Part II: All You Need to Know About Growing Coffee Trees in Your Home

The coffee tree is an evergreen . It does not shed its leaves . They are on the tree year round. That makes them good for indoor beautification. You can get them to grow into a tree that is 5-8 feet tall or you can train them to be a bush 3-4 feet tall. They are pretty flexible.

Where to find coffee tree seedlings:

I have found them most consistently in places like Safeway, Longs, Rite Aid and Whole Foods flower Departments. These places carry mostly impulse items when it comes to plants. I think they all have the same supplier, or it seems that way. Your local florist may have them too and if they don’t carry them in stock, they will order a pot or two for you.

What to look for:

Seedlings in the stores are no more then 3-4 inches tall and are about 3 months old . They were grown from seed. Usually, they will come in a 2-4 inch pot, and there will be four to six little starts bunched together in the center to make it look substantial. Price is usually between $4.95 – $8.95.

What to do when you get the pot of seedlings home;

You have purchased one pot but you have acquired six trees. You don’t want them to grow up together so you need to separate them and repot each seedling in a 4 inch diameter pot. Here’s how you do it: Submerge the pot of seedlings in a bowl of warm water that is on the cool side of warm. Leave overnight . This does two things. It allows the seedlings to load up on water and it softens the potting soil . Get your potting soil and 4 inch pots together for your replanting . Now remove the loose ball of soil with the seedlings from their pot and lay on some newspaper . Slowly and softly pull the seedlings apart. Don’t be afraid of killing the trees ,they are very hardy and strong. Now repot each individual seedling in its own 4 inch pot. Six trees for the price of one !

Lets talk soil and repotting;

For the four inch pot and your initial repotting, you should use an organic potting soil. It is rich enough in nutrients to feed the plant until it is eight inches tall. You won’t need to add fertilizer to get the trees to 8 inches. Now things begin to change because at eight inches tall, the tree has spread out it’s root system throughout the small pot and unless you repot to a larger vessel, the tree will not grow much more. So, move the tree into a  12 -18 inch pot . This “home” is large enough to add soil amendments. At this stage of the plants growing history it needs lots of Nitrogen so keep that in mind . We are helping the tree grow trunk, branches and leaves. That requires lots of nitrogen. This pot stage should take your tree up to the 24-36 inch size. (this should take 12 to 18 months) .

When the tree gets to the 24-36 inch size it is time for it’s final repotting into a half wine barrel or the equivalent. Now your tree is ready to kick into high gear because it senses that it can grow a root system that can support full production. Within one year from this last repotting your tree will have grown to four feet and it will begin to create beautiful white flowers that will fill your home with the scent of Jasmine and orange blossoms.Nitrogen is no longer needed in growth level amounts . Now it is the flower and fruit supporting supplements that are needed. Rose food is my favorite coffee food but try to stay as organic as you can. It effects the flavor of the coffee you will be getting and you don’t need to support companies that manufacture oil based chemical fertilizers.

Flowering Phase: It lasts about a month. The sweet aroma will blow you away, but that will come to an end just about the time you are tired of coming home to paradisiacal aromatics. Coffee is self pollinating so do not worry about pollination. The flowers form at the nodes on each branch, just behind the leaves. Each flower will become a fruit (coffee cherry). The flowers will turn brown and fall off the branch. Not to worry. Left behind is the carpel, a small round ball that over the next six months will grow into a fruit with one or two seeds. The seeds are known as “coffee beans”

Jungle Jasmine : Coffee Flowers

Jungle Jasmine : Coffee Flowers

The Fruiting Phase:

This phase lasts about six months. Coffee cherries ripen slowly. For the first 5 months they will be green and rock hard. Then they will begin to lighten and turn pink and then cherry red, then dark red to purple. Dark red is when you pick the cherries.

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Watering; Coffee trees like water and need enough to feed the leaves and support the fruit. But they don’t like to sit in water so water from the top, like rain waters forests. Water until the water comes out the bottom of the Pot. Use warm water. That is what the tree would get in the tropics. Why shock the tree as if it was jumping into an ice cold lake? Warm water feels good to the tree just as it does to our face when we wash. And if you live where the air is cold at night , you can bet the soil is cold too. So warm up the soil and you have better growing conditions, conditions that the tree will recognize and be thankful for.

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Where to place tour growing and mature tree;

Coffee is a shade loving tree that grows under the canopy of the forest . It needs little direct sunlight . Direct sunlight after noon time will fry the leaves and kill the tree. Yo need to position your tree so it gets morning direct sun. This is perfect light . East facing windows do the trick. As the sun goes to the west , the light coming into your home from an easterly window is soft , yet still bright enough to provide the equivalent of shaded sun. If you bring your tree outside, remember, a 10 minute frost will kill it and so will 3 hours of direct afternoon sunlight between May and November.

Cherry Picking and Roasting:

When the cherries are ripe, and they will all ripen over a 2 month ripening period, you have to take them from the tree. With a simple twist and pull they will come off easily.

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Pick once a week , only the true red all over ripe cherries. Squeeze the seeds out of the cherries and drop them into a bowl of water for 24 hours. This softens the remaining pulp stuck to the beans and makes it easy to remove after the beans are dried. Place the beans onto some newspaper ( it is important that the stories on the page are positive and uplifting) and allow them to dry slowly. Sun drying is good but watch out you do not bake them. They should take about a week to dry to a stable condition. Repeat the process until all your cherries are picked and put to dry. Don’t forget to taste the pulp !103_03041

Roasting is the next step in this cycle. That is for another time and another blog entry.

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Comments (103)

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    Janis Shah

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    This is great. I have two trees that I got from a local nursery in one 5 gal pot for $20 and separated them several years ago. They flowered but never fruited until this year. I was so excited to see the first cherry turn red about two weeks ago and now the others are turning also. I’ve seen coffee growing in Jamaica and am going to Hawaii soon, where I want to visit a coffee plantation and gather as much info as I can. I live in Southern California, in the San Fernando Valley and keep the trees outside on the east side of the house except in winter when I bring them indoors. They are about 5 ft. high. Thanks for your blog!

    Reply

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      Sophie

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      How many times do you need to water the plant.

      Reply

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        Paul Katzeff

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        You want to water your tree by flooding it at most, once a week. But this is a general answer and actually not really an answer at all. Watering depends on;
        1. Size of tree and size of the container it lives in.
        2. The relative humidity of your house.
        3. The age of the plant and the cycle of its seasons.
        So just watch the tree and it will tell you when it is thirsty.
        When the leaves are limp like limp lettuce it is time to water. If the leaves take longer then three hours to return to rigid and strong, then your trees roots are lacking space and are “root bound” and you need to change to a larger root environment. (A bigger pot).

