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Tea Cultivation: Becoming A Domestic Tea Grower


From China, to India to Sri Lanke tea is cultivated across the world.  It can also be grown in your own backyard or in a pot as a houseplant - yes, you can become a domestic tea grower!

et's continue our weekly blog series, The Signature Joy Of Tea, as we welcome beauty and grace into our days through the culture and hospitality of tea.  Empowering you to live the life of your tea dreams.

March 7th: Camellia Sinensis
March 14th: Tea Cultivation
March 21st: Tea Harvesting
March 28th: Tea Processing
April 4th: How To Brew The Perfect Cup Of Tea
April 11th: Blending Herbal Infusions
April 18th: Tea Tasting With A Tea Sommelier
April 25th: Teatime Hospitality

As we learned last week, Camellia sinensis is a type of evergreen shrub.  They are hearty and resilient plants, who can thrive in different ecosystems with supportive care.  Three important factors to consider when growing tea are: soil, climate and pests.  Each of these factors will influence the flavor of the tea.

For optimum growth, tea plants need an acidic soil (pH 4.5 to 5.5) to help it absorb nutrients.  It is worth testing the soil in your backyard with inexpensive pH sticks or creating your own raised beds with acidic soil to ensure that this factor is ideal.  If tea plants cannot absorb the nutrients they need, health and growth will be compromised.

The second factor to take into account is the climate.  I live in the Pacific Northwest, in Ridgefield, Washington.  We get frost in autumn and winter, with snowfall typically a couple times a year.  Tea plants are not resistant to these wintery conditions.  I bring my young tea plants inside or in the green house and tarp my mature hedges with horticulture fleece.  This approach has worked well over the past 3 winters.

We are an organic tea estate which means that we do not use pesticides.  So far we have been fortunate to not encounter major challenges with pests. An excellent educational resource for things like copper fungicides for prevent and control blight is over at Table Rock Tea.


There are 3 ways you can grow tea by: seed, cutting or live plant.

1.  Seed

- Plant seeds in a pot that has plenty of drainage holes.  Use slightly acidic potting soil or make a 50-50 mixture of dirt and playground sand.

- Place the pot in a warm, sunny spot.

- Repot your plant into a larger as it grows, to ensure its roots have plenty of room.

- Once your tea plant is over 20 inches high, or 2 years old it will survive happily in your backyard.

2.  Cutting

- In autumn, select a healthy, mature tea plant to take a cutting from.  Look for a stem with both a healthy leaf and bud forming.  Cut the stem at an angle.  This will usually be about 1.5 cm below a leaf node (bud forming) with a knife or pruning shears.

- Fill a well-drained pot with a 50-50 mixture of dirt and playground sand.  Water well.

- Dip into FastRoot and insert the cutting into soil as deep as it well go, without allowing the leaf to touch the soil.

- Keep the cutting moist and warm on a windowsill or in the greenhouse.

- After about 10 weeks the cutting should have formed firm roots and be producing new growth.  If so, it is safe to repot.

- Once your tea plant is over 20 inches high, or 2 years old it will survive happily in your backyard.

3.  Live Plant

- Find a warm, sunny spot to plant.  I have found planting on a slope, helps the tea plants thrive (in rainy climate).

- Ensure the correct soil pH.

- If it gets too cold, bring the in or protecting it with horticulture fleece.

Interested in learning more about tea cultivation and growing your own tea?  Here are some of my favorite resources:

Gracefully Yours Growing Your Own Tea Guide

Tea Documentaries:

Tea Propagation From Seeds

Tea Propagation From Cuttings



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