Coffea arabica
Common Name: coffee 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Rubiaceae
Native Range: Tropical Africa
Zone: 10 to 11
Height: 6.00 to 15.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 15.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Other: Winter Interest


Winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-11. Best grown in organically rich, well-drained soils in filtered sun or light shade. Keep soils consistently moist but not soggy. Plants prefer climates with daytime temperatures of 70-80°F and nighttime temperatures of 60-65°F. Leaf drop may occur when temperatures dip below 55°F. Plants may be grown indoors in containers with a fast-draining potting soil. Indoor plants like bright sunny windows, but when taken outdoors appreciate light shade. Plants first flower when they reach 3-4 years old. Fertilize during the growing season.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Coffea arabica, commonly called Arabian coffee, is an upright tropical evergreen shrub or small tree that grows to 10-15’ tall. Although native to Ethiopia, Arabian coffee has been cultivated in Arabia for over 1000 years. It is now commercially grown in subtropical and tropical areas throughout the world. In coffee plantations, plants are kept trimmed to 6’ tall for ease of harvest and best production. Indoor container plants typically grow to about 4-6’ tall. Plants feature (a) glabrous, glossy, elliptical, dark green leaves with prominent veins and wavy margins, (b) fragrant (resembles the aroma of jasmine), star-shaped, white flowers that bloom in axillary clusters of 2-9, (c) green two-seeded fruits (berries) that gradually mature to yellow, light red and finally deep red and (d) fissured bark on older branches. Berries are edible with a pulpy grape-like texture, but it is the seeds (coffee beans) that are coveted. Berries are picked by hand when ripe and depulped, with the extracted seeds/beans then dried in the sun before roasting. Coffee beans contain caffeine.

Genus name comes from the Arabic word kahwah meaning beverage.

Specific epithet means of Arabia.


Watch for scale, mealybug, thrips, caterpillars and mites.


In frost free climates, it is grown commercially for production of coffee beans or ornamentally as a specimen or in shrub borders. Elsewhere, it makes an attractive container plant for sun rooms that can be taken outside to patio areas in summer.