Want to grow California coffeeberry? You’re in for a treat!
Not from eating the berry, that is. Because it’s got nothing to do with coffee other than its looks.
Not to burst your bubble. You probably wanted to harvest your own coffee in your backyard so you don’t to shell out that $5 for a cup at your local green and white coffeeshop.
But they’re only called “coffee” because of the coffee colors of the fruits.
This perennial evergreen shrub is perfect for drought or dry climates. It’s also easily adaptable to most environments and can tolerate drought when it’s established.
This makes it a good shrub for beginners!
It can tolerate temperature swings as low as 20F, hardy to pests, and even thrives on little to no water.
This shrub can be used for everything from designer hedges to erosion blockage. It even only needs once a year pruning!
With low maintenance, it produces plenty of berries that range in color against dark green foliage.
This is why people grow coffeeberry! The berries are a sight to behold on a hedge plant.
Imagine that. A perfectly trimmed background hedge with berries.
Let’s learn about how to grow and care for coffeeberry!
Last updated: 6/20/22.
Quick care guide: California coffeeberry
|Plant type||Perennial evergreen shrub|
|Origin||Western North America|
|Scientific name||Frangula californica
|Other names||Jojoba, California Buckthorn, Buckthorn, Rhombus californica|
|Soil type||Fertile, loamy, well-draining, nutrient-dense, organic|
|Soil pH||5.0-6.8 (acidic)|
|Sunlight requirement||Full sun, at least 6-8 hours per day.
Partial sun for higher zones.
|Bloom season||Spring, summer|
|Colors||Green, lime green, yellow, Burgundy, brown, tan, white, red.|
|Max height||20 feet|
|Max width||20 feet (if not grown vertically)|
|Low temperature tolerance||20F|
|High temperature tolerance||100F|
|Ideal temperature range||70-90F|
|Humidity||Moderate (50% or higher)|
|Watering requirements||1-2 inches of water per week, adjust as needed|
|Fertilizer requirements||Moderate, use max dosage in spring/summer, supplement with high potassium|
|Plant food NPK||10-10-10 or 4-8-4|
|Days until germination||30-45 days|
|Days until harvest||August-October, not edible|
|Bloom time||60-90 days|
|Speed of growth||Moderate|
|Hardiness zones||USDA hardiness zones 7-9|
|Plant depth||0.25-0.50 inches for seeds, plant based on the depth of leaf nodes on the cutting.
Deciduous: The crown should be a few inches below the soil line
Evergreen: Plant root ball crown the same depth as the soil line
|Plant spacing||10 feet|
|Plant with||Toyon, ceanothus, smokebush, oak, lilac|
|Don't plant with||Competing vine plants, other coffeeberry plants that are too close|
|Propagation method||Cuttings, pre-grown, seed|
|Common pests||Aphids, whiteflies|
|Grown in container||Yes|
|Care level||Low (very easy for beginners)|
|Best uses||Bordering, pathing, lattices, decor, hedges, designer plants, backdrops, drought-tolerant gardens|
Coffeeberry is part of the Rhamnaceae family.
The Rhamnus group contains over 125 species in total, with some of them being coffeeberries.
They’re called Frangula California, otherwise known as California coffeeberry or California buckthorn. They’re one of the members of the group.
The actual California coffeeberry is an evergreen shrub that’s commonly grown as a hedge plant or landscaping piece because of its nice dark brown coloration.
They can be used as background plants or complementary plants to other shrubs. The plant is drought tolerant so it’s perfect for dry conditions.
These plants grow in the wild from Southern Oregon to Baja California. It’s also found in Nevada, Arizona, and even spans across New Mexico.
The actual fruit of coffeeberry is quite compact. They grow up to 3 feet tall by 10 feet wide. Domesticated coffeeberry doesn’t grow quite as tall or wide as wild species, which can peak up to 14 feet in height!
But that depends on how it’s raised, the coffeeberry type, and where it’s grown (hardiness zone).
