Growing Coffee and Jicama
Answered by: Richters Staff
Question from: Emily A. Boyd
Posted: Before April 1998

I am interested in both the coffee (item #S1835) and jicama (item #S8420) seeds. I have not found these items in any other catalogs and have never grown them. Before ordering, I would like to know if you have culture instructions available. I am in Zone 9.

Coffee is slow to germinate and develop from seeds. We soak our seeds in water over night before sowing. It is important for the seeds to absorb water otherwise germination will not begin. Bottom heat of 25-30 degrees Celsius is helpful. Germination takes 3-6 months. At first, the seed cases are pushed out of the soil and the leaves do not emerge until weeks later when the seed cases finally break down. It takes several years to get a tree 1-3 feet tall. Coffee prefers partial shade and a well-drained, moist soil.

Jicama, also known as the ‘yam bean’ (Pachyrhizus tuberosus) is easier to grow from seeds than coffee. It grows best in full sun in rich, light, sandy soil with good drainage. It is a tropical plant requiring 6-8 months of warm weather to mature. In temperate areas, the tubers will be smaller, but they can be wintered indoors in soil and planted outdoors the second year. The turnip-like tubers are delicious as a food both raw and cooked. The seeds have insecticidal properties owing to their rotenone content.

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