Saturday, January 16, 2021
Hirts Garden - Tea plant, Large Leaf Camellias Sinensis
I have wanted to get a tea plant for a long time. I knew I could not grow it outside, because the climate was not right. I used to think that there was only one place in the lower 48 that grew tea, Charleston, SC, it was started around 774. Then I did more research and I found a place in Washington State. In Burlington Washington ( Sakuma Brothers Farms Inc. opened a plantation in 2010) they have 5 acres along with a berry farm.
But...then later I did some other research and found there are some smaller less known tea growers in the lower US. Let's pull for those places, lets get some tea plantations going in the lower 48. https://www.killgreen.io/main/us-grown-tea
Another fun fact- Black Tea, White Tea, Green Tea, Oolong Tea, and Pur-erh Tea all come from the same plant!! All these teas are made from the Camellias Sinensis. It just all depends on the when they are picked (white is picked from first buds), how they are dried (Oolong is produced through a unique process including withering under the strong sun) and the oxidation process (black is more oxidized then the white, green and oolong)
For Christmas I asked for a tea plant and a growing light. I did lots of research on Amazon to see where was the best place to buy the plant. After an hour or more I decided on Hirt's Garden. They had good prices and good reviews.
As I searched to see where they were located...I wondered if my plant my might coming from Charleston or Hawaii. I was shocked to see that they garden was in Medina- only 30 minutes from me. I was thrilled to see the garden was so close, so I could actually go there and pick the plant myself.
On my day off I drove over to Hirt's. I was shown where the tea plants where located and that is where the help ended. I asked how to know which plant to pick and how to care for it and they said they had no idea. Well, okay, I was not here for the customer service, I was here for my plant!!! And I was thrilled to get my plant, I call her Cami.
There were about 15 large leaf tea plants to pick from....
I spent about 10 minutes looking at all of the tea plants. I decided to go with one that looked like it had new growth and buds.
I was temped to get one with the flowers already on it, but I thought maybe that wasn't the best way to go....I have no reason behind that though.
When I checked out I asked again about how to care for my plant, she said to ask the lady over there, pointing to the lady who just said she had no idea. I said she already told me she did not know how to care for the plant. The clerk said to google it or email the company. I decided if no one knew I would google it,
The tea plant prefers acidic soil (pH 6 to 6.5)… which is normally the pH of commercial potting mixes. On the other hand, tap and well water in many areas is very hard (alkaline), so over time the soil may tend to become too alkaline. A summer stay outdoors can therefore be helpful, as rainwater is soft and will help dissolve and flush out the lime that causes the problem. If not, repotting annually in late winter into fresh soil will help keep the pH in the right range
After doing some reading, I purchased the supplies below...
I added these drain smart discs to the bottom of the pot to help the water drain.
Because the pot was so big and the discs were small, I added 3 discs.
I then added rocks to help with the drainage as well.
I added my soil acidifier next.
I then added my fast draining coarse soil to the pot.
I then took my normal potting soil and mixed it all together.
Then I made a hole in the dirt and added my tea plant, Cami.
I then poured some reaming soil on the top.
I then added my grow light.
We will see if I can grow this plant and maybe make a cup of tea.