I love waking up in the morning and running to my espresso machine to make a delicious cappuccino from fresh arabica beans. Now what coffee fanatic can live without her own coffee tree in home? During my trip in Hawaii, I saw some coffee seeds on sale in one of the souvenir shops. Instantly, I ran to my laptop and ordered some from eBay. I ordered from a Canadian supplier, so I wouldn’t have to worry about customs.
Coffea arabica are usually higher quality beans than its rival coffea robusta. It is usually grow at higher altitudes and take up to 4 years before it bears enough fruit for harvesting. Coffea arabica grows best at 20 degrees Celsius in moist, well-drained soil and bright indirect sunlight.
Propagation is through seeds and stem cuttings. Seeds do not stay fertile for very long and are difficult to germinate after 21 days.
The Process – From Seed (6 to 8 months)
Required supplies: 6 cm wide pot, warm water, 60-40 peat moss/perlite mix, spoon, coffee seeds
1. Fill pot with soil. Moisten soil with warm water until water drips out of the bottom.
2. Using the back end of a spoon, make a small hole in the soil 1 – 2 cm deep and place seed inside. Cover with soil and gently tap the pot to evenly distribute the soil around the seeds. You can place up to six seeds in a pot. The seeds require depth to grow their tap roots.
3. Keep the top soil moist, but never overwater the soil. Coffee seeds are very prone to seed rot. Let top soil dry between waterings.
4. Place a plastic cover on top to keep constant humidity and place pot out of direct sunlight in a warm location.
5. When the seedling pops up through the soil (1 -3 months), remove the plastic cover and keep soil moist.
6. When the first leaves appear, move the pot into indirect sunlight for an hour a day, increasing the amount until it can tolerate a day’s worth of indirect sunlight. If the pot becomes overcrowded with roots, re-pot the plant.
7. When the plant has developed four adult leaves (do not count the lily pad-like leaves), pot each seedling into its own individual permanent pot. This pot should be at least 20 cm deep and 15 cm wide. This pot should last you two years.
8. Re-pot the plant into a bigger and deeper pot as needed.
Note: Seeds that take a longer time to germinate are more prone to seed rot. Watch them carefully and remove rot as soon as it develops (if possible). To remove rot on the shells of the seed, wipe them carefully with a dry paper towel to remove the rot and use the appropriate fungicide. If rot is severe, you will have to to throw away the seed, so it doesn’t affect the other seeds.
July 18, 2012 – So….it seems like it’s way too late to divide my coffee plants that I bought from Rona Home & Garden. The root system is massive and the tap roots are nowhere to be seen. So, I just planted the merged plants into one big 25cm deep pot.
July 16, 2012 – All the individual coffee plants have survived the separation last month. The little babies have even sprouted new leaves, which has given me the confidence to split up the other coffee plant I have.
My first coffee plant (purchased from Rona) has grown to a height of 34 cm with its longest leaf at 14 cm long. There are six plants growing from the same pot…so it’s a bit crowded. I’m pretty sure the roots are all tangled up, as well.
Right now, I don’t know if I have enough room in the house for 12 individually potted coffee trees in the house, in addition to 6 Plumeria trees. It’s going to be quite the rainforest!
I ordered coffee seeds from eBay again – I just hate giving up! I purchased 10 seeds from Green Thumbs Seeds for $$5.26 CAD on June 7th and received them about 2-3 weeks later. I popped all ten straight into a pot of 60/40 peat moss and perlite and place the pot into a darker corner of my greenhouse. Let’s see how well this will work…
Jun 12 – I’m giving it another go, after 15 attempts at growing coffee from seed. Seed rot is just too easy to grow on coffee seeds!
I just bought a coffee plant (arabica) from Wal-mart for $2! That’s much cheaper than buying seeds off eBay ($10), and I got 6 plants in one pot!
I carefully divided up the plants by loosing the soil and separating the roots. It takes a lot of patience to detangle roots of six (or more) plants, but I was able to pot six beautiful plants into their own individual pots.
The soil for these plants was a 60-40 mix of peat moss and potting soil. I want to make sure the roots do not sit in wet soil for too long. Rot just kills coffee plants…such prissy babies
Oct 11 – Coffee seeds are so difficult for me to grow >< I have very little patience and tend to check on the seeds way too often, enough to damage any growth. I also did not remove the shells from the seeds from the first two batches, so the embryo had more difficulty growing its tap rot and seed rot had more time to develop. All the seeds developed seed rot…. My guess is the water I used to stimulate the embryo bud was way to warm and ended up cooking most of the seed, leaving it vulnerable to seed rot. Also, not removing the shells kept the seeds way too moist, which was perfect for seed rot development. Lastly, the soil mix I used was not fast draining enough to prevent seed rot.
So, I bought a third batch of seeds at the end of September. I peeled the shells off the seeds and soaked them in warm tap water. I placed the container in the sun-warmed area by the window sill and the embryos were very easily seen after a few hours. They looked like white vines/bumps and some of them had already started poking out of the seed. I planted them on October 06.
Sept 3 – I paid for my seeds on August 20 and received them on August 27th. I was EXTREMELY excited to start growing them, so once I received the package, I dunked the seeds into warm water. During my week wait for the seeds to arrive, I had done some extensive research on how to grow coffea arabica seeds (yes, I am very obsessive). I even send emails to my local coffee roaster for advice. So you can understand my shock when my seeds didn’t produce an embryo bud after 48 hours of soaking. I thought maybe the seeds were a little more tough, so they went through an additional 48 hours of soaking. Not a great idea…(maybe lol), but I still got 80% germination.
1-week old bean with a embryo sprout big enough to be planted into its very own pot -spoiled with rot > < (but it was very easy to remove ^^)
When I was talking to my coffee contact, he pretty much lol ‘ed when I told him that I had soaked the seeds for 96 hours. He said coffee seeds don’t always produce an embryo bud during the soaking stage, and they should only be soaked to a max of 48 hours. Longer than 48 hours could suffocate a seed.
After planting them in the plastic cup and three days later, 80% of the seeds produced embryo sprouts. The 20% most likely suffocated during the soaking stage ><. Only 50% of the embryo sprouts were big enough to be planted into their own pots. Someof the seeds had rot on it. Luckily, the rot was on the shell and not on the embryo. So I carefully removed the part of the shell with rot on it, wipe them down with a day paper towel, and re-planted the seeds. I used Schultz Orchid Food as feed for the coffee seeds and followed the instructions on the bottle.
I’m so freaking elated – I HAVE MY MY OWN COFFEE PLANTS! RAWR RAWR. Although, I doubt my darling will let me keep all four coffee trees in the house ><.