Tea Plants can be planted outdoors in milder climates. A part-sun part-shade environment works best and Tea Plants should be protected from afternoon sun. They are not as sensitive to cold weather as most plants can be and have been known to grow as far north as Climate zone 7 and even some warmer parts of zone 6. The main thing to keep in mind with Camellia sinensis plants is that they absolutely will not tolerate wet feet or planting too deeply.
- Camellia sinensis can tolerate full sun in most moderate climates PROVIDED it gets adequate water. If your plant does not get adequate water in full sun it could burn, or it could dry out causing brown tips and margins or even death. Morning sun is preferred with afternoon shade.
- Select the proper location and planting time for your plant—Zone 8 and 9 Fall to Spring planting. Zone 7 Spring planting is recommended. Zone 5,6 not suitable for outdoor planting.
- Create a raised planting or berm where you will your plant will be installed. This can be made of using additional soil from other locations in your yard, or it can be made using top soil. The area should be at least 3-4 inches higher than the existing ground level.
- Once your raised planting or berm has been created, dig out an area in the center to install your plant. Mix in about 10%-15% organic material such as peat most or leave compost with the soil that was dug out of the center of the raised planting or berm.
- Remove your Tea Plant from the container and plant it in the hole at the top of the raised planting or berm. You want the top of the Tea Plant’s root system to be exactly level with the top of the raised planting or berm.
- Use the soil that was dug out and mixed with the organic material to fill back in the hole around the root system. Carefully pack the soil as you fill it in to avoid any air pockets.
- Once the plant is installed, mulch with about 3 inches of organic material such as bark, leaves, or pine straw and water the plant thoroughly.
- By creating this raised planting or berm, you have insured that excessive water will be drained away from your plant so that it will not be too wet. By incorporating organic material into the soil surrounding the roots, you have insured that the soil will retain sufficient moisture for the plant.
- Once your plant has established itself by sending out roots into the raised planting or berm you should have an ideal growing area for your Tea Plant. Until the roots of your Tea Plant have grown out and established itself, be sure to water several times a week. Any excess water will continue to run off.
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!