It’s a flowering shrub that flowers and will produce small berries of brown, green, or burgundy. The foliage is dark green, which makes the berries stand out in color.
So in summary, coffeeberry is a flowering, berry-producing plant evergreen shrub. The berries are inedible to humans but will bring in small animals, birds, and other mammals during fall.
The plant makes an excellent background shrub because of its ease of care. Even if you can’t get to it because it’s tucked away, you rarely need to do any maintenance for it. The leaves are lush and dark green when grown in the shade.
They’re yellowish when grown in the light. Berries can range in color with a nice contrast with the rest of the plant.
There are over 900 different types of plants in the buckthorn family, which contains coffeeberry. California coffeeberry is named that way because of its origins. The shrub is dense and easy to care for.
It does well in drought or drier climates with limited water. Did you know California coffeeberry has a low possibility of catching fire? It’s firewise! That’s why it’s used in areas with high fire risk.
This makes it good for dry landscapes because it can help block fires due to their low chance of burning.
They can also tolerate wildfires because of their hardy nature. They will grow back to their original dense foliage following fires.
Is it easy to grow?
Yes, coffeeberry is extremely easy to grow so it’s suitable for beginners.
The plant does not require much work or effort to produce its berries, so its low maintenance.
California coffeeberry natively grows in CA. They grow in the woodlands, canyons, and brushy chaparrals in the wild. These plants are forgiving for beginner mistakes.
They’ll adapt to the climate and husbandry you provide them with. The native perennial will bloom in late spring to mid-summer, which helps bring in beneficial pollinators to your garden.
This makes it good for wildlife gardens and you can fill it with birds (towhees, thrashers, etc.) with berries. If you’re on a hillside, this plant is excellent for erosion control or dry conditions.
Can you eat coffeeberry?
While the name has “coffee” in it, coffeeberries have absolutely nothing to do with coffee beans or coffee itself.
The only reason they’re called coffeeberry is that the fruit is brown like coffee beans.
Other than that, coffeeberries aren’t related to coffee beans in the slightest- including eating them!
Coffeeberry is not edible and actually may cause adverse effects if eaten. These are used only for landscaping just like most other berry plants (like hollyberry).
Ancient people used to use the leaves to help stop sores or wounds. Some would use the seeds, which can be dried and then ground, which are then brewed into a beverage that has laxative effects.
However, you shouldn’t try this if you don’t know what you’re doing since it can be dangerous. There is no caffeine in coffeeberry, so don’t use it as your morning drink. Coffeeberries have been used in everything from skin care to cooking to laxative use.
Is coffeeberry poisonous?
Coffeeberry shouldn’t be consumed, but there have been many tribes that have used its properties for quite some time. The berries are sweet but nothing like coffee.
The leaves have been used for wounds or rashes. And the fruits themselves have been used as a laxative. They resemble the commercial coffee bean, but can’t be used for coffee. Sadly.
Regardless you should avoid eating it as it can cause adverse reactions unless you know what you’re doing.
Note that there are a lot of plants that produce berries. Some can be poisonous.
Therefore, you should identify coffeeberry and you should confirm it before you plan to consume it. Animals like civets, birds, or small mammals will eat the fruit. It depends on where you’re located.
How to propagate California coffeeberry
There are multiple ways to propagate coffeeberry, but let’s stick with the basics.
You can start from seed or root cuttings, but starting from seed is much easier and that’s super rewarding.
If you choose to start from cuttings, it’s actually more difficult to get a bush going. Germination rates from seed have a higher rate of success compared to starting from cuttings.
Plant multiple cuttings to compensate for this. Sure, seeds do take longer to start and get results, but it’s much more reliable vs. starting from cuttings.
Whatever you choose, here’s how to do both ways to propagate coffeeberry.
Starting from seed
When you start from seed, you get to experience the entire shebang. It’s also more reliable than cuttings, which is why I suggest you try it.
Seeds are easy to germinate, but after they sprout, you need to give it a bit of care in order for them to root. But once rooted, California coffeeberry is hardy to the elements.
