You can now combine your love of drinking tea and gardening! Yes, you can grow real tea plants from the Camellia sinensis plant. Imagine growing and serving tea that you grew in your own garden!
This is an absolutely beautiful and highly ornamental plant that would compliment any garden. Although the tea plant can grow to tree over 30 feet tall, when pruned, it makes a great spreading bush that will grow to 2-5 feet tall. A tea Gardner prefers to keep the plant at a size that is easy for plucking the tender blooms to make tea. In fact pruning and removing the more mature leaves allows you tea plant to have stronger new growth.
It is not difficult to grow the Camellia sinensis plant. The areas for growing are zoned, so if you live in the Zones 7 to 9 you can grow your tea plants outdoors in your garden.
Don’t be discouraged if you live outside of the zone, because this hardy green tea plant does very well in a container or in a green house.
A lot of space is not required to grow your very own tea, so a small porch or even a balcony will do just fine. In fact, some prefer to grow their Camellia sinensis teaplant in a potted container that they can bring in to protect it from the cold. In fact, because the plant thrives in a well drained and acidic soil many prefer to use a container as they find it easier to maintain the acidity of the soil.
The beauty of the Camellia sinensis plants are the beautiful small white blossoms that bloom in the fall. They have an absolutely intoxicating and delightful scent. The leaves have a leathery oval shaped appearance and produces seeds the size of a marble.
More on how to become a tea Gardner and grow your own tea plants
There are several ways to plant your Camellia sinensis. You can purchase tea plants from a nursery or purchase the seeds and start from scratch. The marble size seeds have an outer shell. Some chose to crack open that outer shell before planting the seed. Other gardeners completely remove the outer shell. This is the choice of most gardeners. It is important that if you remove the outer shell of the tea seed, that the soil is well drained. Tea embryos will rot in the early stages if the soil is too damp
The Camellia sinensis plant prefers to have daytime temperatures around 70 degrees and temperatures in the high 50 degree range at night time.
It takes approximately 3 – 4 years before you will be able to harvest you first batch of brewed tea. Nurturing and patience are required of the individual that wants to grow their own tea plants.
Your tea plant will be ready to harvest when the buds and leaves on your plants develop 3 sets of leaves on a branch. Good quality tea is only made from the first 3 leaves and bud of the plant. This is a process know as fine plucking. The lower leaves are known to brew a lower quality of tea.
How much tea does one tea plant produce? The average plant produces about three thousand tea leaves a year. This is equivalent to approximately one pound of processed and dried tea.
Did you know that white tea, green tea, black and oolong tea all come from the same tea bush? Yes, they do! It is the processing and oxidation process that each tea goes through that creates its own distinct flavor.
The next step to becoming a tea Gardner is learning to harvest your tea plants. There can be no better cup of tea than one you brew from your own garden.