The coffee plant, native to Ethiopia, is generally cultivated in tropical zones. What you probably don’t know is that you can also grow it in your home by following a few simple rules. Here they are.
The Coffea Arabica and Coffea Robusta varieties are shrubs that in the tropical belt can grow up to 8 metres high. Nevertheless, you can also grow them in a vase in your home where they will reach a maximum height of 2 metres, with a slender stem and curved, decorative foliage. This evergreen plant is easy to grow but, unfortunately, in your home, it will probably not produce those beautiful white flowers resembling Orange Blossoms that form when grown outdoors.
Here are 7 things you will need to cultivate coffee in your home:
- A coffee seed or, even better, a coffee seedling
- A large vase
- Universal fertiliser
- Rich soil with acidic pH
- Expanded clay
- Pesticide spray
Spring is the season in which it will be easier to find coffee seedlings in nurseries. If you decide to “adopt” one, use a vase with a diameter and depth of at least 40cm to make sure the roots have adequate room to grow. It is essential to use fresh soil, rich in organic matter, never dry, and it is also important to prevent rotting causing decay of the plant. Create a thick layer at the bottom for drainage. You can place potsherds upside down on top of the drainage holes at the bottom of the vase. Then add a thick layer of expanded clay and finally the soil.
The best location
Coffea Arabica or Robusta shrubs require a well-lit environment with medium-high temperatures ranging between 18 and 21°C (64-70°F), away from direct sunlight, central heating and draughts. The ideal position is near a window facing south or west, screened with a light curtain in summer. Make sure it is not too close to the radiator and move it to a sheltered place when you open the window, to protect it from rapid changes in temperature. Another very important rule to follow is to avoid growing coffee in a particularly humid room with little ventilation. The hot, stagnant air would encourage the development of pests that are difficult to eradicate. In summer, when temperatures don’t fall below 18°C (64°F), you can move your plant outdoors, in a location sheltered from draughts and direct sunlight.
Between March and November, remember to water your plant twice a week with rainwater or purified water, using a fertiliser rich in potassium every fifteen days. During the colder months, the plant will require a more sporadic watering schedule. If you decide to use a saucer, always remember to remove the water after a few minutes to prevent root rot.