Our family home when I was growing up was a greenhouse that my father had redesigned and converted into a residence. Of course what else do you do in a greenhouse? You grow a whole lot of plants. Fortunately for the plants, with the exception of me, the family all had green thumbs. The fact of the matter was that my attempts to even help tend to the house plants seemed to end in their demise. I believe that I even heard my mother once referred to me to her friends as ‘the Jeffery Dahmer of the plant world’ as she gave them a tour of the house.
Even with this sordid reputation and lack of gardening skills, the one plant that I have always wanted to grow and nurture in my home now would be a nice, floral and decorative coffee plant. They are beautiful ornamental plants and have small, fragrant flowers. The bonus of course is that you’ll have your own beans available if you are patient and tend your plant carefully.
How to Start Growing Your Coffee Plant
There are different ways to start growing your coffee. It is possible to germinate coffee plants from fresh, raw green coffee beans, but this is a very lengthy process that involves a fair amount of horticultural prowess. If you are interested in taking this path, there is a wealth of information online to help guide you. You can also root and grow plants from stem cuttings, but that requires having access to mature plants to take cuttings from. By far the easiest method for starting your coffee is by purchasing a plant either from a nursery or from a number of online sites. There are a wide variety of origins and sizes available to order, ranging from $8 to $20 per plant.
Caring For Your Coffee Plant
Which ever way you have chosen to start your coffee plant, caring for it should be fairly simple. You will want to make sure that it is planted in a quality potting soil in a pot with a good drainage system. Since coffee plants grow rapidly, every spring you will want to repot your plant in the next size larger pot.
Find a location in the house that does not drop below 65 degrees Fahrenheit near a shaded window that does not get more than an hour of direct sunlight per day. Coffee plants also do very well under artificial indoor plant lights as well.
Your plant should be watered twice a week and fertilized every two weeks using a soluble, all purpose 10-10-10 fertilizer. When winter starts, reduce watering to once a week for 2 to 3 months. Then in the spring, when you increase the watering again, your plant should be shocked into producing flowers. Also, since humidity is crucial for coffee plants, it will be necessary to mist it several times a week. If the leaves start browning at the tips, it means that it needs to be misted more frequently.
Harvesting Coffee Beans
This is the part that requires patience. It could take a full sized, homegrown coffee plant 3 to 4 years to produce cherries, sometimes as much as 6 years. When it is ready, small green fruit will appear about 6 to 7 weeks after the plant has flowered. After approximately 30 weeks the green fruit will turn to a rich, dark red and is ready for picking. Remember not to pick the cherries too soon, because they will not ripen any further once they are picked.
In The Mean Time
Growing your own coffee plant may be very gratifying, especially when you taste your first sip of coffee roasted from your own beans, but while you are waiting for your precious beans to arrive, it may be a good idea to purchase one of the many varieties of coffee blends that we sell here at Whole Latte Love.
Are you growing a coffee plant at home now? Do you have any advice to share about growing your plant?
Have you ever tried coffee that has been harvested from a homegrown plant?