybe it goes so well for you that you’ll need to read a How to Grow Coffee Farm guide?
I will focus mainly on indoor growing, but people who search for an outdoor coffee plant care manual might find some useful information here.
Alright, let’s cut the talk. First of all, you’d want to grow Arabica coffee plant, just like every other coffee enthusiast. I have tried a 100% Robusta coffee once, and it wasn’t a nice experience at all. It tastes like burning rubber, in my experience at least. On the other hand, I would like to have one Robusta plant, as blends between Arabica and Robusta grounds can be very cool. Robusta stands up to its name- it’s easier to grow, more resistant to diseases, and it grows in more diverse climate conditions.
We’ll summarize the most important facts in this table:
|Variety of Coffee||Coffea arabica|
|Soil pH||Mildly acidic to neutral (ideal range is from 6 to 6.5 pH)|
|Soil type||Lots of organic matter, and moist (good drainage)|
|Coffee plant hardiness zone||10|
|Sun||Indirect sunlight, bright|
|Size||6 feet tall (max)|
The Basics of Growing Coffee at Home
It’s easy to buy coffee seeds, and you can buy them online or in places like Wholefoods. After purchasing the seeds, put them in a cup of water and the next they plant seeds in separate (smaller) pots. When the plant grows enough (about 9 inches) repot it, and once again when it reaches 24-25 inches. Repotting is a skill on its own, so you’d want to pay close attention to this part, and try not to damage the roots.
Growing coffee climate conditions can hardly be achieved at home, as coffee plants grow in very special conditions, in subtropical and tropical zones (countries like Jamaica, Brazil, Kenya, and Ethiopia). Coffee plants like high altitudes and slightly lower temperatures. Most ideal temperatures range from 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit ( 18 to 21 degrees Celsius), so you’ll have to find a place at your home that’s a bit cooler. Also, don’t let these temperatures fool you- coffee plants may grow faster in hotter conditions, but this will decrease the yield. It’s better to take it slow.
Coffee plants absolutely love water! As mentioned, they grow in tropical and subtropical conditions, which are very humid. Besides watering them regularly (and abundantly), you can also sprinkle a bit of water with a spray to mimic the morning fog. Good drainage should also be provided.
Pruning Coffee Plant
Coffee plants can grow big, and you’ll have to prune them every now and then. The size of the plant can also be restricted by using smaller pot sizes, so this is another option. In my opinion, this is one of the best pruning shears, so give it a go:
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Soil and Fertilizers
Avoid limey soils, as coffee thrives in peat-rich soil with lots of organic matter. Most variants of “java” can grow in moderately acidic to neutral pH values (from 4 to 7). If you really want to get it right, keep acidity between 6 and 6.5 pH.
I wouldn’t use a particularly strong fertilizer with coffee plants, especially if they get enough sun and grow in good soil. Of course, you can always use a weaker fertilizer to “spice it up”.
Coffee grows in lush, green regions, but it doesn’t get much direct sunlight. However, it does get a lot of indirect sunlight, and I think this part is the trickiest one. Say that you are living in an apartment, surrounded by tall skyscrapers. You hardly get any type of sunlight, let alone being able to choose between direct and indirect.
To put it bluntly, you can put your coffee plant near the window, and take care that it doesn’t get much direct sunlight. Does the coffee plant have brown leaves? This is probably due to too much direct sun exposure. If you notice brown leaves, be sure to find a better position.
If you are a dummy like me, you’ll need an introduction to what a hardiness zone is. This is a geographical zone with a specific climate, zone 1 has the lowest temperature, and the temperatures rise as we go all the way to the top. The most ideal hardiness zone for a coffee plant is 10, which means that temperatures rarely drop below 55 degrees F (about 13 degrees C). In zone 10 there’s a lot of sun exposure.
Is Coffee Resilient to Pests?
Well, it’s not particularly resilient to infestations, especially some Arabica subspecies. Robusta, on the other hand, is much more resilient, and will endure whatever you throw at her (please don’t throw objects at it).
More specifically, aphids, mites, and mealybugs pose certain threats to your plant’s wellbeing. If you notice web (without spiders) and white powder-like matter, it would be smart to run to the nearest shop and buy some anti-pest chemicals.
Is Coffee Toxic?
Of course, here we refer to various parts of plants. Beans, as we know aren’t toxic, and this is the part we all like. On the other hand, all the other parts, like the root, leaves, stem, etc. are all toxic. They probably won’t kill you, so don’t worry, but simply don’t eat parts of the coffee plant, and don’t let your kids or pets near it.
Vomiting and diarrhea will likely appear when parts of the coffee plant are ingested, so in this case, be sure to contact your doctor.
When Will Coffee Plant Flower?
It’s hard to say. Some people keep their coffea friends in small pots, which basically hinders their growth. These kinds of plants have a purely aesthetic purpose. On the other hand, if you follow all the steps mentioned here, you can expect it to flower, in a few years (sigh). Patience is the most important thing about gardening!
That’s it! Of course, these were only the very basics of coffee plant care. Gardening is a complex set of skills, and you will need to learn a lot before being able to amaze your friends with a batch of homegrown coffee.
For the lazy ones, there’s always an easy solution: you can always find a coffee plant for sale, and have it delivered straight to your door.