Did you know that plants bearing coffee beans can also be grown as houseplants? Yes, that’s right. You can grow a coffee plant at home with minimal maintenance requirements. It is one of the most easily grown houseplants.
Growing coffee plants suits well with both beginner and experienced gardeners. Not only is it simple to care for a coffee plant, but it also adds to the beauty of the interior of your house. They are also evergreens and do not shed leaves. Thus, they keep your home decorated the whole year.
Belonging to the Rubiaceae family, the coffee plant is one among the ninety of the Coffea genus. Scientifically known as Coffea arabica, it is the first of its species cultivated and grown in Southwest Arabia farms for over 1,000 years.
If you have a green thumb, read on to acquaint yourself with the measures you need to take to grow coffee plants indoors. You can know how to maintain them as well if you are new to try the easy-to-grow coffee plant indoors at home.
How To Grow Coffee Plants Indoor
The first step before you grow a coffee plant is to find a suitable place for it. Coffea arabica or coffee plants are compatible with both indoor and outdoor environments. If you live in a small apartment, you can always grow these beauties as houseplants.
For a dedicated space to grow your coffee plant, you need to make sure that it is not directly exposed to the sunlight. Coffee plants grow in indirect sunlight.
Coffee plant growth is susceptible to regions with temperatures less volatile than the tropics. Growing your coffee plant indoors offers sufficient levels of light, water, and humidity to nurture its essential growth for a longer period.
After having dedicated space for your coffee plant, it is time to get your coffee seeds or cherries or green coffee beans ready for your Arabica coffee plant. Rarely, nurseries have potted coffee plants for sale. What you need to look for is freshly picked green coffee beans or cherries or seeds.
You must bear in mind that you cannot really grow a coffee plant from already roasted beans. You need to find beans that have been extracted from its cherries or purchase green coffee beans alone from the market. Then, you’ll be all set to plant your Arabica coffee.
The initial potting stage of your plant will require the right soil. Learn which conditions favor the growth of Arabica coffee plants. Tropical, mountainous regions with high humidity and ample water are suitable for these plants. The soil you choose to plant in should be nutrient-rich, allowing deep penetration of your plant’s roots.
Soil with pH levels of almost 6 is considered ideal for growing coffee plants. Also, make sure that the pot has good drainage for excess water absorbed by the plant as it’s not good for its growth.
For coffee plant growers, it is vital to follow a care routine to ensure the proper growth and nourishment of their houseplant. An adequate amount of water to keep the soil moist for the plant’s healthy development is crucial. Too dry or too wet conditions will hamper its growth.
An amazing idea to provide sufficient water levels to your potted coffee houseplant is to provide a water-filled tray that maintains the humidity. Make sure to keep a check on the fertilizer’s pH level after a duration of every few months and fertilize accordingly.
The spring season requires regular pruning of your coffee plant as well to maintain its growth. Another step you need to follow during the spring is to repot your coffee plant as it grows beyond 2 feet of height. Start repotting your plant at 8 inches height, and then proceeding with a 24 inches height approximately in the initial year.
Repotting needs consistency and responsibility. The coffee plant roots thrive in ample space; however, neither a pot too big nor too small is recommended for your plant. It would be best to choose a suitable pot according to your plant size.
How To Care For A Coffee Plant
Growing coffee plants indoors requires mimicking their favorable natural conditions, like in the mid-elevated mountainous regions and the tropics. They need good drainage and humid conditions along with comparatively cool weather conditions and slightly acidic rich soil.
For growing your coffee plant indoor, the best place to pot it is in a cool place with diffused sunlight. Keep your plant away from drafts, like those resulting from air conditioning. Make sure to water your plant weekly and keep its soil moist.
Plants growing from green coffee beans prefer speckled rays of the sun or full sunlight in regions other than the tropics. These plants exist underneath the forest canopy. Hence, direct sunlight can hamper their growth. The dark green color of the leaves of coffee plants turns brown if exposed to harsh sunlight.
Coffee plant care requires you to plant them in rich potting soil with outstanding drainage. They prefer growing in acidic soil, with a pH level ranging between 4 to 7. So, if your coffee houseplant fails to thrive well, consider adding organic matter like sphagnum peat moss that increases the soil’s pH value. The ideal pH level is about 6 to 6.5.
Coffee plants are tremendous water lovers and require ample and regular watering. The soil must be evenly moist. However, make sure you do not end up waterlogging the soil. Also, keep a clean check on the soil, for it should never get too dry.
Coffee plants thrive in the daytime and nighttime temperatures, which are optimal average temperatures of 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit and 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. More tropical temperatures may accelerate the plants’ growth, but they’re not ideal for growing coffee plants for their beans. These plants require a slow and steady pace for their fruits to ripen.
Naturally grown in tropical mountainous regions, coffee plants thrive in high humidity with much rain and fog. 50 percent of humidity levels or more should be sufficient for their growth. Leaf-browning starts to occur in case of too dry air. It is essential to mist the plant every day to maintain the humid conditions.
It is essential to prune your plant when required. Cut the growing tip of the coffee plant when it reaches 2 feet of height. You can be harsh with the pruning, as these plants do not get damaged with heavy pruning. Pruning is easy – pinch and prune off the plant’s newly grown stem to prevent its height. Also, keep a close look for crossing and damaged branches. If found, remove them immediately.
Planting coffee in freezing temperatures is detrimental to its development. These plants die easily when exposed to temperatures below 30 degrees Fahrenheit. It is always the best choice to plant coffee plants indoors within 41 degrees Fahrenheit of temperatures. Bear in your mind that these coffee plants are cold-intolerant.
During the winter, keep your potted coffee plant near a window to offer enough daylight. You can also place it below a grow light to make up for low light exposure.
Make sure to feed the potting soil of your coffee plant with a weak liquid fertilizer every two weeks through the entire growing season. Cut back the fertilizer once each month or so during the winters.
Is Coffee Plant Toxic For Animals?
The entire coffee plant is toxic to cats, birds, horses, dogs, and all kinds of animals. Similarly, it is also toxic for humans except for the fruit – the beans that it bears. Official lists of toxic plants categorize these plants as minorly toxic, traditionally meant for plants incurring non-fatal intestinal discomfort.
Symptoms Of Poisoning
Common poisoning symptoms caused by this plant in humans and animals are vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and lack of appetite. Severe toxicity causes irregular heart rate, seizures, and occasionally, death among animals.
Deaths among humans are sporadic. However, in susceptible scenarios like the consumption of any part of the plant other than dried and finished coffee beans, make sure to call the poison control agency. Keep in mind that the attractive red berries of coffee plants are inedible. Only the coffee beans inside them are for human consumption.
It is great to plant a coffee plant as an indoor plant. It is easy to grow, and coffee plant care also needs minimal attention. Especially during the spring and summer, growing a coffee plant is most favorable and convenient. All you need to be careful about is to place it near a window and not in a spot exposed to direct sunlight.
If you’re a newbie in gardening, make sure to conduct your research to learn how to grow a coffee plant indoor. Even for the experienced green thumbs, growing a coffee plant, though easy, would differ a lot from the generic plants. These plants also add to the beauty of your home interiors.
Make sure to get freshly picked beans from the market. Have a good time gardening at home!
James Fields is the founder of Gardener to Farmer. His passion for gardening goes back to his childhood days when he would visit his grandfather during the holidays and help him with the plants in the backyard. This has now translated to creating a dependable resource for gardening.