I recently picked up a coffee plant from my supermarket's garden center. In fact, it appears to be made up of 6 distinct plants (they are quite young), planted in very close proximity in a small 5" diameter pot. I'm wondering if it would be prudent to re-pot these individually, or if there's a reason they were planted in this way..

Thanks! -will

  • They may have been planted in that way to help one another grow. The roots of a plant are what give it its stability. So if multiple plants can interweave their roots then together they will be more stable than they would be alone.
    – Rob
    Jan 11, 2019 at 16:22
  • Hm but then they will be stuck together forever right? Won't this ultimately limit their potential considering they are technically trees? Thanks for your response!
    – Will
    Jan 11, 2019 at 16:38
  • 1
    @Will If you are trying to grow plants from seed with poor germination rates, the cost-effective way to do it is plant say 6 seeds in one pot, and kill off all except the strongest plant if more than one germinates. That uses less resources (space, pots, compost, etc) and is therefore cheaper than planting one seed per pot and then taking care of lot of pots that never produce a plant.
    – alephzero
    Jan 11, 2019 at 17:15
  • I'd like to see a photo of the plant/s you bought...
    – Bamboo
    Jan 11, 2019 at 22:51

1 Answer 1


It really depends on what you intend to do with the plants in their final use. Their natural habit is to form a bushy tree, naturally branching rather than growing tall. If left in a cluster in the pot they will tend to push each other apart quite a bit and could become quite tangled in the middle. This may be okay in a large pot with plenty of room to spread; in a house you would get lots of flowers and benefit from the fragrance. So is a mature product which is wider than tall or taller than wide what you would prefer?

If the latter then it is probably fine to tease the plants apart into two groups of three or three groups of two or singles and re-pot. The smaller the groups the more you stand the risk of losing one due to excessive root damage. You might even have plants to give away...

  • Thanks for your response, I ended up splitting them up as you described.
    – Will
    Jan 16, 2019 at 15:55

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