Camellia sinensis is the source of tea of commerce. The young processed leaves yield tea -- the world’s most important caffeine beverage. Tea plants are evergreen, medium sized shrub (4-6 ft.) and can be grown outside in zones 7-9. The tea plant is native to S. E. Asia.
Blooming Time: Fall. Flowers are solitary in the axils of the leaves. The flowers are white to 1 ˝ inches in diameter and are fragrant.
Culture: Camellia sinensis need full sun to part shade. They prefer a well drained, neutral to slightly acidic soil rich in organic matter (2 parts peat moss or compost to 2 parts loam to 1 part sand or perlite). The root hairs are very fine, so the plant can not be allowed to dry out completely. Increase watering when the plant is actively growing and when the plant is in bloom. Fertilize every 2-3 weeks in the spring through fall, use a fertilizer for acid loving plants diluted to ˝ the strength recommended on the label. Repot every 2-4 years in late winter or early spring.
Propagation: Camellia sinensis are propagated by cutting or seed. Soak seed in warm water for 24 hours before sowing. Hardwood cuttings should be taken from winter to summer, treated with rooting hormone and with bottom heat of 72 degrees recommended. Rooting is slow.
Camellia sinensis was featured as Plant of the Week September 10-16, 1999.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.