        Reply

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      Paul Katzeff

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      When you visit , if you are there during the harvest, pick some ripe cherries and take the seeds out of them and bring them home and now you have potential for more . I will tell you how to make them sprout. Let me know when you have secured the seeds.

      Reply

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    Paul Katzeff

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    Janis,
    Great going!
    If you get 500 cherries, you will have enough to process. I can tell you how .
    Let me know and you can actually serve the coffee you grew.
    Paul

    Reply

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      Danielle

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      Would love to know how to roast my coffee cherries!
      Have two civitcats
      so i can try the diffrance

      Reply

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    Molly

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    Thank you so much for this information! I’ve had a coffee plant that I “rescued” from Walmart for almost 5 years now. It’s about three feet tall, but it’s only ever had one lonely white bloom. I think it’s actually three plants in one, and I might either try to separate them or sacrifice the two smaller ones, because the trunks are quite slim. It’s always been very hardy in a shady corner of my generally 75 degree F home. I live in a humid climate near the North Carolina coast, only tempered by my HVAC system. I really hope that the tips you’ve mentioned here will help me see blooms and maybe even beans in the future – although what I’m really concerned with is a happy healthy plant! I’ve had it for so long I really don’t want to lose it. I was doing research today with the goal of transplanting it one last time into a larger and final pot! The one now is probably 16″ across and 16″ tall although I might be underestimating. I think I’ll go shop for a set of wheels and a half wine barrel right now! 🙂 ((I still want to keep it in the house!!)) Thank you!!

    Reply

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    Maui Sunny

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    Can one successfully transplant mature coffee trees? We dug up 4 of ours; they did not have a lot of little roots, just major roots – which we were carefull to dig up intact. We poured B1 over the exposed roots while in their new hole and added potting soil mixed with commercial compost. The leaves have all turned yellow and are dropping off. Do you think it is just shock or have we put them into a slow dying process? Your input appreciated.

    Reply

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      Paul Katzeff

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      You dug them up ? Coffee is an inside plant in the Northern Hemisphere.
      They are evergteens so the leaves will not come back. So Prune the tree back to one foot of maun trunk.
      If it is alivr at the cut, then water heavy and wait for new branches.
      If in one month there is no new starting limbs, toss the tree and start over.
      Sorry for the long delay in my reply.
      Paul

      Reply

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    Marlene

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    A neighbor was moving and gave me a plant in a large pot. I’ve learned it’s a coffee tree. All the leaves were brown on the ends and the poor thing looked sparse and like it needed help. I placed it in a sunny easterly window and keep it moist and have since seen new green growth. I’d like to revitalize the plant and will go get some organic rose food. Ironically, when growing up, my family had rose bushes in the yard and we found that used coffee grounds were a great rose food! The two plants must have an affinity for each other. Thanks for your tips!

    Reply

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      Paul Katzeff

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      Morning Sun only!
      It was kept in the sun thus the browning leaves. It did not get enough water. Coffee loves shade so keep that in mind.
      Paul

      Reply

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    steven tan

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    i want to grow coffee in my plantation…i need your advice…at the moment my plantation i got grow oil plam the three is 4yrs old i was thinking to plant the coffe three in between of the oil plam …what is your advice…

    Reply

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    Chris

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    Thanks for this information! Tried my best to sprout some green beans I had purchased, no luck. I’ve never seen any coffee plants locally, but can’t honestly say I was looking either. I’m on a mission now!

    Reply

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    Susan Downey

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    I have a coffee tree that is about 10 years old & it’s as tall as the ceiling, but thin & leggy. Is it ok to cut it back to about 4 feet & will it bush out from cutting it back? This is the most informative site I’ve found! Wish I had this site along time ago!! Thanks for being there:)

    Reply

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      Paul Katzeff

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      Cut it back . give it some organic fertilizer or worm castings tea.
      Or cut it back to about 2 feet leaving three branches for new trunks and start over. I know this is hard to do, but it is a tree that will love you for the new beginning.
      Paul

      Reply

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    Ken

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    Thanks for all the great info. I have 7 Little trees range from 8″ to 3″. They are really good looking with there foliage being such a dark green. I live in New England so I use lighting for now, but cannot wait to make one a center piece in the living room.

    Reply

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    Kay Cherry

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    Dear Friends,
    I live in Portsmouth, VA. I placed a beautiful coffee tree, about 3 1/2 ft. tall, with an elementary school to over-winter and be a teaching tool for a great school teacher. She just sent me an email. She had taken the tree home for the Christmas/extended holiday and just took it back to school on Friday, March 14. The tree was green, lush and forming new red cherries. When she returned to school on Monday, March 17, leaves were discoloring and falling. What can she/we do to quickly salvage this? This wonderful teacher and the children are distressed. Thank you so much.
    P.S. My two remaining coffee trees, same age, size, have a few yellowing leaves as well in my garage – new for these plants.
    Kay Cherry
    jklcherry@aol.com

    Reply

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    katherine stewart

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    I live by the Coast in Southern Calif. I just bought a small coffee tree. It is great to find out they prefer shade. We rarely get frost, but get a little bit in some years. Will a little bit of frost kill them? Also, which months do they typically flower and fruit? KES

    Reply

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      Paul Katzeff

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      A wee bit of grost will kill the tree. Morning sun is good but not after noon .
      Send me a picture and I will run down whay you need to do to harvest coffee.
      Paul

      Reply

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        Emmanuel Gonzalez

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        I have a baby coffee plant like 8 month old. The new leaf turn like a very light green. Where I can send you a picture?

        Reply

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      Paul Katzeff

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      A wee bit of grost will kill the tree. Morning sun is good but not after noon .
      Send me a picture and I will run down whay you need to do to harvest coffee.
      Paul

      Reply

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    Kyndra

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    Hi
    I have a plant at work that was giving to me to take care of. I have no idea what kind of plant it is but after doing so research it looks a lot like a coffee tree, but this one has never flowered or produced fruit. I will attach a website that I have picture on of the plant. Is there any way you would take a look and see if this is a coffee tree? I am not sure how to take care of this plant and would like it to live! but it has to be propped up on a wall to stand. need help thanks
    http://www.finegardening.com/item/31766/please-help-identify-this-treeshrub

    Reply

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    Margaret Thomas

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    I seem to have missed the part where you said how often to water – also do they like to be misted?

    Reply

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    Jauneen

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    Hi. I just got my new coffee arabica plant in April. It was shipped to me and kind of bouncing around in the tiny 4″ pot it arrived in. I potted it in a small pint clay pot and kept it in a closet with a dim sky light for the first week I had it to try and prevent shock. It is now in my bathroom for humidity reasons. My bathroom has both a sky light and a north western facing window. I live in mountains of western colorado where it is quite dry. Since moving my coffee plant to the bathroom it has gotten brown spots on the leaves but seems to be thirsty regularly. Is this just shipping shock and will it recover? Also how soon should I expect new growth. My coffee can’t be more than 9″ or 10″ right now.

