Coffea Species, Arabian Coffee, Mountain Coffee

Coffea arabica

Family: Rubiaceae
Genus: Coffea (KOFF-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: arabica (a-RAB-ih-kuh) (Info)


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Light Shade


Grown for foliage



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)


8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)


USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers



Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:

Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Jones, Alabama

Chatsworth, California

Del Mar, California

Fair Oaks, California

Fountain Valley, California

Goleta, California

Hayward, California

Merced, California

San Diego, California

San Francisco, California

San Pedro, California

Torrance, California

Bartow, Florida

Boca Raton, Florida

Deland, Florida

Dunnellon, Florida

Kissimmee, Florida

Lutz, Florida

Miami, Florida

Pompano Beach, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Honomu, Hawaii

Kurtistown, Hawaii

Pukalani, Hawaii

Wailuku, Hawaii

Pesotum, Illinois

Thibodaux, Louisiana

Springfield, Massachusetts

Lees Summit, Missouri

Poughkeepsie, New York

Hulbert, Oklahoma

Austin, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Houston, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 11, 2013, RosemaryK from Lexington, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:

I had one that grew indoors in a pot, under a skylight, to about 3 feet tall. I loved the shiny green leaves. Unfortunately, every single person coming into my house felt they were obligated to handle the leaves. Once my toddler children became old enough to reach it, they couldn't stop constantly handling it either, and it died after the leaves developed brown fingerprinted marks. Needless to say, they are grown up, so I am starting again. This time I am setting the baby on a humidity tray, which seems to reduce the need to water it quite so often.


On Aug 24, 2012, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

After tries spread over decades using potted plants kept outdoors in winter...I found that in ground planted Coffee are much hardier to cold. Even good sized potted Coffee plants would not survive a SF bay area winter,seedling's dead by December. Well,when you plant them in part shade,in ground (no pun intended) they have taken a normal winter with a couple of early morning sharp 30f frosts. They are not fast growers outdoors..indoors where I usually have tried them they were fast.
Right now not much to advise..shade,constant water and if possible some kind of frost protection-over hanging tree's like mine or the like.
Ok I have to change the advice on light. They actually prefer sunlight in California. In shade they do look greenest and grow more open- but grow far too slow.... read more


On Jul 25, 2012, Vestia from San Francisco, CA wrote:

Kona coffee is not a cultivar, but a locale. Its like saying a Napa Cabernet; Napa is a valley, not the cultivar.


On Mar 31, 2009, SaskieJimmy from Saskatoon,
Canada wrote:

A lovely plant that initiated me into exotic gardening. First purchased the plant to spruce up my first university apartment and have now had it for 13 years. Must have had some luck as it produces flowers and beans annually for 6 years, despite growing indoors at a high latitude (Canada) and in a dry, forced-air house. Beans are viable (just started growing some 2nd gen. ), and I'm still refining my roasting technique - apparently I should have known to remove the fleshy inner shell from core bean before roasting!

Needs to be transplanted regularly, feed fertilizer whenever you think of it and takes 1 gallon of rain water or snow water approx. every 3-4 days (more in Spring). It slows down in Fall and I remind many beginners with it to be loving and patient in December when... read more


On Jan 14, 2009, wreinha from Macomb, IL wrote:

I have a coffe arabica in my bathroom, I hope it will get a little taller, I will be in the process of transplanting it into a bigger pot.


On Sep 26, 2008, cruz4him from Toronto, ON (Zone 6a) wrote:

I have this as an office plant. There was a promotion in our food court by Nature Valley (granola bars) and they were giving them away in 4 inch pots. Pretty much everyone in my office got one but mine are the only ones thriving and I've adopted about 3 or 4 of them from co-workers desperate to save them.

Mine grow on a south facing window sill and the air here is rather dry. It does need quite a bit of water, I've found, and I water twice a week and use regular 8-7-6 miracle-gro fertilizer once a month between March and November.

I've noticed that the lower leaves are always quite small, almost stunted, and they almost all fell off during the winter. According to one site, this seems to be fairly normat behaviour so I haven't thought much of it.
<... read more


On Dec 6, 2007, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have not grown this plant.

If not pruned the plants can reach a height of 30 feet. Usually, they are pruned to about 6 feet. The main reason for pruning is to to have an abundance of blooms because the blossoms are borne on new wood. Another reason is to keep the trees to a size that can readily be picked. It prefers a pH of 5 to 6 is preferred with chlorosis occurring when the pH is above 7. Comparable to avocado, watering needs to be consistent with a dry period to induce blooming and it is essential that the soil must be well draining. Coffee can adapt to full sun; however, they are usually grown in filtered shade. Although the plants will bloom and produce fruit without being fertilized, to obtain the best results, they should be fed every 2 weeks from March to Octo... read more


On Dec 11, 2006, WUVIE from Hulbert, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

When I saw a 3" pot with three plants at a local hardware store, I didn't think the poor thing could survive a trip to the checkout, much less life after tomorrow. It was, after all, on sale for but a quarter.

I brought it home, pulled off the dead leaves, watered it and went to bed. This morning it appears an entirely new plant, there is hope! I repotted the poor things, gave them a proper home, nice little label and will now hope to grow a gorgeous house plant.

Wish me luck!

