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How to Grow Coffee Plant — Coffea

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Coffea plant, commonly called coffee, is famous for its beans but is also an exceptionally handsome house plant. Indoors this tropical shrub will top out at about 4 feet (1.2m) tall.

Coffa’s glossy, oval, dark green leaves are distinctly ribbed; the leaves look as if they have been polished. Funnel-shaped white flowers are followed by red berries–the beans from which you can make coffee.

Coffea has woody stems that bear glossy green, pointed leaves that are 3 to 6 inches (7.6-15cm) long and 2 inches (5cm) wide. Fragrant, white star-shaped flowers bloom in summer.

Coffea rarely produces beans on plants grown indoors.

Get to know Coffea

  • Plant type: Tropical evergreen shrub
  • Growing Zones and range: Zones 10-11
  • Hardiness: Tender; keep the temperature between 70° and 75°F (21°-24°C)
  • Height and width: Grow to 12 feet (3.6m) in the tropics, indoor plants will not grow to half that height
  • Foliage: Glossy, oval, dark green leaves are distinctly ribbed, grow to 4 inches (10cm) long and 2 inches wide
  • Flowers: Clusters of fragrant, funnel-shaped, white flowers that are followed by small berries; flowers and berries appear at the base of leaves
  • Bloom time: Summer
  • Uses: Tropical shrub, houseplant
  • Common name: Coffee Plant
  • Botanical name: Coffea arabica
  • Family: Rubiaceae
  • Origin: Tropical Africa
Coffea arabica - coffee plant
Coffea arabica – coffee plant

Where to plant Coffea

  • Coffea plant prefers bright, filtered sunlight, not direct sun.
  • Coffea plant needs humidity; grow plants on a humidity tray or mist several times a week.

How to water and feed Coffea

  • Keep the soil moist (like a squeezed sponge) but not soggy; reduce water during autumn and winter rest period allowing the soil to dry out almost completely between waterings
  • Apply a complete fertilizer every two weeks during spring and summer, withhold fertilizer applications during autumn and winter.

Coffea plant Care

  • If you are trying to keep the coffee plant a particular size, pinch out the growing tips regularly during the spring and summer growing period.
  • The
  • Coffea will drop leaves if temperatures drop below 55°F/13°C.
  • Cut plants back in spring to keep them small and to encourage compact growth.

Growing Coffea as a houseplant

  • Give Coffea direct light year round, high humidity, and an average to warm temperature.
  • Keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy.
  • Fertilize Coffea regularly from spring through fall.

Coffea pests and diseases

  • Coffea can attract aphids, mealybugs, scales, and whiteflies but are generally disease-free.

Coffea plant Propagation

  • Start new Coffea plants from stem cuttings or from seed; new plants will not flower or fruit for about four years.

Coffea varieties to grow

  • Coffea arabica grows well indoors; this is the same plant that produces high-quality coffee beans.
  • C.a. ‘Nana’ fowers and fruits earlier.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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