Saturday, March 30, 2013

Random plant event: Coffea arabica

And now there are Coffea arabica seedlings.

Those of you who were following along were probably expecting to see this post sooner or later, and may not find it that interesting, but it's a big deal to me, 'cause I've been nervous about it for the last few weeks.

I'd let the first batch of seeds dry for eight weeks, because I had read that that was the way to get the best germination. Then when it came time to sow the seeds, I looked online for information about the best planting depth, and all the sites I found were warning me that internal moisture was critical for germination, and if I let the seeds dry out for more than like 12 hours then I may as well just throw them away, because they'd never sprout.

I'm pleased to report that those websites are full of crap. Not only is it possible to sprout a Coffea arabica seed after drying it for eight weeks, but the seeds I treated that way are the only ones that sprouted at all. So far, at least.

As of last Wednesday night (27 March), I had six sprouts, which I have helpfully circled in the photo because you probably wouldn't be able to see them otherwise:

They were started on 18 February, so that means 37 days from sowing to seeing something happen, which is within the usually quoted germination time of 1-3 months. So everything seems to be happening as expected so far. The non-sprouters have another six or seven weeks to go before I start thinking about giving up on them, and probably another three or four weeks after that before I actually give up on them.

Not that all would be lost if these six are all I get; the parent plant is forming a new crop of berries already, so I will have another set of seeds to plant around December, no matter what happens with this first batch.

EDIT: As of Saturday morning, there are eight seedlings up, in total. The two newest ones are also from the dried-for-eight-weeks group.

EDIT: As of Sunday evening, there are fourteen seedlings emerging. They're all from the dried-for-eight-weeks group. Drying them for eight weeks before planting may or may not be how one is supposed to do it, but it seems to work.


Ginny Burton said...

Congratulations to the proud papa!

Pat said...


I never believe any seed is going to sprout. I have at least one of everything I sowed this year so I am overjoyed.