The Q&A Archives: Yellowing Of Leaves On Coffea Arabica

Question: I have two coffee seedlings (Coffea arabica, maybe eight inches high, about 10-12 leaves on each). I am growing them indoors in regular potting soil and am fertilizing them with Osmocote. I have them in medium, indirect light, and water them whenever the soil appears dry on top. Lately, the lowest leaves on the plant have been slowly yellowing, maybe taking two or three weeks before they actually wilt and die. The veins remain green longest, and are the last portion of the leaf to turn yellow. The plants are continuing to put out new leaves at the apical meristems, and these new leaves are a healthy green. I'm concerned that the yellowing may proceed upward and affect the entire plant over time. Can you tell me what I may be doing wrong?

Answer: Your coffee plants are actually trees so their behavior is normal. If you want them to be bushy plants, pinch out the terminal buds on the ends of the stems. This will force growth toward the center and result in a compact shrub instead of a bare-trunked tree. Coffee plants make great houseplants and the conditions you're providing sound perfect. Enjoy your plants!

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