Order coffeeberry seeds online, or collect the seeds from existing shrubs.
Sow in the fall or winter in a clearing with no plant debris, weeds, or any other competing plants that may compete for soil nutrients. The soil should be well-draining that retains moisture.
Sow each seed 0.5 inches deep and space each seed 10 feet apart. Water generously so water pathways are built. Keep them moist at all times, but not saturated with water.
Seeds will germinate in about 40-50 days. If your seeds don’t sprout, try sewing again but showing them on the bare surface of the soil. If it rains or is hot, adjust your watering regime accordingly.
Harvesting, collecting, or saving coffeeberry seeds
Seeds can be collected in the summer to fall when the berries are soft. Pick them from the stem. There should be 2-3 seeds per berry.
You can save coffeeberry seeds by gently crushing the berry and then extracting the seeds from it. Clean them with water and then dry them. Store in an envelope to save for next season. Ensure they don’t rot by drying them first. They can be stored in mason jars using tight lids to preserve them.
Put them in the fridge to help extend their storage capacity. Coffeeberry seeds can be saved for up to 10 months in the fridge. Seeds can be sown immediately after you collect them if you don’t wish to store them.
Unlike other berry plants that require cold stratification (gooseberry or baneberry), coffeeberry requires no cold stratification if sown immediately after harvest. But if you store them first, they’ll need to be cold stratified to plant.
If you don’t know what this is, it’s basically exposing them to the cold after beating them up a bit.
Here’s a resource that shows you how to do it in general.
You’ll soak the seeds in distilled water for 24 hours. Then put them into a bag with moistened perlite. Check every week to ensure it’s moist and there’s no fungus or mold growing.
If you notice fungus on the roots of your plants, you can restart or dip the seeds in hydrogen peroxide, then replace them into a new bag with new perlite.
When they germinate, you can plant them in your garden. This will take about 45 days to do so.
If you’re growing in containers or indoors, sow each seed in containers that fit. Individuals can be planted in containers that are at least 5” wide and at the same depth.
Keep them moist at all times by gently spritzing them and using a humidity dome to seal the moisture inside the pot. Standard potting mix with well-draining qualities is key. The soil should be moist, but not wet.
Starting from cuttings
Starting from cuttings is arguably more difficult than seed, but if you have existing coffeeberry shrubs, you can use this as an alternative method of propagation to get a head start on your plants
In the wintertime, collect hardwood cuttings from your shrub. They should be sturdy, and virulent with at least 3 or more nodes on them. Check for cuttings that are at least 0.25” in diameter. The wood should be established.
Next, get a pair of gloves. Put on long sleeves. Get all your PPE ready. Grab your cuttings and dip them in a diluted bleach solution. Follow the warnings on the label and dilute it as written. Make sure you don’t get any on yourself.
The cuttings should be completely sunken on all sides of the branch so it’s completely submerged into the bleach solution.
Rinse them off then dipped for about 5 minutes.
Next, grab your pruners and sterilize them with rubbing alcohol.
Locate one node highest to the growing end of the cutting. Cut off leaves situated below this node, but leave the ones above it. Yes, it’s weird.
Find the last node at the base of the cutting. Cut a 45-degree slice at the part.
Prepare your soil. It should be high quality, well-draining and mixed with some perlite or vermiculite. You can use a ratio of 3 parts perlite to 1 part vermiculite to 2 parts soil.
The location should be wherever you wish to grow the coffeeberry in your garden. If you want lush green, find somewhere with more shade. If you want yellow or color, then plant it somewhere bright and sunny. It’s up to you as the plant will adapt to whatever you choose.
Prepare some holes in the soil with your fingers. The holes should be about 2-3 inches deep so it can fully fit the cutting down to 2 nodes. If you plant in a container, make sure it’s wide enough to accommodate them until the cuttings root.
You can also use some rooting hormones to encourage rooting.
Keep the soil moist during this time. The cuttings can be planted outdoors in the winter right into the springtime, but make sure they get the right shelter by using mulch or insulation during the cold. Remember that these plants will tolerate some temperature changes, but can’t do it until fully rooted.