    Reply

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    Regina

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    I purchased my plant at the grocery store, and knowing nothing about it, I have allowed the multiple stocks to grow together in the same pot. There are three and they are about 24 inches in length. Is it too late to pull them apart and pot separately? I’m afraid that I will tear too much of their root system apart and end up killing them all. Any advice would be wonderful. Thank you.

    Reply

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      Yvonne

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      You can easily separate the plants by soaking the root ball in water. This will soften the soil and allow the plants to take in extra moisture. Once thoroughly soaked, lay the plants and root ball on a flat surface and tease the roots apart with your fingers. Shouldn’t be that difficult to separate them. Replant immediately making sure to leave no air pockets around the roots of your newly replanted coffee plants. Use a bamboo stack to steady the plant while it takes root in it’s new container. I purchased mine from a local store. There were 8 grouped together in one tiny pot. I followed the steps given here to you and all 8 plants survived the change and now, almost two years later, they have produced fruit. Needless to say we plan on using all of the current fruit as seed for future plants. We live in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. They have survived frosts with simple coverings. Their first location was an area where they received four hours of direct sunlight and the rest was shade and dappled shade. We have moved them around while in buckets to see what area would suit them best. We have found they are thriving even more with a bit less full sun and more dappled shade. They will be transplanted into the ground next year when we have the area ready for their permanent planting. We’ve never seen more of these plants at the store where they were found. Not sure as to the actual variety of this coffee plant. Just happy to see how lush they are and that they are fruiting. Can’t wait for that moment when we have enough to sit back with a cup of truly home brewed coffee. Such a treat to have them thrive here.

      Reply

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    Yvonne

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    *stake not stack

    Reply

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    Grow Lights Coupons

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    Excellent site you have here.. It’s difficult to find
    quality writing like yours these days. I truly appreciate people like you!

    Take care!!

    Reply

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    Michael Link

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    How much nitrogen will I need to add to the coffee plant?

    Reply

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    Hans Laetz

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    What a great site! Thank you in advance.

    I live on the coast of S. California, 58 feet elevation. Never gets below 40. I am planting a few avocados on a north-facing dirt slope.

    I could plant coffee plants facing the morning sun.

    What variety do you recommend?

    Reply

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    Evelyn

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    I want to plant some coffee trees in a dog park, is there anything toxic about them to hurt the dogs?

    Reply

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    Melinda lucka

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    We live in coastal SC…hot summers (90′ and over 100 sometimes), and winters with with some 20’s/30 nights and mornings. Should I plant coffee plants in pots or could we plant in the ground, covering them on cold nights and not letting them get afternoon sun in hot months? Thanks!

    Reply

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    Christy

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    Wow! I wish I had read this sooner! Promptly after read through your post and the comments I soaked my trees in warm water. They had been growing together in a in wide pot for 3 years. If only I did this sooner, they would be huge by now. I separated them into bigger pots, but need to buy more pots and soil for them. They have always looked beautiful and healthy, but were definitely root bound. I got worms a month ago and will add some compost when I have enough to harvest. Looking forward to them growing larger over the summer.

    Reply

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    Deborah

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    I work in a coffee shop and have been given the responsibility of taking care of a coffee tree, it is at least 6-7 years old, I have repotted it a few times, and this year it flowered and got many coffee cherries on it, it got brown around many of the leaves edges and got bare in the middle, I cut it way back and the growth at the bottom is green and healthy. I hope I did the right thing, what caused the brown edges? Not enough water? I water it once a week, it is in a north facing window.

    Reply

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    Tom

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    I grew a plant from a seedling in 2000 it is about 7 feet tall this year there are about 70 berries. I know they do no like Gas heat and they have to be brought in in the winter. Currently, it is root bound and I will have to put it in a big pot I just wonder how tall it will grow . I have made a small amount of coffee from it . it was smooth

    Reply

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      Eugene

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      My C is 7′ tall. Summer outside, winter in.
      Now is sick: leaves are getting brown spots progressing to almost brown and drop down!
      What can I do, please
      TY in advance

      Reply

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    joe

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    I have a 3 1/2 foot coffee tree from Kona, it is 5 yrs old and I grew it from a seedling. For years I have followed web info and have kept it in indirect sunlight and have watered it properly. I have never had a bloom but I do get new growth and height – every now and then I lose a leaf, and the tips of a bunch are brown. Is the brown due to too much sunlight or not enough water ? After reading the info here, I will ensure that I use warmer water and repot to something bigger. My plant is in a container half the size of what you mention here. I am hoping to get the bloom and the coffee cherries. Any other suggestions ?

    Reply

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    Daniel

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    Am so pleased with the page, i live in Uganda and really so much interested in putting up a coffee plantation but can i get the whole growing guide, may b probably in my e mail, thanks in advance, luv all.

    Reply

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      Paul Katzeff

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      I think you should go to the Uganda Coffee Board in Kampala for growing coffee as a business. My experience in coffee cultivation is for people who want to grow a single tree for fun and beautification of their home.

      Reply

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    Ashley

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    I have had my coffee trees for almost five years, and until now I didn’t realize that it was actually 5 different trees. I’m wondering if I should still separate them now that they’ve been growing within an inch of each other for so long. Their roots are probably all entagnled. They seem to be doing really well but I’m worried about when they get bigger. I know this article is really old so I don’t expect a reply but would appreciate it! Thanks

    Reply

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    Paul Katzeff

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    Ashley,
    You have probably bought your trees in a Supermarket Flower shop when they were just 6 inches tall and about 3 months old. They put a bunch of seeds together to germinate so that when they are ready to sell in a store for $9.99 they look somewhat substantial at 6 inches . One would look pretty sparce and would look like a rip off.
    So I suspect they will never get bigger unless you do something radical. At five years they should be 5 feet tall and producing flowers and cherries. But they are probably about a foot all or maybe a bit larger and depending on the pot they are in, root bound. The plant knows not to grow past its capacity to feed itself.
    Here is my suggestion. Do not separate the trees. You are right , the chances of killing them all are high. Although this is going to be hard to do if you want a great tree by end of 2016, do the following\:
    1. find the strongest tree in the bunch. The one with the biggest “trunk” and the strongest set of leaves.
    2. Snip with a pruning shears the other four at the soil line so they dont resprout. (sorry to have to tell you to kill your babies that you spent 5 years nurturiing)
    3. Water heavily the remaining tree. If it is in a small pot, submerge the entire pot in a bathtub or a big bucket. Bubbles will come out of the soil . When they stop, let the
    plant sit for a few hours to drain. Then remove it from the pot it is in. If clay , smash the pot so you dont damage the root system, if plastic, cut it away.
    4. Repot in a 24 ” wide clay or Black plastic pot. Put an inch of pebbles on the bottom before you put in the potting soil.
    5 . Wait two days and then water heavily and then watch the leaves. They will tell you when they need water again.
    6 . The tree will need to be fertilized because it is now in a good growing environment and will start to respond in about another 60 days, so dont disappoint it.
    Let me know how it all works out. .
    Good farming ,
    Paul Katzeff

