Tea Camellia

Brad EdwardsFebruary 20, 2013


Does anybody grow the tea camellia in the US, if so where, and if not why?

We are a nation of tea drinkers and I am surprised people don't grow and harvest it here "I have never heard of anybody making their own traditional tea".

Would love to know if it would grow zn 8 NE Texas.

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Yes, I have two bushes here in Chattanooga. Zone 8 should be fine for it, but when in doubt go to your local nursery and ask how well flowering camellias do in your area. If you can grow the flowering variety, you can grow the tea variety.

Things to know going in:
1) Get multiple plants. They don't need to cross pollinate, but you will want multiple plants if you want to get enough to brew so much as a single cup of tea anytime soon because...
2) These things are slow growers. And by slow, I mean *SLOW*. As in it will take about as long for a tea bush to get big enough to produce seed as a fruit tree (between 4 and 12 years).
3) Get live plants if at all possible. Tea plants are tricky to germinate from seed, so save yourself the headache and just get the biggest living plant you can find.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 9:27PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

The trick may be to pinch and let the shrub grow some more and theeeen use the leaves. But then we go back to the ohhowslowthey grow problem that Edymnion was talking about! Hee hee hee! I agree with the suggestion, get several plants if you plan to drink a lot of tea or drink often.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 11:31PM
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Brad Edwards

Thank yall so much for the really good info. We are planning a very small orchard so I most certainly have the patience. Thank you so much as well for the specifics about seed germination. I imagine that they probably have an insanely long productive life. I know most slow growing plants tend to live longer and I am okay with that. To me it would be cool 100 years down the road if somebody was drinking tea of my camellia's.

I have couple in the front yard that look really good and another maybel bryan in the backyard that looks really good. I am excited. Now the real question is where to find them. We have a really good nursery and I'll ask them next time I am in but it sounds like it might be a hard thing to scrounge up.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 8:19PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Yes, that would be cool. I have not heard of long lived tea camellias but if they act like their japonica counterparts, you may need to prune their tops yearly or they may get REEEEEAAAAAAL tall. Look at the picture that I borrrowed from one of okintos's posts. It is a nearly 200 year old specimen in Spain. It was pruned into a tree form and now you cannot reach the leaves. See how tiny people appear in the picture? Lord!

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 2:45AM
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