Knowledge from Olle Garden Bed: Tea Planting

Tea enthusiasts can grow tea at home, which may be a surprise to some people. I always thought I must insist on buying tea in the shop. I didn't know that I could learn how to plant tea in my backyard, and these plants could thrive in many parts of the United States. The following content also has some reference value for raised garden beds.

Tea, whether black, oolong, white or green, comes from the plant camellia. It is an evergreen shrub or small tree, whose leaves look like laurel leaves. It was originally from Asia and prefers tropical weather, but that doesn't mean you can't let it work in a cool climate.

You don't need a big garden to grow your own tea - it can be grown in containers on the courtyard or balcony; You just can't mass produce.

Like any other plant, tea requires your time and proper care, but that is to say, planting tea is not as difficult as you think. Here's what you need to know to get started.

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tea varieties

You can find many types of caffeinated tea in the market, most of which are from "tea tree" and camellia. This plant is a cold resistant evergreen plant with glossy green, pointed, aromatic leaves. In autumn, this plant will produce delicate white flowers, so shrubs provide more than just a cup of tea.

This plant originated from China and India. Camellia is from China and likes cool temperature. Camellia comes from India and thrives in warm regions. Its leaves are bigger than its Chinese brothers and sisters.

These shrubs can reach 15 feet when planted outside, but most can only reach 6 feet when grown in containers. In the United States, the tea tree is commercially grown in Hawaii, Washington State, Oregon and some areas in the southeast.

How to plant tea

If you have decided to plant tea trees at home, let's take a look at the basic details you need to know.

Growth zone

Tea grows in the 6-9 area.

Solar Requirements

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Camellia needs to be planted in a bright, sheltered place, and partially shaded in hot weather. Indian varieties can handle more sunlight and warmer temperatures.

Soil requirements

Tea is a kind of plant that likes acid, and its pH value is between 4.5-6.5. They need to grow in free draining, fertile, loose and rich soil. Many gardeners find it ideal to grow in a flowerpot because you can control drainage and acid levels more easily than you can on a garden bed. Be sure to add compost to the soil before planting.

Planting tea trees from seeds

Most gardeners prefer to start with seedlings. This is easier, but you can also start drinking tea from the seeds. This is far from an accurate science. Germination may take up to 8 weeks.

To grow tea from seeds, first soak the seeds in water for 24-48 hours. Soaking seeds is helpful to start the germination process, so as to obtain the highest chance of successful germination.

After soaking, put the seeds in a warm and sunny seed tray. Be sure to spray the soil to keep it moist. Germination is expected to occur within 6-8 weeks. After the seeds germinate and grow 3-4 leaves, it is time to move them to a permanent home or a larger container.


These plants can grow up to 6 feet high. If you plant more than one shrub on the ground, leave 4-5 feet between each plant. These plants need enough space to breathe and become dense. You want as many leaves as possible.

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It is better to wait until the next winter before planting outside. Tea trees are delicate at first, and they need to be moved to sunny places in frost. It takes three years to reach maturity. For the first year, consider placing plants in a large container that you can move as needed.

If you live in a very suitable area for growing tea, continue to release the plants after they reach 8 inches and all the danger of frost has passed. Be sure to harden the plants for a week.

When you move them outside, dig a big hole that fits the root ball. Add some compost to the bottom of the hole and spread the roots before placing the shrubs in the hole. Fill the hole and press the soil hard. Deep water.

Planting tea trees in containers

If you don't live in the right climate, try growing tea in containers. Choose a flowerpot with many drain holes, which is twice the size of the plant root ball. Good drainage is essential because tea plants will die in waterlogged soil.

Fill one third of the container with well drained acid potted soil. Place the plant in the center of the pot and fill the rest of the area with soil. The crown of the plant should be displayed above the top of the earth.

You need to plant again every 2-4 years, or as needed with the growth of shrubs. If the root begins to grow, move up to a slightly larger container. You can also trim the roots to make sure they fit in the pot.

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How to Care for Tea

Now that you have prepared your tea tree, whether underground or in a container, here are some details about how to take care of this plant. Not at all!

Winter care

Tea trees need to be protected from frost when they are young, so it is best to bring them into the greenhouse or porch in the first two winters.


Tea trees need a lot of water. When the top 2-4 inches of soil are dry, water the plants deeply. It is important to dry the soil between each watering to avoid waterlogging plants. Let the soil drain, don't let the pot be in the water.


Tea plants usually do not need much feeding. At the beginning of the growing season, they are given a lot of acid fertilizer in spring.


You will harvest the plants throughout the growing season, but you must also trim the camellia shrubs. Crop the plants once a year after flowering. Be sure to remove any dead or damaged stems with clean pruning shears.

Cut the stem back to the base of the bush. If you want to cut size or shape, cut a single branch outside the bud or leaf node.

Common diseases and insect pests

Algal leaf spot

Algal leaf spot, as its name implies, is a disease caused by algae. It causes grey, green or tan spots or spots on the leaves. It may be difficult to fight, so prevention is the best. Avoid watering overhead, which may spread disease, and leave enough space between each plant to maximize air circulation. You can also use protective fungicides.

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Vesicular wilt

Blister blight forms small pinhole sized spots on young leaves. Some spots become transparent and larger, becoming light brown. It can cause dark green, white or brown blisters on the underside of the leaf.

Blister is a fungus. You can use appropriate foliar or imbibitive fungicides to protect your plants from harm.

Camellia wilt

Camellia wilt is a fungus that can trouble tea trees. The leaves suddenly turn yellow and begin to wither from the branches. Gray spots are formed on the bark and stem and develop into hollow areas called ulcers. The part of the plant above the ulcer loses its vitality, causing the plant to wither and die.

To prevent this fungus, be sure to use well drained acid soil and remove all diseased branches by cutting a few inches below the ulcer area. Disinfect the soil between cuts. You can also use appropriate protective fungicides in wet weather.

Camellia wilt

This fungus causes small, brown, irregularly shaped spots on petals. The whole flower will turn brown and fall off the plant. This fungus tends to appear during the humid spring.

It is best to remove all infected flowers from the plant and all crop debris around the plant. Use appropriate fungicides on the soil to reduce the intensity of the disease.

Tea scale

If you notice pale yellow spots on the leaves or the whole leaves turn yellow, there may be a tea stain problem. It can cause leaves to turn brown and fall prematurely, as well as flowers to decrease in size. Scaling insects are oval shaped and usually found below leaves.

You can manage light intrusion by removing insects from plants and destroying leaves. If you are more intrusive, you can apply garden oil after flowering.

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Companion plant

Tea grows well with beans and grass. Don't grow tea with potatoes.

Tea Harvesting and Storage

Tea trees enter a dormant state in winter, and new growth is brought along with the washing of the first tea bud in spring. Once the plant reaches its third year, you can remove the first two bright green leaves and buds from each branch. These young apple leaves are very suitable for drinking a cup of fresh tea.

After that, it is better to harvest plants regularly to encourage growth and help create dense shrubs. You can plan to harvest tea trees all year round from spring to summer. Only pull out the leaves from the top of the plant, leaving the lower leaves to continue to grow.

The bottom line of tea planting

For years, I thought I couldn't grow tea in the backyard, but I was wrong. If you are a tea fan, the next step is to learn how to make tea at home. You will be happy to find that it is not as difficult as you think. Anyone can do this and enjoy fresh home grown tea at any time.