    Reply

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    Nicollette

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    Hi. I was recenty given a 24-36″ arabica coffee plant as a gift. It is in a 1 gal black plastic pot and looks like it’ll need transplanting right away. The only concern is that it is cock full of berries in their green stage and I’m afraid that if I disturb it during the cherry ripening phase, all of the fruit will drop. Would it be best to let the plant go through the fruiting cycle and then transplant it, or transplant right away and give it a shot at a healthier crop in the future? Thanks!

    Reply

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      paul Katzeff

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      Nicollette,
      You need these materials:
      10 gallon clay pot or black plastic pot. A half barrel wine cask would be best so you dont have to replant again when it will be a bit more difficult.
      Organic Potting soil (2 sacks probably) enough to fill the new pot.

      Amazing to get a coffee tree with many berries in a one gallon pot. If you dont get the plant repotted now you risk the plant dropping all of the cherries anyway. They probably will dry up as the real development to ripe red will take place over the next 4 months and that is a heavy feeding time for the tree. With limited rood structure they will probably not mature and you will get red berries but empty seeds that will not produce roasted coffee (they will be just shells).
      So this is my plan for you;
      1. Fill your tub with warm water, not hot, not cold, but just before it feels warm, like a summer rain in Miami.
      2. Put the gallon container with the tree in the water so the water is about 4 inches above the soil. Let the tree soak for about 3 hours in the bath.
      3. Empty the tub of water and let the gallon container drain.
      4. Prepare your new pot. You dont need to do this but it is nice to have a bed of river rocks about an inch in diameter in the bottom of the pot. It helps drainage and the roots like something to hold onto.
      5. Take hold of your tree by the crown of the trunk and pull it our of the pot it is currently in. It should separate easily. If it doesn’t . Slice the sides of the pot with a knife and break it apart. Pull straight upward and bring it to your new and prepared pot. You should have at least 8 inches of soil in the pot when you place the tree in it. Then fill around the tree with your new soil. Pat down the soil to compress it slightly so the tree has support. Fill the pot to 1 inch from its top. The tree needs soil only up to its crown. No higher.
      6. Dont water it for a week. Then water by flooding the pot with 3 gallons of warm water so the entire pot is full to the rim. Let it drain into your floor catchment.
      7. Now water only when the leaves tell you to by looking slightly limp and by feeling soft. You will see it easily.
      Do this immediately or the risk is yours. This time the risk is mine.

      Reply

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    Sam

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    I have a 3 year old plant that flowered this summer. It’s now December and the cherries are still green. Is it normal for the cherries to take this long to ripen. I had read they would begin to change in 5 months. I’m pushing 6 months now. Any comments or suggestions.

    Thanks, Sam

    Reply

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      pau Katzeff

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      Sam,
      1. Not enough Water may be one reason . The fruit needs water. Soak the soil with a couple of gallons of water and let it drain . Do that every 10 days for a month.
      2. A bit more light might be needed too. Light = energy .
      3. Six months is ok, dont worry yet. Are the cherries plump and about 4 x the size of roasted coffee bean or are they the size of a plump raisin ?
      Send me a picture.
      Are the leaves dark green or a yellow green ?
      And finally,
      a) how big is the pot it is in ?
      b) how tall and big is the tree?
      Finally, you might be needing to pick off all the cherries as the young tree may not have the energy to ripen the fruit. I will let you know what to do if you send a picture.

      Reply

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    Ian c

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    how far from my drainage should i plant my coffee tree

    Reply

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      paul

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      If you mean from the bottom of your planter pot, I would give your plant at least 3 inches of crushed rock on bottom and the crown of the tree about 12-15 inches from the rock.

      Reply

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    Andy K

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    Hi, I purchased two one year old kona plants about a year ago. Both are growing at about the same rate, but for at least six months, one of the two has hundreds of small dark growths on the trunk and the base of the leaves. They seem to be removable with tweezers, and don’t seem to be damaging the plant. As new leaves emerge at the top, the growths lag behind by a month or so. Any idea what might be going on? Should I separate the two to keep it from spreading? They’re not potted together, but sit next to each other. Thanks.

    Reply

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      Paul Katzeff

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      Andy,
      Sounds like scale. But I’ll need photo to be sure. Send me a photo, and I certainly would separate for now as scale spreads. Scale sucks the sap from tender new growth then settles in on the older leaves and bark. They are usually the size of a pin head and are alive although you need a magnifying glass to see that. I cant recommend anything until I see the picture. But if you can pick them off, spend an hour a day and do so. Any ants?
      -Paul

      Reply

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    Lauren

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    A few years ago I bought one of those tiny supermarket coffee plants. Now it is a couple of feet tall. Due to some dryness this past summer the ends of the leaves are brown but the new leaves are all green. So maybe I should prune it? This is a nice site! The only window it can go in is on the west side and in the summer it goes outside under an American Elm tree.

    Reply

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    Carole

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    Hi,

    Not knowing anything about coffee trees when the bottom branches all were going brown we cut up the top two feet and put it in water. The tree root ball was massive.

    Paul – will the top section we put in water develop roots?

    It would nice to try again this time paying attention to its needs.

