In your urban pocket vegetable garden, you have already cultivated Cherry tomatoes, radish, strawberries, aromatics, a avocado tree ? Next: the tea plant!
In summary, what you need to know:
Last name : Camellia Sinensis
Family : Theacées
Type: Flowering shrub
Height: 1 to 3 m
Exposure : Sun and partial shade
Ground : Rather light and well drained
Flowering : November to March -Foliage : Persistent
The Camellia Sinensis, or tea plant, is a cousin of the best known camellia of ornamental Japan. Original and edible, the tea tree grows both in the ground - as an isolated element or in low hedges and ... in pots.
Its small size (1.50 m to 4 m in height) makes it a shrub that is ideal for urban gardens.
Planting the tea tree can be done pretty much all year round apart from periods of frost in winter and high heat in summer.
Sheltered from the wind, the tea plant
Between April and June, it is the right time to plant it but it is also possible to plant it in September / October. Choose a place sheltered from the wind, in the shade or in partial shade.
In its natural environment, in China, it grows at altitude, in a cool and stable atmosphere. In France, it will therefore appreciate a temperate and oceanic climate and will develop particularly well on the Atlantic coast where it is mild and humid.
The tea plant cold resistant down to -5 / -7 ° C but prefer wintering in a greenhouse or veranda to best protect its leaves, which cannot withstand snow or extreme cold.
Potted tea plant:
If it is in a pot, take it out from May to October, always in the shade and out of the wind.
The tea plant appreciates an airy, well-drained, cool soil and, above all, an acidic pH because it is a heather earth plant. Give it a pine bark mulch and water as soon as the soil surface is dry (with rainwater because it fears lime). Do not hesitate to mist its leaves in the event of a heat wave.
- Finally, take advantage of the summer to multiply your Camelia Sinensis, by cuttings. This will allow you to increase your harvest or share it with your loved ones!
Flowering and picking of the tea plant
It is quite possible to grow a tea plant at home, in your garden, and harvest the leaves to make your own tea.
The tea plant blooms once or twice a year :
In June, then from October to December. It is then dressed in small white flowers with a yellow heart, lovely on its thin and shiny foliage.
It is this evergreen and aromatic foliage that is used in the preparation of tea.
Harvesting tea leaves to make tea:
To make your own production, harvest the young leaves of a shrub that is at least 3 years old, at dawn on a beautiful morning in June.
Dry them for 24 hours in the shade, then in an open oven at 90 ° C. Savor its authenticity and learn how to perfect its cultivation and drying, according to your taste, over the years!
- To read also: benefits and virtues of tea for health
Warning, you will have to produce several kilos of leaves to obtain a kilo of tea and a single tea plant will not allow you to produce a lot of tea.
Use of tea leaves
Green tea or black tea in drink:
The tea plant is used to prepare tea and it is by modifying the preparation of the leaves that you will obtain green tea or black tea.
If the leaves are simply dried, green tea will be obtained while black tea will be obtained by fermentation of the leaves.
Rich in theanine and caffeine, tea is appreciated for its particular taste but also for its many health benefits.
Photo credits: Tea leaf: © Jag Images - stock.adobe.com Tea tree flower: © Elena Odareeva - stock.adobe.com Cup of tea: © Oksioma - stock.adobe.com