Did you know you can grow your own coffee beans at home? All you need is the coffee plant.
This is the same plant used by coffee bean growers to produce those lovely brown bits that are ground to make your morning Joe.
Better yet, they’re beautiful houseplants that are easy to grow and care for.
To learn everything you need to know about this plant, read on below.
About the Coffee Plant
Coffee plants actually grow into medium-sized trees in their native environment. This is why some people refer to them as coffee trees instead of plants.
But indoors, their size gets limited.
When pruned regularly, these evergreen perennials don’t grow as big as they do outside. Yet, they’ll still get to about 6 feet tall and about 3 feet wide.
Their size and beautiful dark green leaves make them a good centerpiece or focal point indoors.
Coffee plants are native to the tropical regions of Asia and Africa. They’re often found in mountainsides with mid-elevations in tropical regions.
As such, they’re used to receiving a lot of rain, high humidity, fairly cool temperatures, and soil that’s rich and well-draining.
Thus, providing them with conditions that are similar to these gives you the best chance of successfully growing them.
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Can You Grow Coffee Beans With the Coffee Tree?
Yes, these coffee trees are the same plants where the coffee beans you use for your morning Joe come from.
And, while it may seem really cool to grow your own coffee beans at home, the process is much more difficult than it looks.
But, you can try.
Coffee beans are the mature flowers of your coffee plants. The problem is, it takes them 3-5 years to produce this.
If you’re willing to wait that long for your coffee, you’ll still only end up with a handful. This often amounts to less than what you’d need to make a full pot.
Of course, you can have fun with it and try roasting your own coffee beans.
Coffee Plant Care
Coffee Plant Light Requirments
Coffee trees need bright, indirect light. This means that they’d rather be placed near a window instead of right on the windowsill. That way, they get a lot of light. But, the sun’s rays don’t directly hit them.
This reduces the sun’s intensity during the hot summer days and mid-afternoons, especially if you’re in a warm region.
Similarly, they enjoy dappled sunlight, since that’s the kind of light they receive in their native environments.
So, you can put them in areas where there are trees whose leaves block a little of the light, allowing only some rays to get through.
Coffee Plant Temperature & Humidity
Coffee plants are hardy to USDA zones 9 to 11. In part, it’s because they grow on the sides of tropic mountains. As such, they enjoy conditions that are similar to what they receive in their natural habitat.
This includes getting plenty of rain and experiencing quite a bit of fog around it.
It’s also comfortable with relatively cool temperatures that range from 64 degrees to 70 degrees. But, it starts getting uncomfortable if the temperature drops below that range. As you would imagine, it won’t be able to take freezing conditions.
Thus, it’s a good idea to keep them away from outdoor winter weather as well as cold drafts.
In contrast, an increase in temperature does make them grow faster. But, it’s not necessarily a good thing if you’re looking to grow their beans. For those, you’re better off allowing them to develop at a more steady, moderate pace
Then, there’s high humidity. If your home is not humid, you may want to set your coffee plant on top of some stones that tare in a tray of water. While the water underneath your plant’s container doesn’t reach the soil, its presence increases the vapor in the air right above your coffee tree making it more humid.
Watering Coffee Plant
Since they’re used to receiving a lot of rain, these plants need a lot of water. But, they don’t like having wet feet. So, it’s a good idea to keep their soil moist, not soaked.
Thus, having well-draining soil goes a long way here.
To get the most out of your coffee tree, water regularly during spring and summer. Then scale back considerably during the winter.
Besides draining moisture well, coffee plants enjoy soil with pH that’s slightly acidic to neutral (pH levels between 6.0 and 6.5). However, they’ll still grow even if you go out of bounds (pH levels of between 4 to 7), albeit not optimally.
Additionally, they enjoy soil that’s rich in organic matter.
These plants don’t need a lot of fertilizing. But, it does help with growth, especially during their growing season (spring and summer months).
You can apply a balanced fertilizer every 2-3 months when it’s actively growing. Then cut back come wintertime.
Coffee Plant Pruning
If you give then what they need coffee plants can grow to as high as 6 feet tall. This means you’ll want to leave enough space indoors to accommodate its growth.
Similarly, you can prune it regularly to limit its size. Doing so not only helps keep it manageable size-wise, but it also helps keep it healthy.
If you do decide to prune your coffee tree, the best time to do it is during early spring.
Coffee Plant Propagation
Coffee plants can be propagated in several ways. The two easier methods involve buying them from the store, be it their seeds or as seedlings.
If you don’t like to spend money to propagate them, you can likewise do so by from cuttings or air layers. The latter is a bit more complicated so you won’t see a lot of home growers do it.
Cuttings work as well. But, it’s harder to propagate successfully.
In any case, doing so is quite similar to how you’d propagate by cutting other plants.
- Take a cutting from your coffee plant. Do choose a more prolific branch with at least 2 leaves.
- Make a diagonal cut a the end and dip this end in rooting hormone.
- Put the cutting in potting medium. You can use a potting mix for cacti and add perlite to it.
- Water the growing medium thoroughly. And, make sure to keep the soil moist.
- Wrap a plastic bag over the plant to increase humidity.
- Keep the soil temperature between 72-77 degrees Fahrenheit
- You should see roots develop in about 4 to 6 weeks.
Repotting Coffee Plant
Spring is likewise to repot your coffee plant when you choose to do so. As it will grow to a considerable size indoors, you’ll gradually need to move it to larger pots every so often.
That said, there are a few ways to reduce the frequency at which you repot. This includes:
- Pruning them regularly to the size you want
- Underpotting them. You can only do this slightly since keeping them in a much smaller pot for a long time isn’t healthy in the long term.
- Root prune it
As a houseplant, you always want to know how safe it is for your family and pets. The thing is, coffee plants are toxic. All parts of the plant except for the coffee beans (mature fruit) are poisonous to both humans and animals.
As such, it’s a good idea to keep it away from your kids, dogs, or cats.
While touching it isn’t going to do anything to you, ingesting any of the toxic parts can cause digestive issues like diarrhea and vomiting.