I wasn't all that fond of Coffea when I first wrote its profile, back in 2008. I mean, I didn't hate it, either, but the foliage on my plant was pretty plain, it grew faster than some plants but not as fast as others, the form wasn't particularly exciting, it didn't flower, etc. I mean, it was a nice enough plant, but it didn't really stand out in the crowd for me.
That all started to change around this time last year, after I began using fertilizer with trace elements at every watering. I knew before this that my plant was probably not getting as much of something as it wanted, because the new growth was occasionally chlorotic, but I was still surprised at how rapid and extreme the reaction to the fertilizer was. A year after this picture was taken --
-- I happened to be pulling the plant out of its spot in the corner of the plant room, when I noticed two things. One, the plant has nearly doubled in height:
Which is pretty cool all by itself. Second, though, I think I may be getting flowers soon, 'cause I noticed these buds:
And, I think the flowers are supposed to be self-fertile, so there's a decent shot at getting berries eventually, which interests me quite a bit. Even if there are never berries, I'll be pretty happy, though: I'm very interested in what the flowers smell like.
Whatever happens with the flowers and berries and so forth, C. arabica somehow managed to sneak onto my favorite plants list without me noticing until now. It's given me very little trouble (the aforementioned chlorosis, and a recent tendency of the smaller plants in the pot to get crowded out by the larger ones, but that's about it), it grows a lot faster when it has . . . nutrients available (*cough*), the leaves are shiny, and it's where coffee comes from. I suppose I could ask for something easier to propagate, but aside from that, what's not to like?
(P.S.: I realize it's hard to tell from those pictures that the plant's nearly doubled in height, but you'll just have to trust me. It's presently about 4 feet / 1.3 m tall, and has lived here for a little over five years, which is, one, just about exactly the height when they're supposed to start flowering, and two, a couple years late. Which is not surprising, given the whole lack-of-fertilizer thing.)