Karen Marie


On Aug 14, 2006, tmccullo from Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

We have a small plant here in Houston, Texas. I have found that the plant will not tolerate the summer heat here, even in the shade. The heat seemed to be causing the leaves to turn brown and fall off. So we have moved the plant intoors and placed it in front of a bay window where it gets morning sun. The plant is doing much better.


On Oct 12, 2005, OregonCoastSeth from San Diego, CA (Zone 11) wrote:

Coffee could be the most important plant in the world, yet many people don't even know what it looks like. It is a beautiful plant with glossy dark green leaves and petite scented white flowers. It is in the Rubiaceae family with Gardenia and Galium. It requires acidic soil just like Gardenia's and will not do well with any thing but. Frost and direct hot sunny spots will do damage. The coffee belt on the big Island of Hawai'i, known as Kona produces some of the best coffee in the world. The conditions are perfect. These conditions consist of rich volcanic soil from Mona Loa, ideal sunny mornings followed by cloudy afternoons, constant mild temperature's year round and sixty to eighty inches of rain. If you have these conditions your in luck, for the rest of us coffee makes a great house... read more


On May 2, 2005, ladyannne from Merced, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

One of my favorites! It is constantly the most cheerful green. We bring it in for the winter, and it lets me know the moment it needs water, and is terribly forgiving. After four years it is about five feet tall, time to cut it off and have two! Good thing I do not depend on it for coffee beans, as I have never seen one, let alone a flower. Must be doing something wrong.


On Mar 1, 2005, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I purchased three Coffea arabica plants at Lowe's, offered in the "Angel Plants" brand of indoor plants in 3" pots. I transplanted them into 5 gallon pots with potting soil and lots of humus and placed them in full sun and watered about once a day. They have grown to about 14" in one season. I overwintered them (Zone 8b/9a borderline) in my greenhouse and they have remained green and healthy.

I was treated to an Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony at a local restaurant and look forward to possibly roasting my own coffee beans for a similar ceremony when friends come to dinner.


On Nov 19, 2004, Maudie from Harvest, AL wrote:

This plant was given to me in a dish garden. It has thrived in filtered light with very little water. The foliage is very pretty in contrast to the other plants in the container. It is deserving of much more respect and I plan to move it to another container and give it more TLC and see how it does as a houseplant.


On Jun 25, 2004, foodiesleuth from Honomu, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

We have just a handful of coffee trees in our yard and they have not started producing as yet...but in Kona on the other side of our island, there are literally hundreds of small coffee farms. Kona coffee is expensive, especially when selecting the peaberry, but well worth the price. Smooth with no bitter aftertaste, a great choice for a wonderful morning brew!

On our side of the island, several small farms have started sprouting up, especially at a higher elevation. This is known as Hamakua coffee, named after the area of the island.


On Jun 24, 2004, desertboot from Bangalore,
India (Zone 10a) wrote:

My grandmum planted 15 Coffea arabicas when she moved to this house in 1965. We lost three of the bushes somewhere along the line; the remaining 12 continue to flower twice each year, and together yield 3-4 kilogrammes of berries annually. The flowers - white, jasmine-like, lightly fragrant, borne along the branches in dense clusters - appear immediately following the first rains. Watching the bees pollinating away, early mornings, is a great sight. And there's something else to a cup of coffee with a personal history!


On Jun 24, 2004, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

Here in Brazil the limitation to the coffee culture is the soil. Coffee plants are planted in tropical and subtropical places, but only in a certain kind of soil, which has very small grains, red/purple color, very rich and acidic. The rainfall in those areas isnt particularly intense, but this soil stays moist for a long time, without being muddy.

Coffee is a very valuable article in international commerce, which gave coffee farmers in Brazil so much power that they drove the brazilian politics for 100 years, until 1929, when the prices dropped suddenly, ruining many farmers. Still, Brazil is still the biggest coffee producer of the world.


On Feb 7, 2004, redjiii wrote:

I live in zone 6 (approx), and I have been growing it indoors on an open-air plant shelf at about 60 to 70 degrees beneath a 20 watt flourescent bulb in pretty low-humidity. This plant has proven very easy to take care of in these conditions. Though, I have found that mine seems to require a particularly heavy amount of water...much more than I expected. I water it thoroughly each day until the soil is quite moist. This keeps the leaves and branches healthy and strong. If I miss watering for even two days, the leaves begin to sag and the scene looks quite sad :-( I put this plant in a heated (85 degrees) growing cabinet with reflective inner walls channeling 40 watts of flourescent light to leaves and it flourished. This was more of an experiment (as it has since been set back under... read more


On Nov 9, 2003, kountrykitten from Leander, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I have mine as a houseplant. I live in zone 5 and bought it at Meijers for a houseplant. It is doing very well in a filtered light spot in my house.


On Sep 24, 2001, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

The most widely grown species for producing coffee. A small understory tree in the wild, it is often cultivated as a shrub, pruned to a height of 6' for easier harvesting.

The leaves of the tree vary in color depending on their maturity - upon budding they are yellow, changing to clear green then finally maturing to a dark glossy green. The trees will flower and produce edible fruit when 3-4 years old.

The white flowers bloom in clusters of 8 to 15 flowers each and emit a light, Jasmine-like fragrance. The flower lasts only long enough to be pollinated, and culminates in production of two edible berries (called cherries) approximately 7 months after flowering.