Real World Gardener GROW Coffee Trees in Plant of the Week

July 8th, 2016

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at  and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network.

The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition.


Coffea arabica Coffee Tree

 Would you like to grow a relatively problem free large shrub  or small tree that grows well in sub-tropical and cooler climates? 

Coffea arabica

Not only that, but in as little as three years the ( coffee) tree will be covered with white, jasmine-scented flower clusters.  

Then is followed by masses of green berries that mature to a beautiful cherry-red?What could this plant be?

Let’s find out. I'm talking with the plant panel:Karen Smith, editor of Hort Journal  and Jeremy Critchley, The Green Gallery wholesale nursery owner.

Coffea arabica is a small understorey tree, 2 to 8 m tall, with unusual horizontal branching, and jasmine scented white star-shaped flowers that appear all along the branches. Its leaves are evergreen and usually shiny.

When Jeremy was living in Tanzania coffee plantations were under-planting nut trees.
In Laos, the trees were trimmed to 3 - 4 metres in height in plantations to make it easier for mechanical harvesting. These were also an understorey plant.

So, what sort of micro climate do you need to grow coffee? 

Coffee prefers temperatures between 15 and 24 degrees C, although if it’s within the range of 7-30 degrees C, it will still grow quite well. 

Choose a shady spot, sheltered from cold or hot winds.

Coffee berries on Coffea arabica

Frost is the big enemy in cooler climates, and below -2 degrees C  will probably kill the plant. 

The good news is that home-grown coffee doesn’t get any pests or diseases.

Did you know that coffee has been grown in Australia for over 200 years?

Why it stopped for a while was because labour costs made it unviable but with mechanical harvesting, the interest and growth of plantations saw a resurgence from the 1980’s.

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