    Carole

    Reply

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    Daniel

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    Hi Paul,
    I’m in Perth, Western Australia and I have a mature coffee tree in a pot that I want to put in the ground. The plant is about 1.5 metres high, and full of new growth, although a lot of the leaves are browning at the tips. I suspect this is from too much hot afternoon sun.
    I have the perfect spot to plant it, morning sun, afternoon shade, protected from wind by a large brick wall.
    I’m just wondering, how should I prepare the soil where I’m planting in the ground, and what is the best way to transplant from pot to ground.
    Many thanks!
    Daniel

    Reply

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      Paul Katzeff

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      If you got your tree to grow shoulder height I would have to assume your planter pot is at least 18″ in Diameter. If smaller, then your tree is probably root bound and will require some help once it is out of the planter . Root bound plants have a hard time feeding themselves and getting water to their older leaves.
      Step #1
      Take the planter out to the “perfect spot” . It is not perfect if you get frost for more then 10 minutes a year unless you can protect it from frost with a cover of some sort when the frost is coming.
      Step #2
      Soak the roots with 5 gallons of warm water . Drench them and let the tree soak up all it can. If the pot is small and you can put it in a bathtub for 3 hours covered to the crown with water, do that. You get the idea. The tree is going to need that water in its system until it can establish itself in its new home.
      Step #3
      Dig your hole about 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet deep . fill the first 2 ” with gravel for drainage. (Or stones ) . Fill the next 10 inches with new potting soil
      that has nutrients already in it. (Most do).
      Step # 4
      Hold the tree by its trunk where the trunk meets the soil and pull the tree from its very wet and loose soil. Place it on the ground with its root ball and hopefully it has most of its roots within a large ball of soil after it is removed.
      Step #5
      Place the mass in the hole on top of the 12 inches of stone and potting soil and spread the roots out as best you can in a radial configuration. Do this while holding the tree upright . Make sure the crown is level with the ground.
      Step # 5
      Fill the hole , pat down the soil and dont water for three days.
      That should make your tree a happy camper and it will slowly adjust to its new home. Dont expect it to grow faster for a couple of months. Moving is not easy for humans or plants.
      If you feel like sharing your moving experience with others , take a photo of each step and send them to me and I will post them on this site so others can benefit from your experience. At minimum, send a photo of your tree before and after planting and good luck.

      Reply

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        Daniel

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        Thanks for your response Paul. How would I send photos to you? I have searched for an email address on your site, to no avail.

        On another topic, I’ve got a whole bunch of seedlings (about 80) that I’ve just separated into their own pots. Each seedling is now in a pot about 15cm in diameter (7.5 inches). You mention at about 8 inches the plants will need nitrogen, how much nitrogen would you recommend? I have fish emulsion which is about 10% nitrogen, is that sufficient, and if so, how often?
        Thanks again.

        Reply

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          Paul Katzeff

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          You can send photos to pk@thanksgivingcoffee. com
          If you used new potting soil you should be ok until the plants are about a foot tall and the leaves are getting less green and instead of dark dense geen they are more Avocado green. That is when you begin to fertilize.
          Follow directions on your container. Dilute and deep water your trees first so the roots are wet and taking in water, then Fertilize. At a foot tall your trees should be in a 12 inch pot at minimum. The bigger the pot the faster and stronger they will grow. You dont want to be transplanting a 3 foot tree. So bigger pots are best even if the tree seems too small for its size 12 shoe. It will grow into it faster.

          Reply

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    Kent

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    We have two lush, 4 -5 ft tall Arabica plants. They continue to grow, but have never flowered. What am I doing wrong?
    Thanks in advance for your advice.

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      paul katzeff

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      It took me 17 years before I could get a tree to flower. I tried many new ideas because you know your tree is not happy if it cant have sex. Sex is complicated when it is not happening, more so then when it is. So what do we do when the elephant in the room is an unhappy 5 foot tree and there are no clues?
      Send me a picture (pk@thanksgivingcoffee. com) and I can begin to help your tree. It should be, for starters, in a pot that is at least 24 inches in diameter.
      I will wait for a picture before I help you further, but you will have a happy tree soon.
      Paul

      Reply

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    Heather

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    Hello, I have two small coffee plants, one about 10″, the other 6″. I recently repotted them so they are separate. Instead of growing up, the stem/trunk is a 30 degree angle instead of growing straight up. Is this normal? They were doing this a bit before I repotted, but are worse now. Should I put a stake in until the root structure is strong enough to hold them up? Thank you for your help.

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      Paul Katzeff

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      Seems like you just did not pay good attention to vertical when you replanted your trees. This is not normal. The tress did what you set them up to do. I assume you are saying that the trees are 30 degrees off straight up (90 degrees), not 30degrees from the horizontal ground. You can repot them and do it with a better eye to what the trunk should be doing or let them grow as is. They will bend toward the sky on their own. Even if you planted them flat along the ground the tree would, if growing light and moisture were present, grow vertical from its growing tip. Trees seek to be perpendicular to the ground and they adjust to orient themselves so they get the most light (but not too much light).

      Reply

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    Ruth Shannon

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    There is a tiny speck of a hard crust that is preventing all my coffee leaves from unfurling normally. The plants are beautiful and otherwise healthy. I have tried misting them several times/day, but it hasn’t helped. They are about 14″ high. Any ideas?

    Reply

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    paul katzeff

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    Often times this happens in dry environments and usually not on older plants. You see this often on seedlings struggling to open their first two leaves. There are two ways to solve the problem (and most probably it is not a problem for the plant) and they are:
    1. Let the plant fight through this with its own power. If a plant can grow and spread a cement sidewalk as it grows, it can unbuckle its leaves on its own.
    2. Use your thumb and forefinger to separate the leaves, or a tweezer.

    Think about this as either a symptom of a too dry environment or perhaps, it is a scale (alive) and they are attacking the tenderest part of the trees new growth to get to the trees juices flowing up and down the veins of the leaf. Look to see if there are any other black pinhead sized half shells on the other parts of the tree.
    If yes, then scale is the problem and there is a way to deal with that .
    Paul

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      Ruth Shannon

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      Thank you, Paul. I had been doing what you suggested and misting . I live in the mountains in Colorado and dryness might still be the problem. Coffee is so beautiful as a houseplant! I’ve picked in Hawai’i – fond memories.
      Your site is very interesting AND helpful.
      Ruth

      Reply

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    Jen

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    Hi There,
    I was recently given a small coffee plant at work due to my nice warm office space (I keep it around 78 degrees at all times). I noticed the leaves are brown on the tips and the stems look dead (they are light brown). I do not know much about coffee plants or how to properly care for one. I do believe it needs to be repotted and by the sound of your article separated from the other two plants. They are just under 8-10″.
    What would you recommend I do to the plant to get it healthy again. I water it 2x a week and have been misting the leaves.
    Is there someplace I can send a photo for you to reference?
    I appreciate any help you can give me as I don’t want the plant to die and my thumb is not very green 😉
    Thank you!
    Jen

    Reply

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      paul Katzeff

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      Jen,
      Your coffee tree is telling you it is unhappy, but thankful to be alive and to have someone who cares enough to as for help. The tree is adjusting to an environment that is not pleasant and what you see is its adjustment for its survival. Do not work, it is showing it has reserve strength to survive the surgery needed to get it back on track.
      The problem is that it is root bound. Too much roots and not enough soil. Three trees in a small pot is a bit much. Will a fish grow to full size in a fishbowl? It better not or it will force out all the water from the tank. The tree roots need room to absorb water retained by the soil.
      The crisped out leaf ends are only found on the older leaves. The young leaves on top are fine. but bunched together, This indicates the tree is conserving energy by not extending its trunk. There are also no branches which is also a symptom of conservation of energy which is limited by water. The nutrient load seems on judging by the color of the leaves.
      Here are your action steps;
      i. Cut the two smallest trees down, you don’t need an ax here. A sharp scissors will do. Cut the trunks (stems) an inch from the soil and don’t try to save the tops, even if you feel bad about having taken care of them for so long. They will not reroot.
      ii. Find a half wine barrel or a planter that is at least 28-30 inches in diameter and line the bottom with 2 inches of rock for drainage to prevent root rot.
      iii. Put the tree in a bath and cover the rim with water so it soaks overnight. This will give it the reserve energy it will need to survive the first two weeks in its new home. In the morning, remove the plant from the old pot by pulling up on the remaining trunk. It should slide right out. Fill the new planter with organic potting soil. Spread the tangle of roots out so they lie like spokes on a wheel in the soil and cover them and pat the soil down. Don’t water for a week.