In about 60 days, you can give the cuttings a slight tug to see if they are rooted. If it’s firm and pulls back, you’re good to go!
Moving to the garden
These bushes are good to go once wintertime hits.
If you move them out in the spring or summer, they’ll waste precious energy on producing flowers, leaves, and branches when they should be focusing on building strong roots.
This is why transferring them in the winter gives them ample time to build up strong root development.
If you’re growing in pots, put the pots into the garden. This will give them some feel for your garden. If you just put them directly into your yard, they can scorch.
Coffeeberry should be acclimated or hardened off first. Put them into the shady areas of your garden first to get them used to it.
If you’re growing in zones 7-10 which includes CA, OR, AZ, NV, or even NM, then you can do so in the fall. This is ideal for moving them into the garden because it’s not too hot and they can focus on root growth.
If you planted directly into the soil already, then you can skip the following section.
The leaves will curl in the summertime to conserve moisture. This is normal and often scares newbies.
Take your pot into the garden but only in a shady spot.
This will harden it off so it can get used to the outside conditions. After a week or so, it should be good to go! You’re ready to plant your California coffeeberry!
Dig a hole that’s just as deep as the root but twice as wide so it can fit easily. Backfill the soil. Water generously. The soil should be a nutrient-dense, well-draining mix.
Remove weeds or other organic matter first. Put a layer of mulch over the soil to help insulate the roots from the cold during the winter.
But ensure that the mulch doesn’t touch the base of the plant. This can lead to mold. There should be about a half-foot of space between the plant and mulch layer. Keep it clear!
Space each plant at least 7 feet apart. This will fill the gaps over time so you can get your own privacy hedge.
But if you don’t want the dense foliage, then place them further apart. Remember that each California coffeeberry bush can cover up to 10 feet of width.
Water generously for the first time to help build water runways.
How to grow California coffeeberry
Coffeeberry requires little to no work once it’s established so it basically cares for itself on its own.
That’s why they’re so good for those that don’t call themselves green thumbs because they don’t need much care when established.
This section covers some basic general care guidelines for California coffeeberry. Your plant’s needs may vary depending on where you live, your coffeeberry type, and local conditions.
Use this care guide as a general summary of what you need to know to grow and care for California coffeeberry.
California coffeeberry grows well in USDA hardiness zones 7-10.
They’re a warm-weather shrub that doesn’t tolerate cold conditions.
This is why they’re native to CA. If you’re in a zone that gets cold in the winter, you may be able to use row covers, mulch, or other plants to shelter it. Winterizing it isn’t necessary if you’re in the right zones.
This plant is very adaptable, resilient, and hardy to temperature change.
California coffeeberry prefers well-draining soil with moisture-retaining properties. It is free of weeds or other materials that may compete for nutrients in the soil profile.
Soil can be loamy, sandy, or clay. Chalk also works. As you know by now, coffeeberry is extremely adaptable to a variety of soil conditions. It’s not picky.
Aim for a soil pH of 5.0-6.8. This plant prefers slightly acidic soil conditions. You can lower pH naturally using limestone or other soil amendments.
Note that pH isn’t critical for your plant to thrive, but it can help your shrub produce more foliage over time. But it’s not gonna make or break your plant.
Some soils will have acidic pH naturally which you can find at your local nursery or home improvement store.
If starting from seed, plant each seed 0.5″ deep. If it doesn’t germinate, try planting 1/5 inch deep instead. These seeds can be planted very close to the surface.
If starting from cuttings, plant based on the depth of the leaf nodes on the cutting.
If transplanting from a nursery plant, plant it the same depth as the original pot.
Space each plant at least 10 feet apart in the garden for direct sowing.
When planting cuttings in pots, you can put up to 5 plants together to germinate. But they must be removed when rooted.
If planting in containers, sow only one plant per pot.
California coffeeberry can tolerate temperatures as low as 20F.
So you can say they’re quite hardy to the cold. They can also withstand scorching temperatures up to the high 90s for sustained periods, as they’re drought tolerant when established.
