There are 124 coffee species and I am sure that everyone heard about the most common ones – Arabica and Robusta. Coffee plant can grow as a shrub or reach a size of a medium tree. It belongs to family Rubiacea, genus Coffea and species Arabica (Coffea arabica) makes up around 70% of the world’s coffee production.
As you might know coffee plant grows naturally in leafy upland rainforests as, for example, in Ethiopia. The well-known coffee beans are actually seeds which are inside red berries that grow on coffee plants. Once the berries are ripe, those are harvested by hand. Then berries are split open to reveal pale green beans inside.
These green beans are then dried, sorted by size and exported. To make them brown color, beans are roasted at temperatures from 370 to 450°C for up to 20 minutes.
Coffee plant is a popular choice for indoor houseplants, especially Arabica, as it is half hardy and grows in loam-based potting compost in full light but not in direct sunlight. However, can coffee be grown in a greenhouse?
Is it possible to grow coffee plant in a greenhouse?
As its naturally grows in a wet and humid climate, if you create the similar environment in a greenhouse, you can grow coffee plant. Coffee plant likes to be in a shade, prefers temperatures in a range of 60 and 70 °F with high humidity. It needs diffuse light and it doesn’t like winds at all.
Coffee plant takes from 2 to 4 years to start flowering. Then, once the plant is at least 5 years old it will bear berries. You can harvest these berries, strip the skin off and dry the seeds. If you roast them, you will get the coffee beans that you can ground to make a delicious drink.
How to plant coffee from seeds:
To plant coffee form a seed you need to purchase pale green coffee beans. You should be able to find them from roasters. Alternatively, you can buy coffee seeds online. Once you got the seeds, soak them in water for 24 hours. Prepare the soil for planting.
Use moist vermiculite in damp coffee sacks, burlap bags or polythene bags. Seeds should germinate in them for 2 to 6 months. How long the germination takes depends on how fresh the seeds are. Wait until the seeds start to sprout from the long end. That is when you can transfer the seeds to a pot. Plant the seeds into a pot 1.5 inches deep.
What type of soil is required for growing coffee?
Choose a loamy soil high in humus and add some peat moss. Also, you can mix in some cow manure, bone meal and dried blood meal. Alternatively, you can use potting soil which is lightweight and permeable. Aim to keep the soil moist and well-drained.
The pH of the soil should be balanced. Coffee plants don’t like very high and very low pH, so a neutral (pH 7) is a perfect option. That is why you can just use a regular potting mix.
The seedlings are ready to be transplanted into the soil in greenhouse once they are 24 -36 inches long (61-91 cm). If you keep the plants indoors, they will only flower with white blooms in late summer. Make sure to mist the plant in the pot and not just use a high pressure watering.
How do you plant coffee seedlings?
If the process above sounds too hard or time consuming, you can purchase the fresh sprouted coffee seeds. Let them grow indoors for 1 to 2 months. In the first months the growth is going to be slow because seedling don’t have a lot of leaves.
The plant is still working on building up energy to grow upwards. At 3 months of age the growth is going to speed up and you can transplant seedlings once they are 24 – 36 inches (61-91 cm) long.
How to water a coffee plant?
Water coffee plants regularly with rainwater. Soil should be moist but never soggy. Installing misting system can help to recreate the natural rainfall. Also, try to use warm water.
I would suggest building a greenhouse water catchment system which will collect the rainwater from the structure into water buds. You can connect the misting system with the pipe to these buds. It is both practical and environmentally friendly.
How to grow coffee in a greenhouse:
Coffee plant likes tropical, really humid climate. So you need to keep in mind that you will need to provide lots of moisture, lots of heat and lots of humidity. Although this plant doesn’t need direct sunlight, coffee plants need filtered sun, similar to what they get in the jungle.
To thrive coffee plant needs hot temperatures but not direct sunlight. So, you can plant it in a greenhouse under other trees like orange. That way the late afternoon sun will shade because of the tree. Eventually, you can have a large plant.
What kind of fertilizer do you use for coffee plants?
Coffee plant needs weekly nitrogen boost, provide it as a solution of fish emulsion in the water. Besides that, mature plant can ripe berries without fertilizer, but you can increase the production by adding a soluble all purpose 10-10-10 fertilizer or an orchid fertilizer.
Moreover, you can use organic option like worm casting as it also does wonders. To achieve nice growth you need to continue to fertilize once a month because coffee plant is a heavy feeder. It means that it goes through a fertilizer quite quickly.
Is it profitable to grow coffee in a greenhouse?
Although you can recreate the environment for growing coffee in a greenhouse, the quality of the beans depends on where they are grown. To produce a variety of high quality, coffee should be grown at elevations of 3,000 to 6,000 feet in tropical climates.
Still you can grow the coffee plants and harvest red berries keeping in mind that it will take from 3 to 4 years for a plant to mature. Then, you just harvest berries by hand and strip the skin off. Dry and roast seeds inside and you will get coffee beans. The taste is going to be not as bad as some you have tasted!
Let me know if you tried coffee in your greenhouse in the comments section down below!
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Happy Growing 🙂