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How to Care for Coffee Plants

cup of coffee beans image by Peter Baxter from

Coffee plants (Coffea sp.) are native to certain areas in Africa and grown in higher-altitude regions and tropical or subtropical regions throughout the world. The coffee plant grows into a medium-sized tree that can reach up to 50 feet tall or be kept at 6 feet in height with pruning. Coffee plants produce drupe fruits called cherries that each contain two seeds, which are roasted and sold or traded around the world as coffee beans. Many people grow coffee plants in their homes, usually kept as houseplants in most regions due to the plants’ cold tenderness.

Position you coffee plant in bright, indirect sunlight, such as in a south-facing window. Don’t expose the plant to direct sunlight, because the leaves may scorch.

Maintain steady air temperatures around your coffee plant of 59 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid exposing your coffee plant to temperatures hotter than 77 degrees or colder than 41 degrees.

Water your coffee plant once or twice each week when the potting soil surface begins to feel dry to the touch. Provide water until the water drains freely from the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.

Feed your coffee plant a 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer in March and again in September, according to the dosage instructions on the label. You can also use an organic fish or seaweed fertilizer instead.

Re-pot your coffee plant into a 6-inch-diameter planter pot that has drainage holes in the bottom when the plant is about 6 months old. Pot the coffee plant in an acidic soil that’s porous, free-draining and fairly sandy.


Induce flowering of your coffee plant by reducing the watering frequency for two to three months during winter, watering the plant only once every two to three weeks. In early spring, water the plant thoroughly to encourage it to produce flowers.


Watch out for mealybugs infesting your coffee plant, which can be treated by applying rubbing alcohol or soapy water to the foliage. You can also treat the coffee plant with an approved insecticide like pyrethrum, following the instructions on the label exactly.

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