They do need extra water in the heat and less water when it rains. The ideal range is typical SoCal weather from 70-90F.
This plant will need to be mulched in the fall throughout the winter.
Provide 3 inches of a high-quality mulch so it can help insulate temperature swings. Moisture retaining mulch can help them suppress weeds, thrive in hot conditions, and even reduce watering.
If you’re situated somewhere dry and hot, use a pin or oak-based mulch. Leaf litter can help provide protection from cold and hot swings, and also give some natural plant food.
Coffeeberry grows in moderate humidity environments.
They can tolerate humidity dips as they’re drought-tolerant, so don’t worry about it too much. If you water and keep the soil moist at all times, it should keep the humidity high enough for it to thrive on its own.
You should never have to mist it unless you’re germinating seeds. Otherwise, coffeeberry will grow just fine in your garden with regular watering sessions.
Water your coffeeberry about 2-3 times per month.
This is a drought-tolerant shrub so it requires very little water.
When it rains, that’s enough for it to thrive on very little water. 1” of water per week is enough.
But if it’s during a heatwave, consider watering a bit more.
The nice part about this coffeeberry species is that it requires little to no water in most areas. That makes it extremely hardy for drought-ridden desert environments.
Pruning Buckthorn will need regular pruning, but don’t freak out just yet. The maintenance required for this shrub is so little. Like literally once or twice per year. That’s it!
Prune off parts that look ugly or turning colors.
Spent flowers can also be pruned back. There’s no need to deadhead this plant- it’s a perennial and will reestablish itself in the springtime.
Coffeeberries have a tidy look to them, so even if you don’t prune it, it still looks neat. They can be shaped as you wish with regular light trimming during the summertime to create a formal hedge.
Some types of this plant can even be trimmed to be shaped like miniature designer hedges.
Remove dead branches or extra long ones. Prune when it gets too wide or tall. You can shape it to your desired size. The plants are dense and will fill in quickly so don’t worry about cutting back a bit during the growing season.
By pruning, you discourage pest infestations. You also help encourage more growth from the plant.
So prune it as you wish. Buckthorn is versatile.
Provide at least 6-8 hours of full sun daily.
Excessive sunlight may cause it to wilt or burn if you’re not located in the coastal regions of California.
Coffeeberry can grow in shade, but will generally produce darker color greens.
When grown in full sun, it’ll grow lighter foliage shades of yellow to lime green.
California coffeeberry will adapt to the environments you plant it in. It can grow around taller plants or other shade plants, so it can be paired with shade lovers too.
Partial shade can help reduce watering and it’s one of the few bushes that can tolerate a bit of shade. If you’re on the coast of CA, you can add it to your coastal garden.
Full or partial shade both work with this versatile bush. It’s A perennial, evergreen leaf that can tolerate it being a semi-deciduous shrub plant.
California coffeeberry flowers in the springtime, so a dosage of fertilizer in spring then again in summer will benefit.
Use a balanced plant food with an NPK ratio of 10-10-10 or 8-4-4. Higher nitrogen (N) will help promote more foliage but can result in leggier, skinnier branches.
Even if you don’t feed it, it’ll still adapt to it. But if you wanna maximize the berry production, then some fertilizer is beneficial to its yield.
Larger verities can be allowed to trellis or climb on plant supports. This is up to you.
If you want your coffeeberry to climb, provide the support for it to do so.
Or if you don’t, get a compact cultivar instead. You can keep it trimmed so it never needs plant supports.
Coffeeberry requires no overwintering and will do just fine in the right zone.
If you’re growing it in sunny California, it should require no additional care in the winter.
In cooler zones, it may be smart to put some mulch around the roots to help insulate them. Don’t let the mulch touch the plant. Keep a clearing around it. This plant is extremely adaptable so as long as the temperature remains above 20 F, it should be OK.
This plant can’t be grown indoors other than if you’re starting from seed.
It needs a lot of space to grow.
