How to Grow Catha Edulis

Updated February 21, 2017

Catha edulis also goes by the common names of khat or khat. It's a small, slow-growing tree that prefers to grow in warm, arid climates. The khat is indigenous to Africa, which explains its desire for warm weather. It can be grown and nurtured indoors until it gets strong enough to move outside. Catha edulis leaves have an amphetamine effect, which makes it a concern in some areas. It's illegal to grow the plant in South Africa and Missouri, but it is legal in most other areas. Grow catha edulis as an ornamental shrub or small tree for your landscape.

Pour cactus compost, horticultural sand or vermiculite into the seed tray. Any free-draining mixture will do. Press the catha edulis seed into the mixture until it is 3/4 inch deep. Moisten the soil mixture with water.

Put the seed tray in a warm location where it is out of the direct sun. Touch the soil mixture daily, and when it feels dry, mist it with water. It takes about one week for the khat seed to germinate.

Rotate the container daily once the seedling emerges. This will prevent it from bending toward the light. Mist it every few days until the seedling is 3 to 5 inches tall.

Spread an inch of gravel in the base of a large planting container. This will house the catha edulis for three years. Combine perlite and house plant compost and fill the pot.

Transplant the young plant to the centre of the container. Keep the roots intact. Spread more gravel on top of the perlite/compost mixture.

Water the catha edulis weekly. If you notice the plant wilting, give it more water. The khat plant may become top-heavy as it gets bigger. If so, stake it.

Transplant the khat plant in three years, if desired. It can be kept as an indoor shrub, too. Try to limit damage to the root system when moving the plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Khat seed
  • Seed tray
  • Vermiculite, horticultural sand or cactus compost
  • Large plant container
  • Compost
  • Perlite
  • Gravel
  • Plant stake
  • Water
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About the Author

Based in New York State, Kelly Shetsky started writing in 1999. She is a broadcast journalist-turned Director of Marketing and Public Relations and has experience researching, writing, producing and reporting. She writes for several websites, specializing in gardening, medical, health and fitness, entertainment and travel. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.