The coffee plant or coffea arabica is an evergreen shrub or small tree, originally from the Ethiopian highlands; having a certain commercial value, however, the cultivation of coffee has expanded, this plant is now widespread in most tropical areas, from South America to India. In nature it can grow up to 7-8 meters, kept in pots its growth is contained around a meter, although it can grow up to 2 meters.
It looks like a leafy shrub, with very dark green shiny leaves, elongated oval, pointed at the end and with short petiole.
If it finds an optimal environment, it can bloom also in the house, even if this does not happen easily; after the age of at least six years, it can produce some red fruits: they are drupes containing two seeds, which, toasted, are used for preparing the coffee drink; they usually ripen starting from the autumn, but it is easy to find on the same plant buds and fruits at different stages of ripening.
As for the exhibition, our coffea arabica likes very bright positions, even in the half-light, but not in direct sunlight, which, especially if filtered through the windows of a window, can burn the leaves, causing unsightly brown spots opaque. It does not particularly like the exposure to the wind; therefore, keep the plant sheltered when possible, in order to allow it an optimal growth.
If possible, it is better to take it outside, for example on a balcony, during the hottest months of the year; to favour its luxuriant growth, it would be better to keep it, both in summer and in winter, at temperatures as close as possible to 20°C.
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The soil is the main source of sustenance for the plants. From here, the coffee plant acquires the nutrients it needs to live. The coffea arabica does not require special soil requirements, it grows well in a normal universal soil, even if it does not particularly like calcareous soils.
Being a plant which can grow much, it is better to assure it a pot of the right size, and to favour its growth by changing the container every year, possibly at the beginning of spring, before the vegetative restart. This will allow the root system to develop easily without finding barriers or limitations due to a container or pot too narrow for the actual needs of the plant.
From March to October, in the spring and summer months, it is advisable to supply the plant with abundant quantities of water, but without soaking the soil to avoid the formation of water stagnation and the development of root rot; if desired, you can also spray the leaves in warmer periods, so as to ensure a humid climate; it is good to add universal fertilizer to the water of the watering every two weeks to help the plant in its growth; in the coldest months you can decrease the amount of water administered, and add fertilizer only once a month as the irrigation needs of the coffee plant decrease significantly with the lowering of temperatures.
When the plant is adult, this will encourage the appearance of flowers in spring.
The multiplication of the coffee plant takes place by sowing, at the beginning of spring, in containers filled with a mixture of peat and sand; they must be kept humid, in a sheltered place and at a temperature of around 20°C, the plants are transferred into pots the following year.
Coffee – Coffea arabica: Pests and diseases
Coffee is a plant that resists most diseases well, sometimes it can be attacked by cochineal and aphids, but it does not happen very often. In this case, use a specific pesticide product.