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Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014
Lifestyle Stories

What’s Blooming in the Bette S. Walker Discovery Garden?

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Wild Coffee

Psychotria nervosa

I wrote about this lovely large shrub in May 2012, but I need to write about it again for a few reasons.

1. It’s a great plant.

2. We have lots of it.

3. You can stop by the Extension office this week only, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, if you’d like some we have pruned! Wild coffee is a large native shrub that can reach a height and spread of 4 to 10 feet. It thrives in partial sun and partial shade. This plant performs well in any type soil, from clay loam to sandy loam, from sand to sandy clay. Soil pH can be acid or alkaline, 6.0 to 7.2.

Soil moisture should be well drained. This shrub has medium drought and salt tolerance. From spring through summer, wild coffee sports small white flowers producing red fruit that provides food for wildlife. The red fruit resembles coffee beans. The leaves are shiny and dark green.

It can be used as a hedge, border or specimen plant and in mass planting. Our wild coffee is planted as a hedge at our front entrance. Although it is cold tender, it does come back year after year, as do mine at home. This is a great plant for attracting birds and butterflies. For information about wild coffee, please see the University of Florida publication from which this article was adapted, “Psychotria nervosa Wild Coffee,” by Edward F. Gilman, at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fp494.

Lynn Barber

The Bette S. Walker Discovery Garden is one of several demonstration gardens at the UF/IFAS Hillsborough County Extension Service, 5339 County Road 579, Seffner.

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