One plant –two uses!
Camellia sinensis is not just for tea. It is a wonderful addition to any garden because of it’s “camellia family” characteristics. Much unlike most of it’s famous camellia cousins, Camellia japonica and Camellia sasanqua, Camellia sinensis flowers are small, simple and some are even slightly fragrant. Late summer sprays of blossoms adorn the evergreen plants in colors of white or pink depending on the variety. The many diverse leaf textures and plant sizes all offer something special to your garden as even without blooms, the plants are very attractive.
Camellia sinensis is an evergreen ornamental shrub that is easy to maintain, can tolerate a wide climate range. The many types of sinensis cultivars available can vary in growth habits and sizes, so they can fit into a wide range of locations.
Camellia sinensis has an active growing season that begins in late April or early May and extends through September in climate zones 8. In colder zones like 6 and 7, the growing season could be shorter and in warmer zones like 9 and 10, it could be longer.
Blooming Season – reproductive stage
Camellia sinensis that are grown for tea are plucked or pruned on a regular basis during the plant’s growing season. This constant plucking keeps the plant constrained and makes it difficult for it to enter the reproductive phase, which is setting flower buds and producing seeds. If you do not constant pluck that leaves the plant will begin to develop flower buds which will open during the late summer to early fall. The flowers will be pollinated either by bees, or the wind and with a certainty that they will develop seeds the following summer. The seeds can be harvested, planted and will more than likely grow into brand new tea plants. The flowers do not play a part in producing tea.
I have the best job in the world…I get to walk out of my back door and across the yard to a greenhouse and nursery full of Camellias and do what I love every day. Sometimes, when it’s very hot or very cold or when problems arise I do question my career path, but I always come back to the same place….I’m where I’m supposed to be!