More about Tea plants
How to grow your own tea!
Tea plants are best grown in pots and is a great way to move the plants around when needed. Grow in partial shade in acid (lime-free) soil or compost. Tea plants do not tolerate cold well, so you will need to provide some winter protection in a glasshouse, conservatory or grow indoors as a houseplant!
You will need:
1 x Tea plant (Camellia sinensis)
1 x Pot: about twice the size of the rootball with drainage holes (and a saucer for indoor use).
Gravel or broken pots
Ericaceous compost (acidic/lime free)
Ericaceous liquid fertiliser (suitable for Camellia & Rhododendron)
What to do:
Thoroughly water your Tea plant and leave to drain prior to planting.
Layer the bottom of your chosen pot with gravel to prevent compost from blocking the drainage holes.
Start to fill a bottom layer of compost, lightly firming as you go. Stop at a level when the Tea plant (still in its old pot) placed on top of the compost is 2.5cm below the rim of the new pot.
Gently knock your plant out of the old pot and position it on the layer of prepared compost. Backfill around the plant with compost gently firming as you go (make sure it is planted level with the soil surface of the old pot as planting too deep can cause the stem to rot!)
Water in well to settle the soil around the roots (use rainwater if possible)
Water well during Spring and Summer and prolonged dry periods (wait till the surface soil is dry, but do not let the soil dry out completely).
Tea plants do not need a lot of fertiliser! If you would like to give it a boost, feed with an ericaceous (or organic) feed during the growing season.
Regular harvesting encourages new growth and creates a bushier plant! But don’t be tempted to remove too much growth at once and especially while your plant is getting established.
Get the kettle on…
Pick the young leaves and use to make a refreshing cup of green tea or dry the leaves to make black tea.
The oxidation that takes place when the leaves are drying will give a stronger flavour and darker colour; Green tea is unoxidized, Oolong tea is semi-oxidized & Black tea is fully oxidized.
Try picking the leaves at different growth stages to make your own blends until you find your favourite.
Take your cuppa out in garden and enjoy!