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Camellia sinensis, gree tea plants grow here very well!

 
Russ Bowman
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Hi all. I tried a sample plant of green tea a couple years ago and began to harvest the young leaves to make green tea from my own garden in modest amounts two years later. It turned out great! Fresh tea leaves just dried have a subtle taste that you do not get from bought tea. I think time on the shelf degrades the delicate flavor. So, this fall, three more plants will go in. I dug out a 2' deep and 3' square hole and took the rocks out of the pile of soil, added some hard wood mulch and mild organic fertilizer, put the plant in the prepared area, then added organic hard wood chips as a mulch on top. Keep the soil modestly moist in the summer. If some one wants to start a green tea plantation on the Oregon coast, it is ideal for this! No bugs bother the plants, they do need that water in the summer since we do not have normal rain in the summer. You just pick the young leaves, dry them, and grind them the way you want. I dry them in our kitchen next to the west facing window. Green tea is a healthy prepared beverage, and the fresh stuff is hard to beat!
 
Alder Burns
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If you want black tea, it's the same stuff....you just pile the fresh-picked tips together--it helps to have a bunch, and let them wilt and just begin to heat up and turn dark.....then rake them apart and dry and you're there! I had these in Georgia, and there, too, the most important thing is a bit of water in the summer if it's dry. They are native to a monsoon climate, where the bulk of the rain comes in the summer growing season......
 
Jay Grace
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I've been talking about incorporating a 5 acre or so patch worth of "camellia sinensis" onto my place.
( zone 8a alabama i currently only have one plant that is 5ft or so tall to take cuttings from)
According to the internet there are only 4 farms in the continental united states that grow tea on commercial scale. (and all these are small farms 20acres or less)
I have yet to figure out why this hasn't caught on. Tea grows well in the southeast and with the global strife that seems to be escalating all over the world. I think a majority of the tea grown is grown in India and china.


Another neat thing would be to plant camellia sinensis as a shrub near your house. They have nice glossy leaves, very fragrant white flowers, and they trim up just like any other hedge bush.
Looks good and it contains caffiene. That's hard to beat.
 
Sheri Menelli
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I was told that Camellia Sinesis won't grow here in the San Diego area. Anyone know if that is true or not?

I'd LOVE to have several of these in my yard.

 
leila hamaya
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i bought a bunch of seeds earlier this year and just finally got one to sprout =)

maybe a few more will come up, i hope so. from the reading i did it seemed the way to go was to give them water often, what would be overwatering for a different plant....so i can see how they would be good in PNW
 
M H Bonham
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Location: NW Montana, Zone 4?
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Hey! I have a tea tree that I bought in Missoula but I'm not sure it will survive the winter outside my containers and the ability to take indoors. I live at 4000ft on a mountain. I think I'm a zone 4 because it can get to be around -30F when we get an ugly cold snap. So will it survive or are my instincts correct?

BTW, there's a funky pod on my Camellia Sinesis -- is this a seed? When should I plant it, if it is?

Thanks in advance!

Maggie
 
leila hamaya
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Mh Bonham wrote:Hey! I have a tea tree that I bought in Missoula but I'm not sure it will survive the winter outside my containers and the ability to take indoors. I live at 4000ft on a mountain. I think I'm a zone 4 because it can get to be around -30F when we get an ugly cold snap. So will it survive or are my instincts correct?

BTW, there's a funky pod on my Camellia Sinesis -- is this a seed? When should I plant it, if it is?

Thanks in advance!

Maggie


well all you can do is try your best and hope it makes it , then wait and see.

i think tea likes a cooler climate, its not a tropical plant, but it is a little bit on the extreme, temperature wise what you are talking about. from my research camellia is somewhat hardy though, stronger and more cold tolerant than you might think. its just very sensitive to proper and frequent watering. i would take it inside for the winter, for sure.
and probably the funky pod is the seed. they are huge seeds, round balls that form in big pods. i would plant it now, or keep it wet, in the fridge. soak it in water for a long while before planting it...they dont like to dry out, the seed or the plant.

i'm hopeful that my tea plant will make it here, but i have to water it all the time cause its very dry here.
 
M H Bonham
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Location: NW Montana, Zone 4?
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well all you can do is try your best and hope it makes it , then wait and see.

i think tea likes a cooler climate, its not a tropical plant, but it is a little bit on the extreme, temperature wise what you are talking about. from my research camellia is somewhat hardy though, stronger and more cold tolerant than you might think. its just very sensitive to proper and frequent watering. i would take it inside for the winter, for sure.
and probably the funky pod is the seed. they are huge seeds, round balls that form in big pods. i would plant it now, or keep it wet, in the fridge. soak it in water for a long while before planting it...they dont like to dry out, the seed or the plant.

i'm hopeful that my tea plant will make it here, but i have to water it all the time cause its very dry here.


Okay, that tells me a lot. A container tree it is, then. The seed is HUGE for what I would expect (an inch across, maybe?). So, I should soak it first before trying to plant it?

