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Native grasses and friends. An exciting thing is happening in the world of Australian plants. Wild species that have tantalised gardeners in the past are now being improved to create a diverse palette of new varieties that offer all kinds of advantages. In particular, the necessity for water-wise, low maintenance gardens has inspired interest in plants that can be used as ground covers that will not only suppress weeds and erosion but also look fantastic.
The coffee plant is a highly decorative perennial shrub or small tree that grows in tropical to more temperate climates. It has dense glossy green foliage, fragrant white flowers followed by attractive berries. The berries are green , then turn yellow, then red when mature. When dry the berries turn black.
Coffee bushes like a moist, free draining, fertile soil. They like a sunny or partly shaded position, preferably protected from strong winds. Regular watering and fertilising produces best growth, and a thick mulch will keep weeds down and improve the soil.
There are several species of coffee that are grown. Coffea arabica is the most highly regarded. Coffea canephora, which is the robusta form, is hardier and more disease resistant than arabica, and will grow in a wider area. Robusta will grow in warmer areas and lower altitudes where arabica may not flourish. Robusta coffee is more bitter and less flavoursome than arabica, but has better body.
Coffee beans are ground before brewing. Green coffee beans can be brewed, and the resultant drink resembles tea. Coffee beans are usually roasted before use. This can be done by the home grower. They are roasted in a skillet or wok, over heat. A heat gun for paint stripping can also be used with a metal bowl. It is best to roast coffee beans outdoors, as chaff and smoke is produced in the process. The beans first turn yellow, then start to steam, and then crack. They are ready once they crack, but can be left on the heat to roast further if desired. More heating will darken the final product.
Flower colour: White
Flowering season: summer
Coffee flowers are fragrant
Maximum height: 5 metres
Minimum height: 2 metres
Maximum width: 3 metres
Minimum width: not specified
This plant will tolerate full or partial sunlight.
Medium frost tolerance.
Plant is not salt tolerant.
This plant species will grow in the following climates: cool, temperate, subtropical, tropical.
Loam: moist, well-drained.
Clay: moist, well-drained.
Planting season: Any.
Types of fertiliser: Good general purpose fertiliser.