Published on 27-09-2019 by Admin

Growing Arabica Coffee

Compendium on growing arabica coffee


Naturally, arabica coffee (Coffea arabica) is an understorey component of tropical forests. It is a small tree, frequently multi-stem, whose size rarely exceeds 10 m high.

Arabica coffee appreciates shaded and cool environments. Optimal temperatures for its growth average 20 to 22°C., with extremes from 4°C to 35°C. Climates with well contrasted dry and wet seasons, either mono- or bi-modal, are suitable for its development as long as total precipitation is about 1500mm to 1800mm and that a period without rain does not exceed 2.5 months. Hence its distribution in Africa in mountainous or highlands regions is within the range of 1500 m to 2000 m elevation (as opposed to C. canephora Robusta distribution in humid, lowland areas).

Like all living organisms, coffee plants need to feed, drink and breath. Once these are both qualitatively and quantitatively ensured, the plant will grow and multiply in such a way that profitable crop production is obtained.

Aiming for this goal, farmers and scientists have designed a set of practices to ensure good health and vigor of the coffee plant. These are detailed in the following pages, addressing the various stages of coffee cultivation.

Seedlings production: How to set up and manage a nursery.

Coffee nurseries are organized to operate in two successive steps: plantlet production from germinated seeds and seedling production from plantlets.

For these purposes, the nursery includes:

  •  "seed-beds", best adapted for seed germination, and 
  • "nursery-beds" where plantlets are transferred and allowed to grow till they reach the correct stage for transfer to the field.

1-Building the nursery

Where to build the nursery?

on flat ground

not exposed to strong winds

on non-floodable land

near a permanent water point

protected from land erosion

easy to access, and close to houses

How big should it be?


The nursery should be designed to match your needs in seedlings. These of course depend on the size of your plot and the density you want to plant. But it also depends on various losses or accidents that may occur during the seedling production process. 

Calculate the number of seeds to buy:





Nursery beds


Average losses





For one hectare (2666 coffee trees), you need 4.100 seeds. 

This corresponds to:

Surface of seed-beds (sown at 2 cm × 5 cm)    =   4.1 m²

Surface of seedling-beds (1 bag = 0.015 m²)    =      50.0 m²


Prepare the nursery design.

Copyright © 2019