I do have a small greenhouse that I can slip it inside when the temperatures drop below 0F. Would that be better? Or inside? Thanks!
 
Alder Burns
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I think the main reason tea has not taken hold more in the US is the hand labor required to pick it. The tea we use is just the growing points of the plants ("two leaves and a bud" is the tradition). The plants will put out several flushes of these during a long growing season. It would make an awesome low, tight hedge if one were committed to regular picking. Allowed to grow wild, the plants would get up over one's head eventually, like any camellia. Incidentally, there is a related plant, the tea-oil camellia (C. oleifera), which is probably more cold-hardy than tea. The large seeds of this are pressed for edible oil in China, and so it is a member of a relatively short list of perennial sources of edible oil. And, wonderfully for forest gardeners, both species are adapted to light overhead shade, especially in hotter climates.
 
leila hamaya
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Mh Bonham wrote:

well all you can do is try your best and hope it makes it , then wait and see.

i think tea likes a cooler climate, its not a tropical plant, but it is a little bit on the extreme, temperature wise what you are talking about. from my research camellia is somewhat hardy though, stronger and more cold tolerant than you might think. its just very sensitive to proper and frequent watering. i would take it inside for the winter, for sure.
and probably the funky pod is the seed. they are huge seeds, round balls that form in big pods. i would plant it now, or keep it wet, in the fridge. soak it in water for a long while before planting it...they dont like to dry out, the seed or the plant.

i'm hopeful that my tea plant will make it here, but i have to water it all the time cause its very dry here.


Okay, that tells me a lot. A container tree it is, then. The seed is HUGE for what I would expect (an inch across, maybe?). So, I should soak it first before trying to plant it?

I do have a small greenhouse that I can slip it inside when the temperatures drop below 0F. Would that be better? Or inside? Thanks!


i would definitely put it in a greenhouse, i bet you could make it happy there even if its unheated, and even in your being a bit outside of its comfort zone. its hard to say without seeing your set up, but i might even go about making some kind of more permanant bed for it if you have a greenhouse. but then again it would make a nice house plant if you have the room inside, and might do better if you keep your house warm. i guess it depends on how effective your greenhouse is, even if it just takes the edge off the cold it might be ok there.

and totally soak it, for a long time, but do make sure its totally ripe before you pick the pod, which should have a few seeds in it.
 
M H Bonham
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Location: NW Montana, Zone 4?
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leila hamaya wrote:


i would definitely put it in a greenhouse, i bet you could make it happy there even if its unheated, and even in your being a bit outside of its comfort zone. its hard to say without seeing your set up, but i might even go about making some kind of more permanant bed for it if you have a greenhouse. but then again it would make a nice house plant if you have the room inside, and might do better if you keep your house warm. i guess it depends on how effective your greenhouse is, even if it just takes the edge off the cold it might be ok there.

and totally soak it, for a long time, but do make sure its totally ripe before you pick the pod, which should have a few seeds in it.


My greenhouse is a walk-in unheated greenhouse and is about 5'x6'x6'. We put it on my south-facing porch, which actually helps keep it even warmer for the winter.

How would I know if it was ripe? It's been hanging on the tree for several months.

BTW, for those who are picking leaves and bud, I have a whole bunch of buds coming up. Do I pick the bud and the two closest leaves? Then, I need to ferment them if I want black tea, yes?
 
David Goodman
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Good to hear your experience. I'm in N. FL and have worried about whether or not I should plant my tea plant in the ground. Sounds like it should take our winters just fine.
 
leila hamaya
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Mh Bonham wrote:
My greenhouse is a walk-in unheated greenhouse and is about 5'x6'x6'. We put it on my south-facing porch, which actually helps keep it even warmer for the winter.

How would I know if it was ripe? It's been hanging on the tree for several months.

BTW, for those who are picking leaves and bud, I have a whole bunch of buds coming up. Do I pick the bud and the two closest leaves? Then, I need to ferment them if I want black tea, yes?


heres a link i just found that gives some instructions for harvesting.

http://narien.com/product/tea-seeds

and the seed is probably pretty ripe. when they are really ripe the pod starts to crack open to release the seeds. you would want to get them right before this happens, just as it starts opening.
 
Marie van Houtte
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Location: Australia
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Just wanted to let everyone know that camellia sinensis does very well in tropical climates too. Here in Oz we have a large tea plantation smack bang in the middle of a tropical rainforest on the east coast.

Camellias also grow beautifully for me down south in our temperate rainforest.

They are a bit funny about soil PH though - they like it a touch acidic. Perhaps plant near your blueberries and mulch with pine needles.
 
Cris Bessette
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I have two small camellia sinensis bushes that I grew from seed.
Still very young, but seem to be making it here.
I'm looking forward to them getting large enough to harvest some leaves.

I have other types of camellias too.
I think a good sign that you can grow tea is that camellias in general will grow in your area.
 
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