Real tea bush on the windowsill – Beautiful indoor plants

The temptation to grow independently, albeit small, but such a valuable harvest of fruits, berries or spices is the main reason for the popularity of indoor fruit-bearing plants. While laurels, citrus fruits and pomegranates with coffee hold the lead in popularity, more and more flower growers decide to have a real tea bush on the windowsill. Even a rather complicated technique of drying tea leaves and exactingness to growing conditions do not deter you from growing your own varietal tea. After all, the annual harvest of young leaves is an exclusive and precious treasure that you so want to enjoy. And the decorativeness of compact bushes is able to compete with true indoor stars.

A real tea bush on the windowsill. Farmer New plants and flowers


Chinese and not only room tea

Many indoor plants are compared to tea bushes. But the real tea is not in the form of dried leaves, brewed for their favorite teas, few have seen. The appearance of room tea in the list of the main trends of recent years has become a kind of surprise. Of course, the trend of growing popularity of fruit and useful plants has been observed for a long time, but the transition of tea to the category of potted stars has become not entirely expected.

Tea bushes have always been considered demanding plants that can only be grown in a certain climate and a certain soil. But it is possible to recreate the conditions for them in the format of a limited volume of substrate in a pots.

An authentic tea that yields the same leaves, without which it is difficult to imagine modern life – the plant is easily recognizable. Tea is cultivated in countries with tropical and subtropical climates. Today it has spread far beyond the natural range of its wild ancestors and is found in Asia, Africa and the Americas.

Tea got its name only in the 18th century, with the light hand of the legendary Carl Linnaeus, who gave tea the name of the goddess Thea. The old botanical name of the plant, consonant with the English “tea”, is still the most popular, and it is it that is used in relation to both tea bushes and a drink made from tea leaves, despite the fact that officially all plants of the Tea genus have long been re-qualified.

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Tea varieties are included in a larger related community – genus Camellia (Camellia).

Tea – evergreen shrubs or trees and semi-trees with a pronounced trunk, forming a sprawling, rather dense crown. Leaves are replaced annually, “dumping” in the spring, which does not prevent the plant from maintaining a stable decorative effect.

In nature, the height of a tea bush ranges from 2 to more than 10 m, in a room culture it is, at most, a meter-long plant (and it is much more compact if it is formed regularly).

In small-leaved tea, the leaves are medium-sized, up to 4-8 cm in length, sit on small petioles, in large-leaved tea – up to 20 cm in length, long-petiolized. In any tea, the leaves are arranged in a regular order, an ideal oval shape with a narrowed, pointed tip. The leaf edge of the tea bush is finely toothed. Small-leaved varieties are characterized by an interesting silvery pubescence and a colored, anthocyanin color of young leaves, which they lose soon after blooming.

Despite the fact that tea is valued for its leaves, the plant blooms at a respectable age even in indoor conditions. Fragrant, delicate, white-cream or light pink flowers sit in small bunches of 2 or 4 pieces and flaunt a very lush center of stamens in a cup of round petals. After the flowering of the tea bush, multi-leafed, dark green fruit pods are tied, which gradually turn brown. Usually, the fruits of tea ripen only the next year. In room tea, fruiting is full, but not abundant.

Flowering tea bushBlooming tea bush. Farmer Dolce Sara

Variety of room tea

Former representatives of the genus Tea (Thea) are included in the large genus Camellia (Camellia) and represent the same name family Tea (Theaceae) together with 22 other genera of related plants. Teas are amazingly diverse plants. The genus includes more than three hundred species of plants, but it is very difficult to get confused in the indoor assortment, because all tea bushes grown in pots are Chinese camellia, or Chinese tea (Camellia sinensissynonym Thea sinensis) and its various forms, hybrids and varieties, differing in taste.

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Indian and other types of tea are not grown in the rooms.

Choosing room tea, you need to focus on your tea tastes, because the varieties and varieties include the most popular options – from the legendary Yunnan to Assam, Ceylon tea, Shan, Burmese, etc.

All room teas are conventionally divided into southern and northern varieties:

  • small-leaved, or Northern tea – these are shrubs of compact size, with leaves from 4 to 8 cm long with a small petiole, a narrowed apex, a sharp-toothed edge, which are easily recognized by the purple color of young leaves with a silver edge;
  • large-leaved, or southern tea – trees with slender trunks and a dense crown, larger plants with a pronounced trunk and large, up to 20 cm leaves with long cuttings and the usual green color of undisturbed young leaves.

