I’ve written on growing coffee in North Florida before, and on my survival plant profile for coffee, Kakunka relates his own experience in the same area:
I’m not the guy you met at Kanapaha, but I do live in the area, I’ve been growing coffee and tea here for a number of years. . . I try not to bring anything in the house, unless absolutely necessary . . . Extended periods of cold or super hard freezes. I cover up around freezing and a bit below. Occasionally, I’ll get some scorching from the cold. Of course, living next to a lake helps the microclimate. Your observations about seed are fairly accurate, plant seeds from fresh ripe berries, after separating the twin seeds from the cherry. I’ve never rooted a plant, but apparently that’s not an uncommon technique. The temperatures here in the summer are probably not ideal, and you definitely don’t want sun on your plants all day here. They are, however, fairly forgiving plants so long as you don’t let them freeze, drown, or desiccate.
My observations are fairly accurate? He obviously spelled “frighteningly” wrong.
The sun is an issue. My Coffea arabica plant hated too much direct sun and would scorch in the summer heat. It’s brutal in North Florida summers.
The south wall method for zone-pushing I describe in Push the Zone keeps them alive through the winter, though – with no protection whatsoever except the wonderful thermal mass of a wall.
That said, the growing conditions for coffee just aren’t that great in Florida overall. I got into a big discussion with Kona coffee grower Gary Strawn over that topic and he really lays out the difficulty in getting a solid crop even in ideal conditions, let alone sub-optimal ones.
Speaking of ideal conditions, right now it’s about 74 degrees outside and sunny. Just how I like to spend Christmas vacation.
Last year I was harvesting coffee with Rachel around this time of year.
I need to go check on those trees again and see if there’s anything to pick.
But for now, it’s time to eat bacon and eggs, then hit the beach.