As winter slowly approaches, it is easy to imagine yourself sitting in front of a fireplace drinking tea. Many people are wondering if it is possible to grow tea at home. The short answer to this question is — yes. You can grow tea at home. However, there are still a few things you need to know before you try growing your own tea leaves.
The first thing you’ll need to decide is what type of tea you want to make. While there are many different types you can find on the market, the traditional one comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant. If you live in a warm climate, you can grow this plant in your garden. However, if you don’t live in Zone 8 or warmer, you can still grow it indoors.
If you opt for Camellia Sinensis, you should know that it is a small plant. The shrub is usually three to seven feet tall. While it can grow taller, you should prune it before that happens.
In fall, the tea shrub will blossom, and it will have small white flowers that smell wonderful. It is a nice decoration for your place, and it won’t take much space as long as you take care of it.
As for the soil, you should go for well-drained and sandy, more on the acidic side. Keep in mind that the size of the container you should use for growing tea mostly depends on the type of tea plant you choose. So be sure to pick the appropriate size based on the type. The important thing to know is that you can grow tea in pots, and you can easily do it at your home.
Of course, if you want to make everything even simpler, Rise Gardens can help you. You can grow any type of vegetable in them, and they make the entire process a lot more exciting.
Growing tea doesn’t require a lot of effort. All you need to do is water it regularly, and it will be well. Another thing we should mention is that you need to add good drainage. While tea plants love water, they still need a way to drain excess water, which will prevent rotting.
Tea grows best in a sheltered place that is partially shaded, and you probably have a cozy spot for it at your home. You also won’t need to worry about frost if you cultivate it indoors. Another thing people are curious about is how long it takes to grow tea. If we are talking about Camellia Sinensis, it takes two years for the plant to reach maturity and around five years before it becomes a tea leaf producer.
During the winter months, tea plants are usually dormant. During spring, you will notice signs of growth. Once you notice them, you can pluck two bright green leaves from each branch. As long as you are gentle, this will promote growth. These young leaves are ready to become a hot cup of tea.
You can repeat the same process throughout the year, and it will give you some time to experiment with different types of tea. A fun fact is that the same plant can produce various types of tea. There is green tea, oolong tea, and black tea.
Different Types of Tea and Processing
Since each type of tea we have mentioned here uses the youngest leaves and buds, the processing method is what will create different types.
1. Green Tea
The first type — green tea — requires you to blowdry leaves and leave them to dry further in the shade. After that, you will need to steam them the same way you would steam vegetables on your stove. A couple of minutes later, put them on a baking sheet and leave them in the oven for twenty minutes at 250 F.
2. Oolong Tea
When it comes to oolong tea, you need to leave the leaves in the sun for 45 minutes. This part of the process is called withering. After that, bring them inside and let them cool down to room temperature. Finally, repeat the same process as with green tea in the oven.
3. Black Tea
Getting leaves for black tea is probably the simplest. You take the leaves, crush them in your hand until they turn red, and leave them in a cool place for a couple of days. After two or three days, dry them in the oven like the previous two varieties of tea.
We give you a general idea of the process, but you can experiment with it as you please. Once you get a hold of it, you can see which type you like the most and how you can make the tea of your dreams with ease.