Chinese Camellia, or Chinese Tea (Camellia shinensis, synonym for Thea chinensis)Chinese Camellia, or Chinese Tea (Camellia shinensis, synonym for Thea chinensis). Farmer plants4presents

Conditions for growing indoor tea bushes

Demonstrating enviable talents in adapting to lighting, tea bushes, nevertheless, require very careful selection of conditions in rooms. It is difficult for them not only to find the right temperature conditions, but also to satisfy the need for fresh air and light dependence.

Lighting and placement

Despite its reputation, tea is a fairly shade-tolerant culture. In the rooms, he feels good not only on the windowsills, but also inside the bright rooms. For Chinese camellia, eastern and western window sills or a place similar in light intensity are considered ideal. The plant does not like direct sunlight.

Tea bushes are light dependent and must be regularly rotated in relation to the light source. During the period of budding and flowering of the tea bush, any rearrangement of the plant, including turning, will lead to partial or complete shedding of the buds.

Temperature control and ventilation

The need for a cool winter is considered the most difficult moment in growing tea at home. But in reality, tea bushes do not have to be moved into the cold for the plants to go through a full dormant period. Ideally, the tea is kept cool, at a temperature of +8 to +12 degrees. But the plant will be able to overwinter in ordinary room temperatures (however, with a warm winter, it will be necessary to adjust the care and sharply increase the humidity of the air).

During the period of active growth, Chinese camellia is content with typical “living” temperatures. It is desirable that the indicators do not go beyond 20-25 degrees Celsius. In the heat, the plant partially dries up, withers, loses color intensity.

In the warm season, it is advisable to keep tea in the fresh air. Rooms with constant ventilation, a balcony, a terrace, taking out into the garden or digging into the ground – any option will do. You can take tea bushes into the garden after the night temperature rises to + 13 … + 15 degrees (on warm days, plants can be taken out earlier, protecting them from cold snaps up to +12 degrees by bringing them back into the heat).

Tea care at home

Tea bushes cannot be called a simple plant. They require attention and care, constant monitoring, careful observation and instant response; equally poorly tolerate droughts and overflows, requiring year-round fertilizing and special pruning. Chinese camellia bushes remain plants that can only be recommended to experienced flower growers.

Watering and air humidity

It is important for tea bushes to maintain a stable substrate moisture. As the top layer of the soil in the containers dries up, the plants are gently watered. Too abundant watering is better to replace with more frequent, but restrained. When overflowing, stagnant water, tea bushes stop growing and suffer from root rot.

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Drought is not so dangerous, but it is also better to avoid it, because it affects the quality of the leaves and leads to their partial shedding. During the period of budding and flowering, watering is adjusted, slightly reducing the moisture content of the soil, but not allowing it to dry out. In winter, the plants are watered, keeping the substrate slightly moist.

It is imperative to include loosening in the tea bushes care program. It is carried out not after every watering, but regularly (for example, after every fifth such procedure), gently fluffing the upper layer of the substrate, but avoiding contact with the roots.

Air humidity is very important for tea. Plants do not tolerate placement near heating devices or air conditioners, they like medium-high humidity levels of 65-75%. Tea bushes need measures to increase humidity not only during a warm winter: plants need to be sprayed more often and humidifiers should be installed to maintain consistently high rates. Tea bushes can be content with installing pallets or bowls with wet pebbles and expanded clay.

For watering and spraying the tea bush, you can use only a soft, high-quality, cleaned hearth.

In the summer, it is advisable to take room tea to fresh air.In the summertime, it is advisable to take room tea to fresh air. Farmer plants4presents

Top dressing and composition of fertilizers

The main task of tea dressing remains to maintain a stable soil nutritional value with its limited volume. Plants are fed all year round (except for cool wintering). The standard frequency is once every 1-2 weeks in spring and summer and once every 3-1 weeks in autumn and during warm wintering.

Tea bushes need nitrogen and phosphorus more than potassium at a young age and prefer a balanced composition of fertilizers with a slight dominance of nitrogen after 4 years. For the plant, either universal fertilizers or preparations for camellias are used. For tea, you can use organic fertilizers and preparations based on them.

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Pruning, shaping and harvesting

A good harvest of tea can only be harvested from properly formed plants. And tea bushes do not retain their decorative effect without formation. The main purpose of pruning is to maintain a strong skeletal base of the bush, stimulate growth in width and form the densest crown possible.