      Get back to me in six months and we will take the tree to another level so it will flower and make cherries for you to wonder what to do with them.
      Don’t rush this process. Be deliberate. Your tree is watching and feeling you.
      Paul

      Reply

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    Mulle

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    Hi There,
    I got kind of a special problem: About 8 years ago I bought 2 little arabica plants, they are meanwile over 1.8 meter. 4 years ago I got some buds but they dried out. 3 years ago I got my first coffee cherries, but only very few though there were lots of buds. The other buds dried out. 2 years ago (I was away for a few month and a colleague watered my plants) the buds on both plants grew into flowers and I had a great harvest of about 120 cherries. Last year I got quite some buds but they again dried out. Now this year I got again quite some buds and actually one developed into a flower 2 weeks ago. But the others don’t yet. I am quite afraid they will dry out again.
    I got the idea to simulate a rain season, so I put them away from the sun (where they were standing before) 3 weeks ago, put down the temperature in the office for a few degrees, water them really well and spray them from time to time. But the buds, though they are quite big, are not developing into flowers yet.
    Do you got any advice what else I could do? I want to harvest again, as my last harvest produced excellent tasting coffee and I was mighty proud of it.
    Best greetings from Dortmund/Germany

    Mulle

    Reply

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      Paul Katzeff

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      Sorry for the delay in answering. You should ask your friend what he did to get you such a good harvest.
      I believe your tree is not getting enough water . Most likely it has problems in the container it is in. It is a big plant and has as much of a root system underground as it has leaf structure above ground. Your pot should be at least 24″ deep and 27″ wide. Spread the roots out if they are tightly bound when you transplant.
      In the meantime, when your tree is preparing to flower, drown it in water just like a tropical downpour, and then watch the leaves. When they go limp it is time to water. The tree needs shade in the afternoon and sun in the morning or filtered daylight. Sun makes the plant unhappy. Give your plant some rose food for the flowering. Low Nitrogen, high Potssium and phosphorus.
      You are close. I bet you were excited to pick those 110 cherries. Next time you pick cherries, twist them off the branch leaving the nodes so they can reflower the next season. Good luck, let me know how it went. I too have been surprised at the flavor my trees produce.
      Paul

      Reply

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        Mulle

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        Hi Paul,
        saw your comment too late, unfortunately all buds dried out again 🙁 Even though I really watered it intensively and most of the time there was water standing in the bowl beneath.
        At the moment, there is one cherrie I’ll wait for to ripen, afterwards I gonna cut it and put it in a bigger pot, though it already is in a pot of the minimum size mentioned. But next time my trees flower, I will follow your advice. You’ll hear about the results 🙂
        Thanks a lot for your good work!
        Mulle

        Reply

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          Mulle

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          Hah! Believe it or not: The buds developed into flowers! And this is how it happend:
          As the last buds were pretty big I tried to simulate a rain season with watering the plant a lot, spraying it and everything. But the buds dried out, no flowers, no cherries. So I decided to cancel the special treatment and told the tree that I gonna cut it, when that lonely cherry ripened. Tell you what: It worked. Suddenly I got about 30 flowers!!!
          So, here is my secret recipe: Threaten your plant with violence, treat it with disrespect, give it only little water and it will flower!
          Maybe it’s sort of a masochist, but anyway: It flowers and I am happy!

          Reply

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            paul Katzeff

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            What you learned is that when the tree feels it’s ability to survive is threatened by verbal abuse, a person like yourself, and then you observe the tree responding to the threat, that threats and verbal abuse works.
            Well , you took from your experience the wrong lesson. The lesson you should have taken from the experience is that adding the water cycle when the tree is just beginning to show signs of buds is not the right thing to do. The coffee wants water a month or two after the flowers have set the fruit. The tree will need the extra water for the fruit, not for the flowers.
            But how nice of you to write and let me know of your happiness. Your success is felt by many.
            Paul K

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    Kim Brolet

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    Are they ok to have in a house with cats? Is the plant toxic to them?

    Reply

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      Paul Katzeff

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      Coffee is not toxic to cats. From Lions to house cats, they ignore the plants although the cats poop is somewhat toxic to the tree so tell your cat to poop somewhere else then in the planter. Manure is generally a good fertiliser but current house cat food is not good fertiliser after it is run through a cats digestive system.

      Reply

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    Scott Lannewehr

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    I live in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. Can I plant my coffee seeding outside in our climate? Also, the soil here is quite sandy so I would assume I will have to amend the soil by adding some type of organic soil. I have some large Oak trees in the yard so I think they will simulate the shade of a rain forest. Your thoughts?

    Reply

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    paul Katzeff

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    Tampa bay, as I recall, is hot and “muggy”. Heavily moist and humid. It has no frost days. This is good and bad. With climate as erratic as it is lately, frost may come unexpectedly and kill your tree. If you plant outside, be ready when that unexpected frost comes, to protect your tree by wrapping it in a blanket or enclosing it in a plastic tent with a 60 watt lamp inside the tent to keep it warm until the frost passes.
    That said, the humidity may create other issues for your growing tree. La Roya is a fungus that has effected millions of trees in Central and South America. It kills the trees by killing its leaves which fall off.
    Scale is also something to watch for. Scale is a insect that sucks the sap from leaves and new shoots and looks like a half shell and is the size of a pin head. Watch for them.
    As for the shade, make sure that your tree is exposed to morning sun and keep it from direct afternoon sun. The oak tree made it so your soil is not going to be a problem as a base for the organic supplements you add to the soil. Best is Compost and worm castings. Treat your tree as if it was a rose and follow directions accordingly.
    Mulch your tree so it does not lose its hydration in the heat of the day. Oak leaves from your tree if they fall is an excellent mulch, but your local nursery will have some great mulches such as cocoa hulls, or wood chips. I prefer a mulch that breaks down into nutrients for the soil and for worms to feed on .
    I don’t advise coffee for outdoors but in your case, (Tampa Bay), I think you have a good chance for success. Where did you get your tree from ? Let me know how it is doing in six months. And good luck.

