Can you grow a coffee plant indoors? Yes! Growing a coffee houseplant indoors is totally possible. It’s also a great way to enrich your connection to coffee, and deepen your appreciation for the work that goes into the coffee you enjoy every day.
How do I get started growing a coffee plant?
Coffee plants are wonderful hobby houseplants and, as such, are easy to find in seedling form at local nurseries and plant stores. For a real hoot, though, you can try growing a coffee plant starting from seed.
If you’re able to obtain a coffee cherry from a mature coffee plant, this is the most rewarding way to start your indoor coffee farm. You can remove the fruit from around the coffee bean and plant it in soil. (Some advise more involved stages of pre-germination, but they may or may not exceed your level of commitment.) If fresh cherry is not accessible to you, you can also try your hand at germinating green (unroasted) coffee beans, too. Just make sure they’re as fresh as possible.
Once the seed is planted, you will then need to be exceptionally patient. Water the seed occasionally and despite it seeming like literally nothing is happening for weeks or months—and then one day you will awaken to the startling sight of a small coffee bean atop the tiniest little stem, shooting up out of the soil. How adorable! You did it!
What do I have to do to grow coffee indoors?
Just as when farmed outdoors, coffee plants enjoy a mild, relatively humid climate. Remember, out there in the world, coffee plants typically partake of a fair amount of shade—so they don’t need strong, direct sunlight, and the right window or artificial plant light can be just fine for your indoor shrublet. Try and maintain your coffee’s soil to be fairly acidic—at a pH between 6-6.5—and make sure it stays moist. Fertilization can help keep your indoor coffee plant going strong, and its leaves will benefit from misting to ensure the plant is at a happy humidity level.
As your little one-tree farm grows up, you’ll want to re-pot it annually, making sure the roots have adequate room to spread and pruning the plant’s width as desired. Over time, you may find that your houseplant may become larger than you expected to maintain (I know I did) so for small-city-apartment-dwellers, room to grow should be a consideration before starting your new family.
So how soon can I expect my first microlot harvest?
If your plants are well-cared-for and thriving, coffee houseplants should flower and produce fruit after a few years of TLC. (Coffea arabica is also self-pollinating, so you won’t have to hand-pollinate or invest in any indoor bees.) As for growing enough beans to roast and brew—may be a lofty request—but it is possible! There’s no doubt the adventure will earn you newfound respect for every cup of coffee you make.
Liz Clayton is the associate editor at Sprudge Media Network. Read more Liz Clayton on Sprudge.