Growing up I lived in town. We had a small back yard with hardly any space for plants. So most plants were in our living room, and unfortunately did not inherit a green thumb. All my attempts to grow plants usually ends badly; even plastic plants die.
So I don’t have a lot of gardening skills and no expectations of becoming a succesful garderen ever, but the one plant I have wanted to try to grow is a decorative coffee plant. Coffee plants are beautiful ornamental plants with small, fragrant flowers. Or so I hear. The bonus of course, is you will be able to grow and harvest your own coffee beans if you are patient and take good care of your plant. So I did some research.
There is more than one way to get your coffee plant started. It can be germinated from raw green coffee beans, but this takes a lot of time and a good deal of growing know-how. You can also use stem cuttings to root and grow coffee plants. This requires access to mature plants to get your cuttings. The easiest method to start your coffee is by purchasing a plant from a local nursery or from one of the many sites online that sells them. There are a wide variety of types and sizes available. The price ranges from $10-$20 per plant.
You will need to make sure that it is planted in a pot with good drainage using a quality potting soil. Coffee plants grow very quick, so every spring you will want to put your plant in the next bigger sized pot.
You will need to put your plant in an area of the house that does not drop below 65 degrees Fahrenheit and near a shaded window not getting more than an hour each day or direct sunlight. Coffee plants do well under artificial indoor plant lights, also.
Water your plant twice each week and fertilize every 2 weeks using an all purpose 10-10-10 fertilizer. During the winter, reduce the watering to once a week. In the spring when the watering is again increased, the plant will be shocked into producing flowers. Humidity is vital to coffee plants so it will be necessary to mist the plant several times each week. If the leaves begin to brown at the tips, it is an indication that it needs misted more often.
Growing coffee plants requires patience. It can take a homegrown, full size coffee plant 3 to 4 years to produce cherries. When ready, small green fruit will appear six to seven weeks after the plant has flowered. In approximately 30 weeks the green fruit turns a rich, dark red color and is ready to be picked. Do not pick the cherries too soon, because once picked they do not ripen any further.
If you are looking for a new and unusual plant to try your green thumb with, a coffee plant may be a good choice. With some tender loving care and patience you will be sipping the fruits of your labor in no time – okay, maybe three years doesn’t count as no time, but it just makes that first cup of home grown coffee even more special.