    Reply

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    Nicole Whitworth

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    Hi, Paul. I have a coffee plant I ordered online and had shipped to me a year ago. It’s been in a 11in pot at the top that narrows down some at the bottom since the first replanting when i first got it and is currently about 13inches tall, but I don’t feel like it has grown more than maybe a inch or two in the past year. Also a couple of the leaves tips are brown on the very end. Should I be replanting it into another pot to grow larger or watering more often? Or is it normal for it to not grow much in the beginning? I usually water it about once a week.

    Reply

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    Paul

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    Often, when buying a coffee tree, it comes to you in a small 4 inch pot with 6 or 7 little seedlings bunched together to fill the space. If this is what you received, look at the pot and see if you have many small trees, not just one. You only want one per container.
    You need to transplant into a big pot, perhaps 18 inches wide. Submerge your plant in a tub of water to cover the earth completely for two hours. Remove and repot in potting soil.
    Your plant could be rootbound and if it is you will see that when you pull your tree out of its 11 inch pot. It should have grown at least 18 inches in the first year if it had been happy. When you do water it, drown it. Like a tropical rainfall. 2 inches in an hour and then sunshine. The leaves should tell you whan to water. They go limp. The tipping is probably from roots that are too tightly bound and cant uptake water in sufficient quantities. If they are root bound, separate the roots as best you can when repotting.

    Reply

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    Tara

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    I have three. I’d like to introduce one into AQUAPONICS. What are you all’s thoughts on that?

    Reply

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      paul katzeff

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      That would be an interesting experiment. If you can do it with green beans, I guess it would work but I have no idea what fertilizers you might need and at what intensity. Put some goldfish in the water and their manure will provide the nitrogen the tree needs. Some plant’s roots will rot in water so keep a daily eye out for roots turning brown and not sending out new root growth.

      Reply

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    Jennifer

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    Hello Paul! Thank you so much for all of the great information. I have had my coffee tree for 17 years now. He was about 4 inches tall when I purchased him. (At this point he is a part of the family to call him “it” just doesn’t feel right.) He is 4 feet tall now. When we moved about a year ago his health went down hill quickly. Over the years I’ve kept him alive by pure luck, I’m sure, so finding this site has given me hope that I can bring him back to his shiny, happy self. I have yet to find so much helpful tips in one place. This morning I moved him to a larger pot, pruned some of his dead branches down much like I would my roses, and added some rose food. Also moved him to a new location where he will get a little filtered sun in the morning. Keeping my fingers crossed. =)

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      Daniel

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      17 years to reach 4ft?? Is there a typo in there somewhere?

      Reply

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    Lynette Schloth

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    All the coffee plantations I see on the internet show the trees growing in direct full sunlight. Why is my coffee plant’s leaves buring in the direct sunlight? I live at 45 degrees latitude.

    Reply

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      paul katzeff

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      I believe you have come upon the wrong pictures. Coffee is a shade loving tree. The pictures you saw were probably taken in Brazil or in some other cloud forest. Highly filtered afternoon sunlight is ok, but best is morning sun. Get your tree into the shade!

      Reply

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    gordon mills

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    found your site by accident ,very thankful.just picked up a 4inch container of coffeeflower with 8 or more stems very root bound by cutting away plastic need to soak root ball I see,so should I separate and place in 8inch pots or larger may I live to see them mature

    Reply

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      paul Katzeff

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      Gordon, you will live to see them mature unless you are now 95 years old, in which case, you might have to live to 98 ! and that is cutting it close. But if you are younger, you will see your trees flower in 2020 and produce cherries six months after the flowering. But you have to do good by your trees. Just don’t put them in direct sun and put them in 18″ pots right away. A half barrel (wine) would be best so you don’t have to replant . One replanting is best and best to do it while they are little. I wrote a whole blog entry on pot size so go find it . You are taking a journey with these seedlings . They will change your experiences. They have a certain magic that touches everyone you share them with. They should be indoor with Eastern light(morning).
      When you separate the trees make sure you pull them apart sideways, not up.
      Paul

      Reply

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    Chase

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    Hi, I have a question about how to get coffee plants to flower and eventually seed. Our coffee plants live in an exhibit with birds, which means we have to hose the plants off everyday to clean. They aren’t in pots but planted straight into soil. The building maintains a steady temperature and gets natural sunlight. Trying to find ways to get the plants to flower that are still safe for the birds in exhibit. Thanks for any advice or thoughts. Shame having a shade grown coffee exhibit that won’t grow coffee!

    Reply

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      Paul Katzeff

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      From your brief description I cant tell you much. Possible problems are:
      1. Not enough light for the power needed to make fruit.
      2. Soil is not rich in nutrients.
      3. Tree needs to be pruned.
      4. Hosing down the tree may make it believe it is the wrong season to flower.
      (the flowers precede the rainy season)
      5. Send me a picture.

      Reply

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    Lily

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    Hi Paul I just joined your blog and was hoping if you could send me part one of growing coffee. I loved part two. Many thanks !

    Reply

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      paul Katzeff

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      Part one is in the Blog section. You should be able to click on it . It is findable inside this digital universe. Thanks for the kind words lily.

      Reply

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    Kathy Foley

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    Hi, Just got a coffee tree from our friends which is 30 years old and it looks like it is dying. Help, leaves are turning Brown and falling off.

    Reply

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      Paul Katzeff

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      We gotta save the tree. At thirty it is ancient for a house plant. Can you send me a photo? (pk @thanksgivingcoffee .com) . Multiple needs here. But lets give it the best shot. A picture of the full tree in the pot taken from a short distance and one from close up (2 feet). I will get back to you within 24 hours of receipt of picture and do not worry, we will save the tree.

      Reply

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    Allan Smith

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    Hi – I am looking to start a coffee plant in my office, but I do not have any windows in my office. Do I require a grow light, and will that work to keep the plant healthy?

    Thank you for your time

    Reply

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      Paul Katzeff

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      If you can read in the office light you don’t need a grow light, but it would be a good thing to have one above the plant. You don’t want it too bright. The plant hates bright sunshine. It is a shade tree in its home environment.

      Reply

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    Dorothy

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    Hi Paul.
    I live in Bulgaria. I bought coffee plant from a market a few months ago. There are 10 plants in the pot. I moved them right after I bought them in a plastic pot. They are growing good I think. I saw that some of them are too little and 3-4 are bigger. So my question is can I separate them any time, or there is specific time to do this (like in spring or something like that)?

