Saturday, April 04, 2009

How To Grow Your Own Tea

Grow your own tea - can you do that? The short answer is yes. All tea comes from the same plant (Camellia sinensis) and you can grow your own, if you're so inclined. Now, if you have visions of popping some seeds in the dirt, picking tea leaves a few months later, steeping them and kicking back to marvel at your skill, hold on a minute. It's not quite that simple.

If you're going to make a serious commitment to growing tea with the intention of one day harvesting and drinking it, there are a few things to consider. First and foremost is that harvest day - assuming everything goes well - is not likely to arrive for a few years.

The other important point to consider is location, location, location or perhaps more specifically - climate, climate, climate. Tea is being grown on a modest scale in North America, most notably at the Charleston Tea Plantation in South Carolina, but tea plants thrive better in some climates than others. According to many tea seed and plant suppliers, the best climate zones for tea planting are parts of 6 and 7, 8 and 9.

If you'd like to take a crack at growing tea plants from seed, look here and here for supplies. For a complete kit that includes tea (and coffee) seeds and growing supplies, look here. If you'd prefer to get the jump on growing tea from seeds, order tea plants here.

For some more pointers on growing your own tea plants, refer to the Hawaii Tea Society, whose members have been growing tea on the islands for a number of years. For more on Lindsey "Vee" Goodwin's experiments with growing tea, start with her posts at the VeeTea blog, here and here.

IQ Innovations 51552 Fine T 4-Cup Gourmet Tea Machine
Zarafina Tea Maker Suite


VeeTea said...

I transplanted two of my three plants after moving from NYC to Charlotte, NC. (The first one is still sick from the move and will have to wait to be replanted.) We'll see how they do in new soil!

Pat Canella said...

I'm actually looking into this myself. I want to do it in summer, have to see how long it will take to really grow, climate probably is terrible too haha, oh well.

Dr.Q said...

these boys are doing it in Washington:


Logos Academy Inc said...

We grow green tea in our family tea nursery in Florida. We are leaving for China in the fall to search out heirloom varieties and if you would like tea seeds or plants please let us know.

Steff said...

Hi, I'm wondering if you can help me? I live in USDA Hardiness Zone 8, Sunset Gardening Zone 14, however, my garden is 2,000 feet higher as I live in the mountains within these zones. We get occasionally low temperatures (a couple of days below 32ยบ, but as we're located on a knoll, I could plant for any type of sun exposure. I'd love to grow tea, is it possible where I'm located?
Thanks so much!