Full Member
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:39 pm
Location: the deserts of az

growing tea?

has anyone ever tried growing tea before? it's just something that crossed my mind. would it be possible to start growing tea indoors in a pot and then moving it outdoors eventually, or maybe even let it continue to grow in a larger pot.

how exactly do I get tea seeds though? I've never come across anything like that before.

would this be possible?!

Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7500
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 7:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

Off the top of my head, tea is made from the tip leaves of Camellia sinensis, a plant native to China.

I don't know what its cultural requirements are, but most of the world's tea comes from China and India. Herbal infusions can be made from regular garden plants, but *real* tea (like Grandma H. hooked me on when I was 8 ) comes from Asia.

So I've given you some key words for an Internet search, I guess...

Happy hunting!

Cynthia H.
USDA Zone 9, Sunset Zone 17
Last edited by cynthia_h on Sat Dec 27, 2008 4:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2008 12:58 pm
Location: Bicknell, IN

I plan to start from seeds and then put them in pots. I have had success with Herbs like sage and Basil that I have been cultivating in pots. But the Tea set that I will be working with has nine different herbs. I'm hoping that I have no problems.

User avatar
Mod Emeritus
Posts: 7646
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 1:04 am
Location: Oregon

Google will find a seller of the seeds for you. :)

I just searched for tea plant seeds, and got a whole list. I only looked at one site. I think their price was $4.19 per packet. They were Camellia sinensis seeds, as Cynthia noted they should be. :)

Full Member
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 8:25 am
Location: Pasadena, MD

Growing Tea

Edible Landscaping and Raintree Nursery both have Tea Camelia plants for sale. These nurseries can be found online and can also send a printed catalog upon request. I plan to grow one of these this spring myself. I noticed that my regular Camelia is a bit of a slow grower, so I'm definitely going with plants rather than seeds for this project. As I was perusing the Mountain Growers catalog yesterday I saw a plant called the Pennsylvania Dutch Tea Thyme plant! Apparently the PA Dutch have used these in place of black tea and the taste is very similar. No caffeine, though.
In my gardener's dream world I plan a future of almost totally sustainable living for myself, including not just herbs, veggies and fruit, but adding other drink sources (like tea) and nuts like the Chiquappin Chestnut (gets 12 ft tall).

Full Member
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 8:25 am
Location: Pasadena, MD

Growing Tea

The bushes I referred to from Raintree and Edible Landscaping are supposedly suited to zone 7 (my zone), but I'll bet you are absolutely right about the quality of the tea that will be produced in a cooler than ideal zone. I'd still like to try it. For years I really wanted a Chestnut tree that was not mammoth. After three years of looking I actually found a 12 ft. Chiquappin Chestnut bush and it did indeed provide me with chestnuts. Sometimes an overly optimistic outlook pays off! Who knows?!

User avatar
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2009 9:54 pm
Location: PA, USA

Being a loose tea lover, I can really appreciate this :)

As mentioned, if you can find them available it would be a very good idea to purchase an already well established bush then to grow your own from seed, although starting from scratch is always nice to see the entire life of your tea bush. The thing with growing from seed, as also mentioned, is that a bush must be so many years old before it can produce even somewhat decent leaves for tea making... Keep in mind that there are some trees in China reaching upwards of 1300 years old still producing tea, and these are the "ancient" trees that fetch the big money at market.

You can actually just search tea on wikipedia and they give by an extensive section of what the plant actually needs in terms of environment to survive, which really shouldnt be too hard to do.

Return to “Herb Gardening Forum”