Can you really fit a 10 foot wide plant in your bedroom? Probably not. It’ll suffer from lack of sunlight as well, so planting indoors isn’t a good idea.
Growing in containers
It’s possible to fully house a single bush in a container if you keep it tidy. Care is relatively the same as garden sown plants.
But you need to water more often, feed more often, and ensure that the soil retains its properties which could mean reseeding it every so often.
So there’s that. If you’re planning to grow coffeeberry in containers, make sure you provide one that’s big enough for its roots to grow.
When the roots come out of the drainage holes, it’s time to give it a bigger pot. If you don’t, it can stunt the growth. Use a well draining soil with plenty of natural fertilizer to provide it with the food it needs to grow.
Planting in containers is handy because you can move it around if needed. But once it’s established and climbing on to trellises or lattices, it’s difficult.
So plan before you do it. Choose a good spot. Keep your plant compact and tidy to make it easier on yourself.
Coffeeberry companion plants
Coffeeberries pair well with other bushy plants of similar stature. Think plants like smokebush, live oak, or lilac. You can also put it in the background as a background shrub while planting shorter ones in the foreground.
Some other plants that pair well with California buckthorn include toyon, ceanothus, or other dry environment plants. They’ll play well with others.
So whatever looks good is a good choice! Note that plants that don’t uptake nutrients efficiently can be stunted by coffeeberry’s ability to update nutrients quickly from the soil column. So yeah.
Don’t plant with those slow-growing plants. But pair with similar plants that have similar requirements.
Don’t plant coffeeberry with
There aren’t many plants that don’t pair well with coffeeberry.
If you want to be specific, avoid planting with weedy plants or plants that can outcompete it for nutrients. Otherwise, both plants will suffer. Avoid planting multiple coffee berries too close in proximity.
Each plant should be given at least 12 feet of space because they grow like wild once they’re settled into their environment.
Plants that don’t tolerate drought should also not be planted with California buckthorn.
This plant is quite hardy to most insects. But there are a bunch that’ll destroy it. Here are the most common ones.
Aphids can be found on the bottom of leaves or flowers. These insects suck the sap out of your coffeeberry which also punctures the stems.
This can make it harder for them to get the necessary nutrients in order to produce berries or flowers. The sap they deposit also will create a sticky substance that brings in ants and other insects too.
This can make it quite ugly if you don’t manage them. Aphids can be controlled with natural insecticides, or just by spraying them down with a hose.
There are many sprays you can use for aphids that are widely available in your local garden center or online.
Whiteflies will also suck out the sap of your plant just like their BFF aphids. Thes are white insects as their name implies with a waxy covering on their wings.
This insect can create sticky honeydew residing on the plant that can create sooty mold on the foliage. You can control it with regular hosing down or using insecticides similar to aphids.
Whiteflies and aphids both will deposit black tarry residue, which is a giveaway that you’re dealing with one or the other. Start by pruning infested parts off. Spray off any visible pests with a hose.
Use an insecticide to get rid of them. Read the label and use it as it says. There are plenty of commercial sprays you can buy if you’re not a DIY’er.
If you’ve been doing any reading, you’ll learn about the coffee borer beetle. This infamous little beetle causes up to 500M in damage yearly.
Thankfully, it has nothing to do with coffeeberry, only coffee beans.
So you’ve got nothing to worry about. California coffeeberry has very few insects that will damage it to the point of no recovery, so it’s perfect for insect-prone environments in the wild.
This is why it’s good for those that have lots of pests in their garden. This plant is one of the most resilient shrubs you can grow in drought-ridden climates.
This plant is resilient to most plant pathogens, but scab disease can show up. It’s a disease caused by various fungi which will turn light spots on the leaves.
They’re yellow but will turn dark olive as the fungus eats the leaves on the underside. Your plant will experience leaf drop. Remove infected leaves to get rid of scab disease.
Control watering. Aim only at the base of the plant.
Never water the leaves themselves. Pruning can help improve evaporation which can reduce the likelihood of fungi or other issues caused by excess watering.