Regular pruning of tea begins at 2 years of age or after the plants reach a height of 30 cm, when the upper part of the central shoot is removed from the plant to stimulate the growth of lateral branches (the tea is pruned to a level of 10 to 15 cm). Tea bushes are pruned once a year (with the exception of standard plants and bonsai, which are additionally formed during active growth). The optimal time is the same period as for the transplant – during the resting phase from November to February.

There is nothing difficult about cropping:

  • for normal containment, the entire bush is shortened by 6-7 cm annually;
  • to create compact wide bushes or maintain a certain shape, all main branches are cut to a level of 30-35 cm, creating a permanent skeletal base;
  • if you want to form a tea tree into a bonsai, stem or a more strict silhouette, pruning is carried out along the desired contours, leaving branches at least 15 cm long;
  • weak, damaged shoots are removed annually.

The first collection of tea leaves is carried out on tea bushes four years old and older. Leaves can be harvested from May to September by removing or plucking the tops of the five-leafed shoots (a bud and 2-3 leaves with a bright, light color under it are cut off).

To obtain green tea, the tender leaves are steamed and, after cooling, dried and rolled. You will have to try hard to get black tea. The collected leaves are dried from 5 to 18 hours, scattering in a thin layer in the shade until softened.

Sluggish leaves are gently rolled into tubes between the palms until a white foam appears and fermented at a temperature of 20 to 23 degrees, laying in a thick layer (10 cm) under a damp towel for 4-5 hours (before the typical tea smell and reddish copper shade of color). The fermented leaves are dried in full sun or in the oven.

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Transplant and substrate

Tea bushes and trees cross over, preserving most of the earthy coma. During the first five years, the plants are transplanted annually, then only if necessary, replacing the topsoil every winter.

Chinese camellia is transplanted from November to February, before the plant begins an active growing season.

For tea, you need to carefully select the characteristics of the soil. This plant can only grow in a substrate, the pH of which does not go beyond 4,5-5,5. Ready-made substrates for rhododendrons are perfect.

For tea, they choose not too spacious containers. Natural materials and breathable planters are preferred. Drainage holes are key. Tea can be grown in groups or in large containers to create green spaces. For bonsai-shaped tea, traditional bowls are used.

Too large containers should not be used for tea bushes. The diameter of the pots is increased not by a few centimeters, but by 30-50% compared to the previous container in order to make the transplant as rare as possible.

At the bottom of the tea pots, a high layer of coarse drainage must be laid. Plants are dangerous to burrow, the root collar should not be immersed in the soil. Tea bushes are best grown with protective soil mulching. Any available mulch can be used when taking out into the garden and digging in. For purely potted plants, mulching is performed from decorative materials or bark.

Harvesting tea is the removal or plucking of the top of the five-leafed shoots.Harvesting tea is the removal or plucking of the top of the five-leafed shoots. Farmer AMPM Noticias

Diseases, pests and growing problems

Tea is considered a pest and disease resistant indoor plant, even in bonsai form it rarely gets sick. But still, problems in its development cannot be avoided. The plant is very sensitive to changing conditions, often loses its decorative effect, and may look stunted for no obvious reason. You need to carefully observe the tea, constantly check the condition of the substrate and leaves, adjust the care at the first signs of wilting.

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Often, the loss of decorative effect of the leaves is associated with flowering: in some home tea bushes, the leaves quickly lose their decorative effect when they ripen and begin to bloom. The plant will recover over time, after flowering ends, but for bonsai and formed trees it is sometimes better not to allow flowering, focusing on the main goal – preserving the beauty of the bushes.

Reproduction of indoor tea

Despite the fact that camellias are propagated vegetatively, only seed growing is used for indoor tea. For growing tea bushes, planting material is carefully selected in the form of uniform, from 12 mm in diameter, whole, dark brown seeds with a white core. Before sowing, tea seeds are kept in the cold, at a temperature of about 5 degrees Celsius, in stably moist sand. They are soaked before sowing for 48-72 hours in water with a temperature of 20 to 25 degrees.

Sowing is carried out in early spring in light sour substrates to a depth of about 3,5 cm. Sowing is carried out in 4-5 pieces in individual pots. Provided that light soil moisture is maintained under glass or foil, crops appear within 1-3 months.

Plants develop quickly, weak seedlings are discarded or cut into individual containers only with very dense crops, trying to leave seedlings in the same pots as long as possible. The development of the root system in a plant occurs at the expense of vegetation, often the first shoots die off, and the roots release new shoots. Bushes begin to form at the age of two, according to the usual method.

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Anna Evans

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