How to Grow a Catha Edulis Tree

The Catha edulis tree, commonly called a "khat" or "qat" tree, is a climber. In other words, it grows like a vine. When you grow Catha edulis trees, you must plant them in the right conditions for germination, then transplant it near a wall and monitor the vinelike tree for irregular growth as it sprouts. Khat trees need special care and attention to grow large and strong, but once they reach maturity they are relatively low maintenance plants.

Dig a 2-inch deep hole in well drained vermiculite or horticultural sand. Choose a location that receives full sun. A mature Chatha edulis tree prefers partial shade, but new seedlings grow very well in full sun for the first few weeks.

Place three to five seeds in the hole. If you just use one seed, you may find that this single seed doesn't germinate. It's best to plant seeds in clusters.

Mist the soil with a spray bottle whenever the ground is completely dry to the touch. Khat trees can survive arid conditions, but the soil should never get completely dried out. Typically, you will only need to mist the soil every three days to retain slight soil moisture.

Dig up the seedlings after they have sprouted and reached 2 to 4 inches tall. This will typically take two to three weeks.

Replant the seedlings in a desired garden location no less than 1 inch away from a fencepost or sturdy tree. Khat trees grow larger and healthier with nearby structures to cling to as they grow. It is easier to germinate and water seeds in an open garden location, but a seedling should be located near a fence, wall or other tall object to continue growing.

Water the ground whenever it gets dry. After germination and initial sprouting, a slight bi-weekly watering works well; fine misting is no longer necessary.

Prune only if the plant begins to crowd nearby horticulture. Catha edulis trees do not need shaping or pruning for bud growth; pruning is purely cosmetic for khat plants.

Move khat branches as necessary and tie them in place with twine. As the tree matures, its stalks are still very limber and easily shaped. After a year or two, the tree's vinelike branches will naturally grow in whatever direction you have trained them to grow using twine.

Things You'll Need

  • Trowel
  • Catha edulis seeds
  • Spray bottle
  • Watering can
  • Pruning shears
  • Twine
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About the Author

Richard Kalinowski began writing professionally in 2006. He also works as a website programmer and graphic designer for several clients. Kalinowski holds a Master of Fine Arts from Goddard College and a Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.