There’s no limit to the amount of usage you can get out of this shrub.
Coffeeberry can be used as backdrop shrubs, designer hedges, pathing shrubs, drought-tolerant foliage, erosion control, or even paired with other shrubs. Taller variance can be used for climbing trellising.
Compact ones can be used as smaller hedges or shrubs. They can bring in beneficial pollinators for wildlife gardens or pollinator gardens. Some varieties will even bring in butterflies or moths to your yard!
Commonly asked questions about CA coffeeberry care
This section covers some questions asked by readers about coffeeberry care.
You may find it helpful for your specific situation. If you have questions of your own, please post a comment using the form at the end of this page.
There are lots of different types of coffeeberry cultivars.
If you’re new to the shrub, you should stick with the tried and proven varieties so you have plenty of documentation online if you need help growing it.
Here are some of the most popular coffeeberry cultivars:
- Little Sur (compact, dark green lease, 4 feet tall max)
- Seaview Improved (low grower)
- Leatherleaf (moderate size)
- Mound San Bruno (compact variety, hedge plant, shrubby cover, up to 7 feet tall and wide)
- Eve Case (compact, 8 feet tall and wide)
- Bonita Linda (10 feet tall, light green foliage, good for trellising)
There are plenty of native coffeeberry plants available in the coastal regions. Or you can order the seeds online. Most perennial natives are available at nurseries that are ready to go with established roots.
Otherwise, you can start from seed. Nurseries generally sell potted coffeeberry that’s about a year old, which means it’s established and good to go.
Is coffeeberry evergreen?
Yes, coffeeberry is a perennial, semi-deciduous evergreen bush plant.
It’ll produce all season long and doesn’t require anything but regular watering, feeding, and pruning. Just give it what it wants and it’ll reward you handsomely.
How quickly does coffeeberry grow?
Coffeeberry grows quickly, especially when properly pruned.
This is why regular pruning helps encourage growth. You can expect a few inches of growth per branch every year depending on how you raise it.
It’s hard to say. It depends on many variables such as the cultivar type, pruning regimen, and TLC.
Is coffeeberry deer resistant?
Yes, for the most part. Deer and other wildlife generally tend to ignore coffeeberry and go for tastier plants that are loaded with sugar.
While coffeeberry looks edible, it’s not that appetizing to wildlife so they don’t go for it. You may see a deer take a nibble here and there, but it’s not like they’ll destroy it.
Coffeeberry brings in birds and other pollinators like towhees, thrashers, butterflies, and bees. Deer help disperse the seeds so that they can propagate themselves. Younger plants can be fenced off with chicken wire to prevent deer trampling.
Do animals eat coffeeberry?
Yes, there are some birds that’ll eat it and some small animals.
But most animals in California won’t consume it.
Should you eat coffeeberries?
Coffeeberry should not be consumed because it can cause adverse reactions.
It may also pose as a laxative if eaten. Note that it has nothing to do with coffee. Some berries that look similar are poisonous.
So the risks outweigh the benefits of tasting it. The berries are known to be sweet, but there’s little documentation on the actual safety of consuming coffee berries.
- Further reading/references
- Coffeeberry, Frangula californica – Calscape
- Rhamnus — Buckthorn and Coffeeberry
- COFFEEBERRY Rhamnus californica – UC ANR
Enjoy your California coffeeberry!
Now that you know all the basics of how to grow coffeeberry, you can go forth and plant it with confidence!
These shrubs are nice little evergreen perennials that can be enjoyed all season.
They serve multiple purposes at once, providing decorative landscaping and berries that can bring some nice pollinators to your garden.
Do you have any questions about how to grow and care for coffeeberry?
Post your comments using the form below. Have you grown these before? Share your suggestions with other readers by using the comments section!
I’ve always been interested in gardening, but I never took it seriously until I was forcefully gifted an orchid. This was what got me into the hobby and I’ve never looked back. I enjoy writing about it, but not nearly as much as getting into the dirt and sculpting the perfect decorative ornamental to enjoy for the times.