Are coffee plants supposed to grow slow (in a pot)

mersiepoo(6)October 9, 2008

I've had a small coffee plant for about 2 years now. I repotted it because the leaves were turning yellow, and the dirt transplant seemed to help. But now it's barely growing at all! I fertilized it with some liquid iron with copper and some epsom salts. The leaves are looking better but the plant itself is barely growing at all. I make sure to water it a lot, as I think I hadn't been giving it enough. Thank you for any advice! Also, if you know what coffee plants like to eat, I'd appreciate knowing what to feed it. Thanks!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
orchidguyftl(z11 FTL FL)

an acidic fertilizer would be good
are you growing it in full sun like they like?
high humidity?

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 1:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I know next to nothing about coffee trees but did start a couple from seed several months ago. They are pretty darn slow. I've kept them in a greenhouse with high humidity and filtered sunlight and they are only about 5" tall. They are in a potting medium with lots of peat and organic matter.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 9:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a little experience. Coffee is super slow to germinate. But I find it growing average speed. 3 months to germinate with full round leave. I just repotted mine from 1 gallon to 2 gallon. I have three plants in the pot. They're about 14". I found the roots coiled around the bottom of the pot. To me that indicates they like a larger or deeper pot than typical for the plant size. I think good drainage and steady moisture is best. I would caution about using too much copper which can be phytotoxic. I use Ironite granules. I have mine in morning sun and 50% shade in the afternoon. I'll put the pot in a cheap greenhouse for winter and water a little less. Maintain good ventilation around the plant and watch for bugs.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 8:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Potted coffee trees-and I have grown them from seeds to 4' plants with berrys- cannot tolerate going dry. Once is all it takes to kill them or set them back for months.Even large potted plants gone dry will not only drop leaves ,but whole large branches will die. Keep them like you would a "tropical" Azalea. Fresh air indoors is also required or they will be infested with mites/mealys/aphids. Great plants for an atrium where you can give a daily shower. Terrible plants for hot, dry, stuffy rooms.
Germination can and will be must faster with a soil temps of around 80-90f.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 4:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Okay, you have all made me see the error of my ways! :D I thank you and my pitiful 8 inch coffee plant thanks you too! :)

I have had it growing in mostly shade indoors, and haven't been watering it enough. I also didn't know it loved humidity, so I'll have to have it grow near my gardenias, they have a humidity 'tray' (actually they're all in a large roomy plastic bucket type thing to keep the humidity high).

Great! Finally a plant that doesn't mind being overwatered! :) Thank you all for replying! :)

    Bookmark   October 17, 2008 at 11:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
orchidguyftl(z11 FTL FL)

they are actually related to gardenias and can be grown the same way. I just put a post in the tropical fruits forum about mine, it has lots of fruit on it and I tried eating them from the tree as I found one could do, didnt think I'd like it, but was surprised at how sweet and tasteful they are

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 1:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a coffee plant that actually seems to do better with completely indirect light. Full sun always seems to lead to yellow and brown leaves.

It hasn't been in indirect light for very long- only a week or two, but the leaves have stopped burning.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2008 at 11:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Growerman, I think mine is the same way. I put mine in direct light, and the leaves are starting to turn yellowish now. I better move it back out of the light. I wonder why that is.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2008 at 10:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You know what's weird? Why do these plants grow so well in direct light, even in full sun in the carribean? I have tons in the back yard of my house there, and they are fast growers, even giving off the most fragrant smell. They don't seem to flower in the shade though.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2008 at 9:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

i have 3 Kona plants i bought from hawaii through ebay about April-May 07. i first put them in 10 inch pots and indirect light by a sliding glass door and they were healthy but grew very slow and leaf sets were very close together for about 1 year (fed all-purpose soluble fert and superthrive) i moved in march and now have them in an east facing window so they catch direct morning sun and they took off! ive had 3-4 sets of new leaves since changing locations and they are HUGE! when i moved them to the new window i also stopped using fert and only feed them with fishtank water. (all houseplants will go bananas for fish tank waste/water) because of the growth spurt i wanted to check the roots and be sure they weren't confined(coffeeplants need deep pots because they have a main taproot like a carrot and 2 diagonal "anchor" roots- however ive also seen pictures of a very healthy arabica plant about 6 ft tall in a 1 gal container so...?)they where fine and since i had the roots out and exposed, i innoculated them with mycorrhizal fungi for its beneifts ( forms an organic symbiotic relationship with roots and cuts down on fertilizers/ pesticides.) can't wait to see what happens next!! i also had browning leaves in the beginning but it stopped on its own.every 2 weeks, i flood the plants for 30 min and drain(in the bathtub with fishwater), and give one 8 ounce glass of water in the weeks between. when a plant uses nutrients in the soil it will release a nitrogen gas and these gases are bad for the plant and roots. flooding displaces the gases and drags fresh oxygen down to the soil- so flood technique is good. however, when i took my plants out to innoculate the roots, i noticed severe soil compactation (most likely from the flood technique) and the dirt smelled SO bad. partly because i use stinky fish water but also because the dirt was way to tight to let those gases out. i added some sand in the soil and mixed/loosened in a giant bowl to help with drainage. soil mix is mostly all potting soil from wal-mart, sand, spent coffee grounds, cruched egg shells and one tsp. mycorrhizal fungi per pot. sorry so longwinded- i hope this helps. if you have more questions let me know. i'm fascinated and have done a lot of research on coffee plants and grapevines. happy to help :) find fungi cheap at
i bought a pound(thats a lot)for $11 plus $8 shipping.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 12:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
puglvr1(9b central FL)


My coffee plant is the same way...granted I live in FL and our afternoon sun is very intense. I burned the leaves when I first bought it two years ago. I now have it under a palm tree where it get morning sun and afternoon shade. They do like lots of water and fertilizer...Good luck!

Mike, I think the coffee plants that grow in Caribbean and elsewhere that are grown in the ground tolerates full sun better...this is just a guess, since I have never grown one of these in the ground myself. But while I was in Jamaica...these were growing in shade, part sun, full sun. Maybe it just needs to acclimate to full sun very slowly. For me my container coffee plant just seems to do a lot better when it only gets a couple hours of direct morning sun, anything more than that seems to really have a detrimental effect on it...just my own experience with mine...Notice I grow my gardenia right next to it.

Here's apicture of mine with the coffee beans starting to turn red, might have to try what orchidguy did and taste it?

    Bookmark   November 15, 2008 at 10:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Kalie_Florida(9 - Jacksonville, Florida)

Actually coffee trees are almost never grown in direct sunlight. That is why the most highly prized arabica coffee is "shade-grown." In Costa Rica and Nicaragua (the only places I've seen larger coffee farms) most of the coffee is planted under a canopy of other taller trees. Sometimes in near complete shade.

There are other farms where the coffee is planted right out in the sunlight, but the plants are much smaller and produce less fruit.

I've seen some land in Central America where wild coffee plants were growing 20-30 feet tall and had new fruit all the way up. You never see these in the sunlight however, only in the typical rainforest-type areas.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 2:15PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Wax Jambu in California?
Haves somebody get fruiting Syzygium samarangense anywhere...
Id please of vine with pretty flowers
Guessing it's a tropical as it cannot take the cold....
Curry Tree Fruits
Murraya koenigii, aybody ever harvest the seeds from...
Absolutely HORRIBLE!!!
New Ficus Tree Plant
Happy New Year my new Ficus tree plant
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™