Grown your own tea with these fabulous easy-care plants.
The 'Tea Plant' is a striking evergreen shrub whose leaves can be picked and added to the teapot to make up your own cuppa. Come autumn they’re covered in beautiful, white flowers which have a delightful scent - an added bonus if planted in a pot near the house.
Camellia sinensis produces fresh new leaves in spring which are the best leaves to pick for your teapot, although you can experiment with drying the leaves for a more traditional brew.
Supplied in 15cm pots, these tea plants are ideal when grown in a container but can also be planted in the flower border among your favourite perennials as the Camellia’s dark evergreen leaves highlight flower colour superbly.
Care of your tea plant care is very straight forward;
- Water plants frequently during the first two years – generally two or three times per week during the summer, using rainwater whenever possible.
- Your plant will be dormant during the winter months, but in spring it will burst into life and you can start picking the freshest young leaves.
- You will be able to pick a few leaves in the first year, so that you can try making your very own tea – although it’s best to limit yourself for the first 2-3 years of growth so that your tea plant will establish to become a bigger plant with more fresh leaves in the following years.
- Prune back to 3 to 4 feet every few years to keep the plant bushy and producing fresh leaves.
- Traditionally, the uppermost leaves two and leaf bud on each stem are picked although you may want to try with some of the older leaves or even stems and see how the flavour varies.
- Protect plants from cold, dry winds and early morning sun and water in dry weather to prevent bud drop. Apply a balanced liquid fertiliser in mid-spring and again in June, plus mulch annually with shredded bark or well-rotted leaf mould.
- Protect container-grown tea plants in winter by wrapping with bubble wrap or hessian.
- For the first 2 or 3 years during the winter, we suggest either bringing your plant indoors or protecting it from prolonged or sharp frosts with horticultural fleece.