Help with Coffee tree

Discussion in 'Indoor and Greenhouse Plants' started by Shotgun Scherling, Mar 10, 2009.

  1. Shotgun Scherling

    Shotgun Scherling Member

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    Location:
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    - This is my first post, so I apologize in advance if this is the wrong forum -

    I have this coffee tree that I purchased from Gurney's Seed Co. two years ago, and all the leaves on the bottom of the plant turned brown and fell off. The top seems to be doing well, but the plant is bare on the bottom 12". I keep it inside the east window of my kitchen.

    Should I cut the top off the plant to promote side branching?

    Does anyone else have experience growing coffee trees indoors?

    Thanks for any replies, comments or suggestions!
     

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  2. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Location:
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    Coffee trees dont normally grow in Wyoming, nor here where I live, I would think trying to reproduce their native environment would be best. I grew one a number of years ago and supplemental light was paramount.

    The native habitat for Coffea species is Africa, Southern Asia and other tropical countries...
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffea
     
  3. pinenut

    pinenut Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    Whitehorse, Yukon Zone 0b or 1a
    Hey Shotgun:
    They don't normally grow where I live either, but my parent plant is more than twenty five years old. I'm losing track, maybe its thirty. I've grown a couple of seasons worth of new plants from seed from the parent plant, and they all look like yours, and act the same way...browning and leaf drop. I only have a few hours of daylight in winter (not necessarily sunlight) and it did just fine in a corner with one east, and one south window. It finally outgrew that spot and I had to move it to slightly less daylight, so this winter I've pointed a couple of compact fluorescents at it on a timer.
    This tree is very hardy, coming through four 1,000 mile moves (two return trips) by air cargo, moving van, tarp trailer and tarp truck.
    I've always let them do what they seem to want in terms of pruning- generally speaking I don't bother. My current crop of young ones are looking pretty scraggy, especially compared to yours. I really should give them some attention. The big one really needs repotting. Were looking at 2 feet in diameter this time (and maybe a forklift).
    Carl
     
  4. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Branching must be influenced by cultural factors. The ones that I have are naturally bushy without any pruning. I wish I could get my citrus trees to look like them. These trees, estimated to be about four years old, are currently 2.5' tall with 10 levels of opposite branches, the first set being 7" from the soil line. There is no leaf loss with the exception of a few older ones at the bottom. In short, the foliage is very dense. I am most impressed by these trees; the only thing missing at this point is the flowering.

    These trees are kept indoors in an unheated room with windows to the east and south. They are at the back of the room but receive bright light throughout the day.
     
  5. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    Coffee flourishes under a shade plantation or also direct sun in the tropics, but in an east facing Wyoming window?, I would recommend a southern facing window. Most potted coffee plants will grow like a bean stalk unless pruned to allow for branching, but even this will still promote spindle growth.
     
  6. Margaret

    Margaret Active Member 10 Years

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    Hi Pinenut. I seem to remember that you posted photos of your plant a few years ago. Do you have any updated ones to share as the others were really fantastic? Margaret
     
  7. Shotgun Scherling

    Shotgun Scherling Member

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    Thanks for all the replies!

    Obviously coffee trees don't grow well in my climate, which is why I keep mine inside. My house only has 2 windows that get enough sunlight to grow plants - one is the east kitchen window, and one is the south bedroom window. Maybe I will switch windows and see if it improves.

    I'm still a little confused about pruning, so I'll just let it do its thing for a while.
     
  8. pinenut

    pinenut Active Member 10 Years

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    Thanks Margaret. The plants have just undergone winter and a certain amount of neglect. Sooo they look pretty crappy next to Shotgun's. Junglekeeper will just freak. And I have to figure out a digital camera all over again.

    On the upside: there are bright red cherries on the parent plant.
    Carl
     
  9. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    I'd like to see what your tree looks like too, pinenut. You may want to post the pictures to the original thread to maintain continuity.
     
  10. Kada

    Kada Active Member 10 Years

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    in my opinion and growing them outdoors (tropical here): more light :)
     
  11. Laticauda

    Laticauda Active Member

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    Ya know, I'm noticing a trend here. Is it just me, or do our animals stalk everything we are doing. I see your cat there, and all I can think about is how my dog is in almost every picture I've taken of a plant on the ground. Maybe she's just waiting for me to look away, so she can try to eat it...bad dog :(
     
  12. pinenut

    pinenut Active Member 10 Years

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    I'll see what I can do. First I have to get Lillian to leave the camera at home. On the one hand you'll be horrified, on the other you'll be interested to see what a position next to a window at -40 degrees will show about their hardiness.
    Carl
     
  13. Shotgun Scherling

    Shotgun Scherling Member

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    I have three cats, and two of them love to eat my houseplants. They know they aren't supposed to, but they do it anyways. Maybe they don't like me giving attention to my plants instead of them, so they conspire to kill the plants...

    Whatever their intentions are, I have a spray bottle full of water to squirt them when they get out of line.
     
  14. pinenut

    pinenut Active Member 10 Years

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    It worked. See "my coffee tree" , this forum.
    Carl
     
  15. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Continuing on this thought I think the form is also affected by cultural conditions, more so than other plants. I gave my neighbors one of my trees about a year ago. They recently showed it to me and I was shocked to see how different it looked from mine. The branches were longer and nearly straight whereas mine are somewhat arching or S-shaped. It was less dense but had a thicker stem. The only thing they now have in common is the height. It was eye-opening.

    This reminds me to update a thread I had started some years ago regarding this plant's hardiness. Update to come.
     
  16. cookie_mccool

    cookie_mccool Active Member

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    Location:
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    My cat ate a piece of every single leaf of my coffee plant. I came home from work and all the leaves were stuck together with huge thick wads of slime, like some alien had invaded the house, even though it's my understanding that coffee leaves are untasty. I kept looking around to make sure there wasn't a facehugger lurking in the shower...
     

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