Aren’t coffee trees just beautiful, with their glossy green leaves? Especially young coffee trees have become wildly popular as houseplants because they thrive indoors due to their shade tolerance.
Most coffee trees (from which we get our coffee beans) primarily grow in warm climates all year round, like the highlands of Ethiopia, Hawaii, Colombia, and Mexico. Because of that, winters in places like Japan can be particularly harsh for them, making winter care an absolute must.
So, let’s dive into three crucial tips for helping your coffee tree survive the winter chill.
Tips for Surviving the Winter
1- Maintain a Minimum of 50°F (10°C), Ideally 59°F (15°C) or More
Coffee trees prefer temperatures between 68°F and 77°F (20°C to 25°C). Below 59°F (15°C), their growth pretty much comes to a halt, and their roots also lose the ability to absorb water.
If the temperature drops below 46°F (8°C), the plant itself weakens and could even die. Therefore, you should aim to maintain a minimum temperature of 50°F (10°C) and ideally, 59°F (15°C) or more. And naturally, you’ll need a thermometer to keep track.
Quick Tip: Digital thermometers that also measure humidity are very easy to read and are highly recommended.
- Human Comfort Zone: Around 64°F to 81°F (18°C to 27°C), 40% to 60% humidity
- Coffee Tree Comfort Zone: Around 68°F to 86°F (20°C to 30°C), around 70% humidity
Mist Your Coffee Tree in Dry Winters: A spray bottle can help maintain air humidity around your plant and prevent the leaves from drying out.
2- Water Every 2-3 Days After the Soil Dries Out
In the colder months, the coffee tree’s ability to absorb water decreases. If you continue to water as you would in warmer seasons, you risk root rot and cold water damage.
To avoid this, water your plant only after the soil has dried out and has remained dry for an additional 2-3 days. Also, try to water during the warmest part of the day.
Some folks rely on moisture meters to manage their watering schedules, but in my experience, these gadgets haven’t been all that effective.
Instead, I recommend the good ol’ finger test. Just stick your finger into the soil up to the second knuckle. If you feel moisture, put that watering can down! But if the soil feels dry, go ahead and water your plant.
It’s super easy, and this way you only water your plant when it really needs it, without having to keep a constant eye on a schedule.
3 – Avoid Panicking by Exposing to Strong Sunlight or Giving Unnecessary Fertilizer
As winter approaches and the chill sets in, your coffee plant might start looking a bit under the weather compared to its vibrant self during warmer months.
Whatever you do, don’t panic and start feeding it extra fertilizer or exposing it to strong sunlight. Trust me, that could backfire and cause even more harm to the plant.
I get it—when you see those withered leaves and dull coloring, your first instinct might be to perk it up with some nutrients or a blast of sunlight.
But remember, coffee plants aren’t too fond of the cold, so it’s natural for them to lose a bit of their luster during the winter. Sometimes the best thing you can do is stick to the basics and patiently wait for spring to arrive.
Unless you’ve got a professional greenhouse setup, maintaining a coffee plant in peak condition through winter indoors can be a real challenge. Here’s what you can do at home:
- Keep the temperature between 50-59°F (10-15°C) and be consistent about it.
- Space out your watering schedule to help the plant prepare for the cold.
- Maintain humidity by misting the leaves.
- Place the plant in a well-ventilated area that gets plenty of light.
We’ve explored how to winterize your coffee plants, and let’s be real, it’s a bit of a challenge. Why? Because coffee plants just aren’t fans of the cold. But if you follow the basic winter care tips we’ve shared, you’ll help your plant survive even the harshest winter.
If you don’t have a thermometer or hygrometer, buying one is your first step to successfully winterizing your coffee plant.
And let’s face it, if the leaves look worse for wear due to the cold, you can’t really reverse the damage. But the silver lining? Come spring, your coffee plant will unfurl new leaves one after another.
Those shiny new leaves will naturally camouflage the damaged ones, so you’ll hardly notice them. Although it’s not a perfect solution, the key to a thriving coffee plant is, essentially, ‘surviving the winter.’
Three Top Tips for Winter Care of Coffee Plants:
- Aim for at least 50°F (10°C), but ideally keep it above 59°F (15°C).
- Water the plant only after the soil has been dry for about 2–3 days.
- Don’t impulsively expose the plant to strong sunlight or give it unnecessary fertilizer.