Coffee plant, Coffea arabica, also known as The Arabian coffee, produces the best quality aromatic coffee beans. Growing coffee plant at home is becoming popular since its beans are not commonly available and they are a bit expensive. Therefore, the best option is to grow it at home. However, growing it at home is a bit difficult. Thus, in this article, we will provide you with all the necessary tips and instructions to learn how to grow coffee plants successfully.
1. Origin and growing habit
The coffee plant originates from Yemen and Ethiopia. It is a very popular plant and it is grown in many parts of the world including Africa, South America, and Asia. The most two popular species of coffee plant are Arabica coffee (Coffea arabica) and Robusta (Coffea canephora).
Coffee plants can be grown in a ground garden or in a container. Their average height is usually 5 meters tall. However, when grown in containers, their height can be managed through pruning. The plant has beautiful green leaves and it blooms twice a year. It is beautiful and many people grow it not only for its coffee beans but also for decoration.
As we have mentioned earlier, this plant although it is grown commercially in many countries, it remains a rare plant. Besides, it is very expensive. Thus, finding a cutting or a planting in your local nursery store is almost impossible. The only option left is to grow it from seeds.
Coffee plant seeds are widely available online. However, you should buy them from a reliable online source to make sure they are fresh. Fresh seeds germinate faster than other seeds. The germination usually takes from one to six months.
It is highly recommended that you start sowing from spring to mid-summer. However, if you live in a tropical or subtropical region, you can sow them any time of the year.
Most gardeners grow coffee plants in either a plastic pot or a clay pot. However, plastic pot is more preferable because it is lighter. No matter what kind of pots you have chosen, there are few requirements you should keep in mind. First, depth and drainage are crucial. Make you sure that the post you have chosen is deep enough and it has good drainage.
Second, you should choose a warm and humid spot for your container. Third, you should keep an eye on the temperature. Coffee plants grow best when the temperature degrees range between 53 F-80 F (12 C-25 C). When the temperature goes above or below these degrees, the plant will start to shed its leaves.
4. Sunlight exposure
Coffee plants need only morning sunlight. Afternoon sunlight is harmful to the plants. It may burn their leaves. Therefore, make sure that your plant is exposed to sunlight only in mornings.
5. Soil quality
Coffee plants have a deep root system. They require a soft soil they can penetrate easily. Harsh soil will hinder the plants from growing properly. They need a slightly acidic and moist soil. Adding humus content and manure will enhance the soil quality.
These plants love water in spring and water. In order for them to grow and thrive, you need to water them on regular basis abundantly in the summer and the fall. However, be careful of overwatering. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. In the winter, reduce the watering.
Before you sow the plant, prepare the soil by applying a slow release fertilizer. Then, after a couple of months, you should start applying 100gm. of citrus fertilizer. During the growing season, you should fertilize your plant once a month to enhance its growth. It is best to apply the same fertilizer that is used for citrus. It is advisable that you also apply iron fertilizer to your plant since it is commonly known that coffee plants suffer from iron deficiency.
If you are growing a coffee plant indoors as a houseplant, you will need to provide it with a certain level of humidity. You can use a humidifier for best results.
Pruning is required especially if you are growing a coffee plant indoors. You can start pruning your plant when it grows up to 2 feet (24″). Just chop its growing tip to encourage the growth of lateral branching. Keep pruning and pinching off your plant’s new growth to manage its height. You should also keep in mind that coffee plants like heavy pruning.
Coffee plants are not frost-tolerant plants. Freezing temperature degrees are fatal to these plants. If the temperature goes down below 30 F (1 C), it will kill your plant. Therefore, for your plant’s safety, you should either grow it indoors and at least bring indoors when the temperature falls below 41 F (5 C). It should be noted that these plants require morning sunlight, thus, make sure to place them next to a window when growing them indoors.
A coffee plant starts fruiting 4 to 5 years after planting. Harvesting the plant is easy and it can be done by various methods. The most popular method is hand picking. This method ensures that the quality of your fruits remains excellent.
This is how to grow coffee plants. Follow these steps and in a few years, you will have a highly productive coffee plant. Enjoy!