Arabica Coffee is one of two main species that make up global coffee supply. Arabica is a smaller plant (3-5m), producing abundant and high quality beans. Compared to the other species, Coffea robusta, Arabica is said to be less acidic, more flavorful and with a lower caffeine content. Robusta is also a much larger plant but is said to produce higher yields. However, Arabica is a nicer looking plant and is also said to have more cold tolerance. It can also be pruned an maintained as a small shrub, making it the best type of coffee to grow in backyards.
Cold weather is the enemy of the Coffee plant. They will not handle frost at all, and any prolonged temperatures below zero will also be severely detrimental. This aside, Arabica Coffee grows well around Brisbane. In fact, there are major plantations in nearby areas such as Byron Bay. If you live in a particularly cold part of Brisbane and are worried about your plant in cold weather, you can bring it indoors over winter. Coffee grows best in part shade or dappled sun.
Growing Arabica Coffee is fairly straight forward, but they are somewhat demanding plants. They will not tolerate dry conditions for long, and need good soils to remain looking vigorous and attractive. Plants can be grown in pots, but they will need regular up-sizing as they outgrow their containers. Lack of water usually results in browning of the leaf margins, which spoils the appearance of the plant and likely reduces yields. Adequate moisture is also the trigger for flowering, with masses of fragrant white flowers produced after a rain event in Spring or Summer. Most Arabica varieties take around three year before they produce their first crop.
Arabica Coffee seems fairly prone to attack by mealybug and scale, especially when plants are moisture-stressed over summer. Take special care to target the insects on leaf undersides and in the axils when applying insecticide.
Fairly easy to grow, but demanding. Requires rich, free-draining acidic soil in part shade or dappled sun. Water regularly in summer to prevent leaf damage in hot weather. Use quality fertilizer such as Troforte or Organic Link regularly to produce strong growth.
Glossy dark green leaves