How to grow a coffee plant at home
Can you grow coffee? If you are a coffee lover and you dream your own plantation at home, you will be pleased to know that it is far from impossible.
Of course, do not expect to have production-sized aims. Having a Coffea (coffee plant scientific name) tree at home does not mean that you will harvest the fruit to be turned into coffee. Settle on growing it in a pot for ornamental purposes: in addition to being beautiful, original and evergreen, it is not too unwieldy and doesn’t require special care, so long as you adhere to a few simple rules.
Even though Arabica coffee plant loves East Africa and South America’s tropical climates, it can grow well indoors. It will add a touch of cheer and colour to the home.
How much coffee does a plant produce? To avoid any misunderstandings, be aware that it is very difficult for the plant to produce its characteristic white flowers in a domestic environment. But it’s not impossible: if you are capable and lucky enough, you may see some flowers and perhaps some green berries around March.
Coffe plant care
Coffea, which in its natural habitat reaches 8 metres in height, can also grow in pots up to 2 metres tall, with a slender trunk, shiny oval leaves and roundish foliage. In spring time, it is quite easy to find coffee plants for sales in nurseries. It won’t be difficult to grow a little coffee tree indoors.
Which type of soil is best for growing coffee?
Find a vase at least 40 centimetres high and the same width to ensure that the roots have enough space to develop, with a drainage layer on the bottom. The ideal soil for this plant is draining and slightly calcareous, generally acidic, with a pH between 5 and 6.
Best exposure for coffee plants
Coffea loves light, but direct exposure to sunlight filtered by windows’ glass could scorch the leaves. In summer, the vase should be placed in a shaded place and not exposed to heat, while in winter it should be placed in a brighter spot protected from the wind.
What climate is needed to grow coffee?
The ideal temperature for the growth of the Coffea is around 20°C. Under 18°C in winter and above 30-32°C in the summer months and it starts to suffer, especially in a room with little air and with a particularly dry climate: the stagnant air favours the aggression of parasites such as aphids, cochineals and red spider mites.
Watering the Coffea plant
From March to October the plant should be watered daily with rain or demineralised water. A water mister should also be used to moisten the leaves, trunk and soil in the pot, to reproduce the tropical climate. In winter, it can be watered twice a week. It is important to remove stagnant water from the plant pot saucer after every watering to prevent the roots from rotting.
Coffee fertilizer recommendation
In the first two years in the pot, the Coffea should be fertilised once a fortnight (once a month in winter) with a universal organic fertiliser for coffee plants with a high content of potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus; a products similar to a tomato fertiliser. The plant suffers from the lack of micro-elements (such as iron, magnesium, zinc) so to avoid diseases like rust and anthracnose, the frequency of fertilisation must increase at the first sign of deterioration.
Repotting and pruning of coffee houseplants
The coffee plant must be repotted once a year, each time in a vase with a diameter greater than a couple of centimetres. To keep it tidy once fully developed, Coffea needs to be pruned and trimmed in late spring above the third or fourth bud, in order to promote its branching and increase the chances of flowering.
Although very rare, if well taken care of the coffee plant can flower in the summer with fragrant white buds. Coffea grown in the domestic setting is also easy enough to multiply… We will talk about this in a future post!
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