Coffee is one of the most beloved beverages all over the world. It comes from a very tall African plant, of which there are several varieties. Few people know, however, that the coffee plant can also be grown in apartments for ornamental purposes. In fact, it possesses wonderful glossy leaves of a beautiful bright green color.
Let us therefore get to know it closely. Let’s see what its characteristics are and tips on how best to care for it and grow it in our homes.
- 1 What does the coffee plant look like?
- 2 How to grow coffee plant in pots
- 3 Coffee plant for ornamental purpose
- 4 How tall is the coffee plant?
- 5 When does the coffee plant bloom?
- 6 How to care for the coffee plant in pots
- 7 Where to keep the coffee plant
- 8 How often should you water the coffee plant
- 9 Multiplication
- 10 When to repot the coffee plant
- 11 Pests and diseases
- 12 How much coffee a coffee plant produces
- 13 The harvest
- 14 More on this topic
What does the coffee plant look like?
The coffee plant is an evergreen shrub in the Rubiaceae family. Native to East Africa, it is mainly typical of Ethiopia. The belt between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn constitutes its ideal habitat. Indeed, soils in such regions are rich in humus, nitrogen and potassium. Temperatures range from 60 to 90°F, and annual rainfall is between 1,200 and 2,000 ml.
There are about 60 species of coffee plants. The best known and most cultivated is Coffea Arabica because it is the variety that produces the best fruits.
Let’s take a closer look at what it looks like.
- Trunk: It has primary and secondary branches
- Leaves are bright dark green, they are oval or lanceolate in shape. Glossy and fleshy they have a slightly wavy edge
- Flowers are white and star-shaped
- Fruits are similar to cherries or olives, they range in color from green to red, depending on the degree of ripeness. Inside are two small green seeds that, when roasted and processed, become coffee. The transition from flower to fruit takes about 9 months.
How to grow coffee plant in pots
In apartments you will have to grow it in pots. It is a shrub that does not exceed 2 meters. It produces a slender stem with a wide, rounded crown. The dark green leaves are glossy, oval or lanceolate. Apartment-grown specimens are evergreen but usually produce neither flowers nor fruit.
Coffee plant for ornamental purpose
In areas other than its native areas, the coffee plant is grown mainly for decorative purposes. Its foliage has pronounced ornamental power.
Its cultivation as a houseplant is rather simple. Like all tropical plants, it needs moderately high temperatures combined with high humidity and good lighting.
How tall is the coffee plant?
In the wild, it can reach 8 meters. In plantations, however, it does not exceed 3 meters because, otherwise, harvesting operations would be rather complicated.
In the Norther Emisphere, the coffee plant is grown only for decorative-ornamental purposes, and can reach a maximum of 2 meters in height.
When does the coffee plant bloom?
It blooms in late spring. Its flowers are star-shaped, white, thus going to create a nice color contrast with the large glossy leaves.
How to care for the coffee plant in pots
As already mentioned, this is not too difficult a plant to grow. Let’s look specifically at some tips.
- Watering: It needs regular and abundant watering, being careful to avoid waterlogging. In summer it should be watered every day, while in winter you can adopt somewhat more sporadic frequencies. Also, since it loves moisture, it should be sprayed regularly
- Fertilization: It is a very demanding plant in this regard. During the warm season, every 2 weeks, give potassium-rich liquid fertilizer. At the beginning of the winter season, spread and incorporate mature manure into the potting soil.
- Planting: Thin the foliage periodically so as to allow proper ventilation between the innermost parts of the plant. Logs also lignify: once a year, in spring, cut back just above the third or fourth bud so as to encourage the emergence of secondary branches
- Potting: to be done only at the point when the roots emerge from the drainage holes of the pot
Where to keep the coffee plant
As a plant with tropical origins, it cannot tolerate cold weather. The minimum temperature to which to expose it should not fall below 60°F. The ideal temperature is between 65 and 70°F. In addition, it is important to provide it with an extremely bright exposure, but avoid direct sun.
The best exposure is to the south and west, taking care, however, to shield the window panes with a light-colored curtain in the summertime.
Finally, good air exchange would help ward off the danger of pests. Take care, however, to avoid excessively cold drafts.
How often should you water the coffee plant
From March to October, watering should be regular, usually daily. During the rest of the year, it can be decreased. In any case, the substrate must be kept cool, along with a very high ambient humidity.
Between waterings, you should never wait for the soil to dry out completely. At the same time, however, care should be taken to avoid waterlogging, the main cause of root rot.
Given its origins, the coffee plant thrives well in a very humid environment. Therefore, you should regularly spray the foliage. In addition, electric humidifiers may also be useful.
For both watering and steaming, always prefer demineralized or rainwater. Excessive salinity could cause dark spots to appear on the leaves.
The best technique is by cuttings. You need to cut small twigs from the central shoot (about 20-25 cm long) and plant each one in a small pot with potting soil. The small pots with cuttings should be stored in a very warm and very humid place, bright but without direct sunlight. They should be watered frequently with rainwater or water low in lime.
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When to repot the coffee plant
This plant grows very fast. Therefore, repotting is almost always necessary every year and should be done in spring, from March and by May.
It is best to choose a container that is at least 45 cm in diameter and deep. For mature specimens, opt for sizes of at least 60 cm.
At the bottom, it is important to create a thick draining layer. Use a specific potting soil for flowering plants, rich in organic matter.
Pests and diseases
It is a plant that is quite susceptible to various pathogens and physiopathologies.
The most frequent problems are chlorosis, caused by microelement deficiency, rust and anthracnose.
As for pests, on the other hand, the most common are the and red spider mite.
How much coffee a coffee plant produces
If well cultivated, 2 to 3 kg of stripped coffee can be obtained from one plant. In intensive cultivation, it is as high as 8 to 10 kg per plant.
For a coffee farm, harvesting constitutes a delicate and very expensive step. There are 2 methods of harvesting, depending on the state of ripeness of the fruit.
- Picking: Only the red, and therefore ripest, fruits are manually selected and harvested. This method has very high costs
- Stripping: an “aggressive” method by which everything on the branch is ripped off. Basically, one harvests both the already ripe fruits as well as those that are still unripe. Certainly, this method is very fast, it is carried out through machinery but the qualitative result is inferior to the harvest obtained through the picking system.
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