Grow a Kona Coffee Plant

coffee-plantation-understory trees
The Kona coffee plant is a variety of Coffea arabica. Arabica Coffee is a shade plant that grows in misty tropical mountains, so it’s fairly easy to give a coffee plant what it needs, basically it likes temperatures, humidity and light that people prefer.

How to Grow a Coffee Plant


Kona Coffee can grow outside in Florida, the Gulf shore and California most anywhere avocados or oranges  will grow, provided it it has shade and protection from cold temperatures and winds. It can be grown completely indoors though or moved outside when temperatures are warm.

Coffee is now grown commercially (!) in coastal California from Santa Barbara to San Diego underneath avocado trees. In California it must be grown in the shade and watered frequently, a sprinkler system watering every other day is good and given a light acid fertilizer to counteract the alkaline water and soils.


coffee leaves with green berries make a good houseplant
Coffee makes a good houseplant with its beautiful deep green leaves

Coffee bushes grow naturally in the shade, in the house they should be near a bright window but not directly in the sunlight. You could put them in the sunny window with a sheer curtain. Outside: If you put it outside for warm weather, then you must be careful not to put it in bright sun is it will burn quickly. It’s best to move it slowly into brighter light, keep it in full shade and slowly move it towards filtered shade under a tree for example.


Coffee plants prefer temperatures that stay consistently above 65 F. (18 C.) and below 95 F. Freezing temperatures will kill them. Bring them in the house before Frost. Keep them out of the cold winter time drafts in the house.

Coffee is  grown commercially in coastal California from Santa Barbara to San Diego underneath avocado trees

Graphic of Pot-in-gravel-tray-above-waterline
1 ) Keep the pot out of standing water. It can be placed in a tray with a bit of gravel where the water will evaporate providing humidity.


Coffee grows in the understory of cool, often cloudy, damp tropical mountains. Moist but not soggy soil with good drainage is required. Make sure the pot also drains well and that it’s not in standing water. Coffee leaves will droop when they don’t have enough water. A wooden coffee stir stick can be left in the pot soil and if it feels moist it should be okay but if this stick feels dry you need to add water. Small quantity frequent watering is best.

The humidity around the plant will need to stay high as well. Put your coffee plant near the humidifier in typical very dry winter homes or a water-filled pebble tray will help with humidity. You can also mist the plant with purified water, many Hawaii plants suffer from low humidity in closed-up winter homes.



Coffee flower
White fragrant coffee flowers of Kona coffee smell wonderful, but you will have to hand pollinate if it’s indoors


A light commercial potting mix with extra peat moss. The extra peat moss helps with maintaining an acid soil. Alkaline water typical of California and Texas may require the addition of an acid fertilizer. Plants frequently fail to thrive in both indoors and outdoors when they have the wrong soil acidity.
Coffee grows quickly and should be repotted every spring into a larger pot in the new potting mix will also help.


It needs less water and fertilizer in the winter than in the summer. A light balanced fertilizer once every to two three months, or slow release or sticks are great for spring and summer growth.


Coffee berries on branch
Red ripe coffee “cherries” ready to pick

Outside in summer make shoot your coffee plant stays in full shade and receives water at least every other day.

Flowers and Beans

Coffee has showy, charming white flowers that are quite fragrant. They put on a great show but it must be hand pollinated if they are inside, use a small painters brush to move pollen between flowers. Outside in summer bees will pollinate them and you will have coffee beans. They are ready when they are completely red.


Kona Coffee Lovers Gift Set -Live Plant and Coffee


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