This species surely needs no introduction as many of us enjoy its roasted seeds on a daily basis and multi-billion dollar companies have been created from this one valuable species in the Coffea genus. We can’t imagine what our own hometown of Portland would look like without this tropical plant’s influence. But while the roasted seed of the plant is widely available not everyone realizes that the plant itself is one of the easiest to care for house plants. Withstanding very low light levels and being somewhat forgiving about water needs the coffee plant makes the perfect house plant for a kitchen windowsill where you might gaze upon it lovingly as you brew your own roasted bean for the morning and consider the great global journey this plant has gone on.
From the high elevations of Ethiopia Coffea arabica is thought to be the first species of the many within the Coffea genus to be domesticated and still makes up the majority of the coffee crop worldwide. The plant has since spread throughout the world and can be found growing at many elevations though the best coffee is typically from high elevations that are frost free. Plants grow as vigorous shrubs or small trees and the fruit is ready to harvest 9 months after the fragrant white flowers appear. Though grown mostly as an ornamental or novelty in North America we have seen house plants in sunny windowsills actually producing berries. Though it is assumed the roasted beans from these berries would be pretty atrocious. But still, pretty cool! Cheers to the plant that wakes up much of the world each day!
Latin Name: Coffea arabica
Site and Soil: Sunny windowsills or tropical understories
Pollination Requirements: Self-fertile but cross pollination increases yield
Hardiness: USDA Zone 9b
Bearing Age: 2-3 years after planting.
Size at Maturity: 10-12 ft. in height, but usually about 3 ft. high in a pot
Ripening Time: variable
USDA Zone: 9-13