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Camellia Sinensis

Posted by scarletdaisies 7 (My Page) on
Thu, Oct 22, 09 at 14:53

I have a new year Camellia Sinensis, tea plant, hasn't bloomed or showed a lot of growth, woody and not at all bushy, but it has grown some.

Does anyone know how long it will take to see a bloom. Some do the first year, some the second, and some the third. Some say don't pick the leaves until the 2nd year, some the 3rd, and some the 5th.

I'm propagating mine as cuttings, so some of the leaves were picked from the bottom of the cuttings to soak in water and day later, put in dirt. I made a very greeny tasting tea out of them, not exactly like the green tea you buy, but a more grassy taste. Obviously the plant isn't ready for that, but I would have just thrown them in the garbage or compost them.

Does anyone have any experience with tea plants? When did you first harvest, how bushy does the tree get, is it supposed to be bare with a few leaves one each branch the first year, when did you see a first flower?

Thanks ahead of time!


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RE: Camellia Sinensis

My Camellia sinensis is only about 60cm tall (don't know how old it is - it was a gift) but during the winter - just gone in my part of the world - it flowered profusely. It is far too young yet to harvest from - still a bit scrawny, and a lot more growing yet to do. I expect to wait at least another couple of years.

When mature, tea is a very bushy plant - kept bushy by the frequent removal of the top growth during harvesting. As a cultivated evergreen plant, tea is usually trimmed to below 2 metres in height. However, if left to grow wild, the bush can reach 10 metres.

You might find the following information useful:

Cuttings from the stem, taken 10cm from the ground from winter through to summer, can be inserted in the soil at an angle so that the subtending leaf rests on the medium. Rooting is slow and bottom heat is recommended. Needs full sun to part shade. They prefer a well drained, soil rich in organic matter, pH 4.5- 5.5. The root hairs are very fine, so the plant cannot be allowed to dry out completely. Increase watering when the plant is actively growing and when the plant is in bloom. Fertilise every 2-3 weeks in spring through to autumn. Use a fertiliser for acid loving plants diluted to half the strength recommended on the label. Prune directly after flowering. Repot every 2-4 years in late winter or early spring. Plant is frost hardy to 6C. Once established, mulch heavily.

Harvesting: Terminal sprouts with 2-3 leaves are usually hand-plucked, usually every 7-15 days, depending on the development of the tender shoots. Leaves that are slow in development always make a better flavoured product. Green, Oolong and black (normal) tea are all made from the leaves of the same plant. Green tea leaves are allowed to wither in hot air and then pan-fried to halt the oxidation (fermentation) processes. The leaves of Oolong tea are wilted in sunlight, bruised and allowed to partially oxidise, until reddening of the leaf edges occurs. Black teas leaves are fermented in cool, humid rooms, until the entire leaf is darkened. Freshly picked leaves are spread very thinly and evenly on trays and placed in the sun until the leaves become very flaccid, requiring 13 hours or more, depending on heat and humidity. Other types of black teas are made by withering the leaves, rolling them into a ball and allowing to ferment in a damp place for 3-6 hours, at which time the ball turns a yellowish copper color, with an agreeable fruity tone. If this stage goes too far, the leaves become sour and unfit for tea. After fermenting, the ball is broken up and the leaves spread out on trays and dried in oven until leaves are brittle and have slight odour of tea. As soon as harvested, leaves are steamed or heated to dry the natural sap and prevent oxidation to produce green tea. Still soft and pliable after the initial treatment, the leaves are then rolled and subjected to further firing. For white tea, leaves are picked and harvested before the leaves open fully, when the buds are still covered by fine white hair. They are then dried.

To Prepare Tea-leaves at Home:
(1) Green Tea: Pluck the very youngest leaves and leaf buds. Blot the leaves dry, and let dry in the shade for a few hours. Steam the leaves (as you would vegetables) for about 1 minute. (If preferred, and for a different flavour, roasting them in a frypan for 2 minutes instead of steaming.) Spread the leaves on a baking tray and dry in the oven at 130C for 20 minutes. Store the dried tea leaves in an air-tight container.

(2) Black Tea: Pluck the very youngest leaves and leaf buds. Roll the leaves between your hands, and crush them until the leaves start to darken and turn red. Spread them out on a tray, and leave them in a cool location for 2-3 days. Dry them in the oven at 100C for about 20 minutes. Store in an air-tight container.

(3) Ooolong Tea: Pluck the very youngest leaves and leaf buds. Spread them out on a towel under the sun and let them wilt for about 45 minutes. Bring the leaves inside and let them sit at room temperature for a few hours, stirring them every hour. The edges of the leaves will start to turn red as they begin to dry. Spread the leaves on a baking tray and dry in the oven at 130C for 20 minutes. Store the dried tea leaves in an air-tight container.


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RE: Camellia Sinensis

Maybe I should have waited to make cuttings, but they seem to be doing well, not drying up so far. I wanted to see them flower, but I doubt it will now that I hacked the thing down so low.

Thanks for the instructions. Yours was better than what I found on the internet when I searched earlier. I'll save them on my computer for future use hopefully when it recovers. It's a very woody tree and very tough to cut. Mine is only about a foot high, but it has grown since it's been here, it just is growing very slowly.

Next year I can put it in full sun and maybe that will make it get fuller faster.

Thanks again.

It bothered me that there were so many different descriptions of what it was supposed to do at what year.


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RE: Camellia Sinensis

Excellent info thanks for sharing! I didn't realize they could take the low 20's. I may have to bring inside from time to time but I think it would be worth it.


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