    Reply

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      Paul Katzeff

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      Hi Bulgaria Dorothy,
      Too many plants in your pot. You have to separate them from each other before you lose them all.
      I wrote about this at length in one of my Blog responses to someone with a similar problem to solve.!
      Separate them NOW.
      Submerge the pot in water for an hour. The soil will soften into a consistency that will allow you to pull the plants apart if you are gentle.
      Repot in good potting soil and now you have 10 trees and a potential forest in your home.
      Where in Bulgaria do you live?
      Paul

      Reply

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    Jess

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    Hi Paul,

    Thank you for all the great information you have been supplying on your site. Less than 2 years ago, I bought what I thought was one coffee plant. It was only about 4″ tall and kind of bushy but is now about 18″. Recently I began to worry about the yellowing and brown leaves dropping from mostly the bottom part of the plant while the top remains lush and puzzled as to why the multiple trunks were so narrow. In my search I found your website and read your advise about there being more than one plant in a pot, but not before I had already removed the plant from its pot thinking that the problem might be root bound. Therefore I didn’t go through the transplanting steps you provided. Had I found your site first, I would have done it the way you had described.

    Because I had taken the entire plant out, I was able to have a closer look at the roots and discovered that it was actually 8 plants! Two plants are about 18″, one is about 12″, another is about 8″ and 4 are between 4″ to 6″ tall. Fortunately, they were not root bound at all but I only had enough pots and compost to transplant the 3 larger ones in their own pots and placed the small ones spaced apart in one pot. I made sure to stake the larger plants for support. Before I transplanted, I had placed gently pulled the plants apart trying not to disturb their roots but were was some damages. I kept them all in a plastic bag to keep the roots and leaves from drying out. But I worked very quickly, so in less than 10 minutes all were transplanted. I watered thoroughly and also cut many of the leaves of each plants, even the smaller ones, in half, because I read on a few sites including Monty Don, that technique helps to focus the plants energy on the roots.

    Please could you tell me if I had done the right things? Is there anything else I should do to maximise the success of their good health? It’s too soon to tell I suppose but any advise would be appreciated.

    Many thanks

    Jess

    Reply

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    paul Katzeff

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    Well, Jess, I think you did everything well and your plants should grow up to be good stewards of the planet. (provide Oxygen).
    I would invest a couple of dollars on some 8 “ plastic pots for the 4 small ones. In a year they will be crowding each other and competing for nutrients. Once they establish themselves as healthy, you can give them to your friends. They make great gifts and conversation flows from their presence in a household.

    As for the cutting of the leave, I think that sounds a bit cruel. Plants do have feelings and studies have shown they react to pain. On a scientific side, the leaves are what the tree uses to get energy voa creating food via chlorophyll. Roots develop by foom this energy and provide nutrients from their relationship with the soil/water relationship and the way soil nutrients are absorbed by them. The less leaf structure, the less work the roots have to do to support the system. Pruning back your tree after transplanting is a good idea. Maybe taking 25 % of the lower leaves off can help the roots not have to work hard to keep the water flowing through the plant. It is the water that supplies leaf support and roots need some time to reestablish their contact with the soil so they can take up water. Cutting leaves is not the right way to remove leaf structure. Taks them off whole where they attach to the branch or prune off entire branches.

    You have enough trees to create a little forest in your home. (they like being near each other .

    Paul K

    Reply

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      Jess

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      Thanks for your advice Paul. I’ll get some more pots to transplant the smaller ones and next year, will give them as gifts as there is no more room in the house for more large plants (unfortunately). I felt guilty about cutting the larger leaves to half their size but was conscious of the plants and was tender with them but as you say, ‘the less leaf structure, the less the roots have to do to support them’. Too soon to tell I guess, but they seem to be OK at the moment. The leaves and even the half ones are not droopy and although it’s only been a few days, there is new growth on all of them. I’ll keep monitoring them and if permissible, send an update.

      Thank you again for sharing your experience of coffea arabica and responding to everyone who has asked questions including me. It helped a great deal.

      Jess

      Reply

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    Michael Keef

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    Hi, I bought some small coffee trees almost a year ago. They were potted together so I separated them into individual 3 gallon pots and put them in a soil that is almost made up of all bark, wood pieces, and about 1/5 sand. Water them daily to every other day, and they have shown hardly any sign of growth. I live in south Texas, keep them in a shaded spot, and still nothing. I recently tried a nitrogen rich fertilizer used for hollies and orchids and the plants showed growth of about half a centimeter. Should I add this fertilizer every two weeks like the package suggest? And what can I do to make these little plants actually grow. According to my research they should have grown much more than they have in the past year. Thank you.

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      Paul Katzeff

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      Michael,
      I don’t get why you did not plant the trees in soil. Bark wood pieces and sand is like feeding a human peach pits and grass clippings and expecting it to grow up to be a fine adult. Your 3 gallon pots are filled with starvation and you are force feeding the tree with chemicals. The trees will never grow.
      What you need to do is simple. Go to the Nursery or hardware store and buy a cubic yard of organic potting soil. Bring it home and take the trees out of their pots and replant them in SOIL. Water them deeply and then let them rest in their new home for a while to get adjusted. Don’t put them in the sun. Keep them in the shade. Read a book about caring for plants like tomatoes. The principles are the same. Research The principles of gardening and you will find success. Soil is the key. Starvation will not work. Plants need to eat and they eat through their roots. If there is no soil, they cant absorb nutrients.

      You have made one mistake that is absolutely easy to correct. In a month after you replant, fertilize with worm castings, cocoa hulls and chicken manure, all purchasable in a Garden store.

      Reply

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    Jodi

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    Hi I just came across your site. I am having trouble with my tree. I reported it this spring and it’s started dropping leaves and the trunk seems very dry and rough. Should I be adding nitrogen to the soil once a month?

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Paul Katzeff

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      Not much info here to work with. Your plant probably was shocked by its repotting experience. Were the roots wrapping around the outer part of the root ball? Did you separate the roots from the root ball so they could escape into the new soil?
      What kind of soil did you use? From what size pot to what size pot?
      Where on the plant are the leaves dropping from?
      Send me a picture of the state of the plant now.
      As for Nitrogen, your leaves are not falling because of lack of nitrogen unless they had turned yellow for a month and then dried out and crisped up and fell dead.
      Did the leaves die before they fell, or were they green and healthy?
      E-mail me a photo and we can work this out for your tree.
      pk @thanksgivingcoffee. com

      Reply

  • Avatar

    Gava Lord Naris

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    Thanx for that wonderful information and keep it up

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Paul Katzeff

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    How nice of you to let me know I am doing a service. What got you to thinking about coffee trees and how are yours doing if you have one?

    Reply

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