By Laurelynn Martin and Byron Martin
Roselle Jamaican Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa)
Popular beverages, such as Coffee (Coffea Arabica), Tea (Camellia sinensis), and Cocoa (Theobroma cacao), are world renown and easy plants to grow and harvest. A couple more plants that we recommend adding to your favorite beverage list are Yerba Mate’ (Ilex paraguariensis) much like green tea loaded with anti-oxidants, and Roselle Hibiscus Tea (Hibiscus sabdariffa), which is high in Vitamin C.
Let’s start with a well-known plant like coffee. The enjoyment and ritual around a morning cup of coffee has become an obsession, and now people drink coffee throughout the day. Growing your own coffee beans is fun and easy for the gardener.
Check out our video on growing your own coffee and Visit our You Tube channel for more great video’s on growing all types of tasty tropical treats!
How to Grow your own Coffee
By Laurelynn Martin and Byron Martin
Coffee is a popular beverage around the world. In America alone, 54% of the population over age 18, consume coffee everyday (National Coffee Association 2014). Every few years, a new study comes out and tells us something new about coffee consumption. Lately, the research has been pointing to health benefits such as: long term coffee consumption can reduce the risk of diabetes, slow the progression of liver cancer, lessen the risk of Parkinson’s disease and is reported to not have any ill effects with regards to heart disease or stroke (Harvard School of Public Health 2015). Coffee consumption is not going away. Instead, the enjoyment and ritual around a morning cup of coffee has become an obsession. Growing your own coffee beans is now a key part of that obsession.
To View Logee’s Coffee plants, click here
About this time in mid-July, slow release fertilizers and granular fertilizers that have been top-dressed are losing their effect and your plants may be looking yellow and lackluster. Lots of rain or heavy irrigation can also leach nutrients from the soil. Now is a good time to give your garden a fertilizer boost for full, lush growth and maximum flowering and fruiting
Guardian Gate Collection
A good top-dressing of an organic fertilizer will last 4-6 weeks or a balanced slow-release fertilizer can last 8-12 weeks. We don’t recommend heavily fertilizing in late August because plants that are susceptible to root disease need to stop putting on soft leafy growth. Most citrus and gardenias, for example, have a root system that can be susceptible to root disease and it is important to “harden off” the growth before bringing them inside for the fall and winter.
Coffee plant, leaves are yellow, in need of feed.
Healthy coffee plant- Notice the deep green color of the leaves.
- Guardian Gate Collection
Last week, we were invited to NYC as guests on the Martha Stewart Show. (see logee blog- How to Grow Tabletop Citrus Jan 13, 2010). We love sharing our tropical plants with Martha and her audience. The week before the show, we choose the plants. We work with the producers and send them pictures, growing information and highlights of each plant. Getting ready for the show is a company wide task and our growers were all hands on deck the day before.
Rick Logee, our greenhouse manager, Laurie Robillard and Napa Howe, greenhouse growers are pictured polishing leaves, repotting specimens and grooming the plants. We rank what plants would be the best but mostly Mother Nature chooses what plants ultimately go on the show. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which plants will be in bloom or fruit in 4-5 days.The morning we left for NYC was filled with activity. I picked up the white rental van (non-commercial) so we could drive on the Merritt Parkway, while Byron gathered eighteen different mother plants into one warm spot.
We had to have a warm vehicle waiting to minimize exposure to the elements while loading our weather sensitive plants in our Northeast Connecticut freezing climate.
Three and half-hours later at 4:00 we arrived at the NYC Studios. We unloaded our plants and broke them into two groups- the segment for citrus (see blog Jan. 13) and the segment for Flowering Winter/Unusual Plants. The Winter/Unusual Plants that ultimately went on the show were Coffee (Coffea a
rabica)- the coffee of commerce; Bougainvillea ‘Vera Purple’- a colorful, everbloomer ; ‘Desert Rose’ and ‘Uranus’ (Adenium obesum) two unique plants in flower with an unusual caudex form; “Golden Brush” (Burbedgia scheizochelia) – a ginger with brilliant orange flowers; and ‘Yerbe Mate’ (Ilex paraguariensis)- the foliage that’s famous for Mate’ tea.
We had to be at the studio by 8 am the next morning for the 10:00 am live show. During those two hours Byron rehearsed with Barbara, one of the producers. Martha and Byron have great charisma together and were like old friends catching up on the horticultural scene. We left the Sunquat for Martha since she didn’t have one in her collection. After the show, I dropped Byron at Laguardia airport. He was on his way to a tropical plants show in Florida and I drove back to Connecticut with a warm van filled with tropical plants and flowers.