I've got a bunch of tea seeds. We are having autumn/winter now and it gets down to 5 under freezing -5C. I found conflicting information on the net when to plant. Is autumn planting right for camellia sinensis or do I wait until spring? My guts tell me that it needs a bit of chill but I don't know.
It doesn't mention anything specifically about planting times though. Since they are talking about commercial production where consistency is important they use cuttings to propagate rather than direct sowing seeds. I'd start the seeds inside, cull any weak plants and be ready to plant them out at the start of your rainy season so they'll get plenty of moisture. Starting them inside also gives you better control over conditions since germination can take a while. I tried starting seeds inside years ago and saw about 75% germination rate. None of the plants survived outdoors, but I wasn't as experienced with growies back then so it was probably my mistakes that did them in. Good luck!
I've sprouted many a tea seed in the summer here in Florida. I've soaked them for 24 hours, planted them and let them do their thing. I've had some pop up in a couple of weeks and I've had some take up to a couple of months. The germination rate on the ones I've purchased (from a variety of sellers all over the world) has been very erratic. From seed the plants grow nicely and much faster than the rooted cuttings that I've purchased.
I read somewhere that most of the seeds really don't have viable embryos in them, so don't be disappointed if you don't have great results the first couple/three times you try to grow them. Keep trying!
Location: Port Angeles, WA (USDA Zone 8b, AHS Zone 2/3)