Many people are tea lovers, and if you are, why not grow your own tea leaves at home? Growing tea at home is moderately easy to do under the right conditions. Tea (Camellia sinensis) makes a nice ornamental plant for your yard and is often used as a hedge or border. However, many people grow tea because they want to harvest the leaves.
The camellia plant grows up to 30 feet in height, however, most often it is pruned and kept as a small bush. It enjoys wet summers, dry winters and moderate temperatures. Elevations of at least 3,000 feet and subtropical or tropical regions find the tea plant flourishing. Tea can be grown outdoors up to zone 8. If you live in zones above this one, grow your tea plants either in a greenhouse or indoors.
Tea can be grown from seed. Be sure that your soil drains well and is sandy; rocky soil is preferred by the plant. The area should be partially shaded, but allow for a few hours of direct sunlight each day. The soil's pH must be between 4.5 to 7, and without heavy sodium or lime content. When planting, push each seed barely under the soil and allow to it germinate for four weeks.
Water your tea plants thoroughly and often in the summer, and keep them well-drained. You'll need less water in the winter. Allow the plants to dry thoroughly between watering. The most important aspect of wintering tea shrubs is to keep them dry. Move outdoor plants that are in containers underneath porches. If your tea is in a garden, cover it with plastic. Do not allow the plants to become wet or to mildew. Container grown plants enjoy sphagnum moss added to their soil.
You will wait three years or more before you can harvest the leaves, but it's well worth the wait.