Yes, tea enthusiasts, if you love to garden, tea plants may get your interest, Many enjoy their two favorite past times together. As a tea gardener you will be pleased to know that you can grow real camellia sinensis plants, If you want to get creative you can grow some organic herbal teas as well.
Camellia sinensis does not require much space, so a planter will do. It grows best in the Midwest southern part of the States. Check to see if you live in ZONE 7-9.
If you don’t live in the perfect climate, you may grow it in a green house or plant it in a container that you can bring indoors from the cold. Planting and maintaining the Camellia sinensis seeds in a planter make it easier to cover when frost is a concern. It is also easier to maintain the acidic conditions that tea plants thrives on.
This green tea plant grows like a small shrub
When pruned the camellia sinensis plant will maintain a height of 2 – 5 feet. The leaves are oval shaped and are thin and leathery. These plants are easy to grow and very ornamental. The white fragrant flowers from this plant will bloom in late fall and winter. The seeds of plants are about the size of a marble.
As a tea gardner, you would plant the seeds in an area that is lightly shaded and you want to use a rich acidic soil. Of all things to keep your soil acidic are coffee grounds! They are a great source and are slow in action.
Spaghnum peat aerates your soil and slowly adds acidity to your soil. If you are an individual that has access to pine needles these is a great resource to utilize in maintaining acidic soil as well!
How to plant your seeds
There are varying ways to plant your tea seeds. You may want to crack the outer shell before you plant the seed n the soil. Others choose to remove the outer shell. It is important to note that if you remove the outer shell the soil must drain well or the tea embryo will rot. Most tea gardners remove the tea seed from its shell.
Plant the seeds about ¾ inch to 1 inch using the soil mixture to gently cover the seeds. Keep the soil damp. The Camellia sinensis grows best with daytime temperatures in the 70 degree range and night time temps in the high 50 degree range.
The important thing to note here is that as a tea gardner, you must be patient. It will take approximately 3 – 4 years before you will be able to harvest for your first cup of tea! When the new growths on your plants get three sets of leaves, it is time to be plucked for tea!
It is those tiny tender leaves that are used to process tea. Black tea, white tea, oolong, pu-erh-tea and green tea are all types of tea harvested from the Camellia sinensis plant. Each is processed differently for various levels of oxidation.
If you would like to be a tea gardener here is a place I have found to carry Camellia sinensis tea plants.
Happy gardening to you
Let's explore how to harvest your tea
Other articles on tea