Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tea Seed

Tea Seed

Look at this gorgeous tea seed!  I love its soft triangle shape, its verdant color and its leathery texture.  Camellia Sinensis grows from seed of course, but growing from seed is tricky.  The seeds are germinated in sand, and the germination rates aren't stellar.  In addition, the flowers are open pollinated which can lead to plant variations - sometimes good, sometimes not. 

Most tea propagation done today is from what gardeners call "cuttings."  A slip is taken and nurtured until it's ready to go into the soil.  The strength of this method is that it has a higher likelihood of yielding a viable plant.  In addition, you've got an exact copy of the parent plant and so expansion of the best species becomes easier.

The soil and temps of most regions in the US don't provide optimal conditions for growing tea. However, there is a plantation off the coast of the Carolinas, and there are test plots up and down the West coast.  I once tried to germinate a seed in a pot at home, with no luck.  Eternally hopeful, I shall try again (tho this time I might start with a baby from a cutting). 

Have you grown your own tea?

6 comments:

Rosemary said...

That tea seed is beautiful ~ I love its unusual shape. If you ever get to Hawaii, you must try and visit the tea plantations there. Great experience! My sister found an infant tea plant (from a cutting) and gave it to me. It hasn't grown much over the summer, and now I must try and baby it thru the winter. Here's hoping!

artandtea said...

Wow, that seed is huge! I never would have guessed that they were that big. And such a unique shape. I would love to grow a tea plant but I don't think it would like our New England weather, especially the winters. Thanks for sharing, Steph.

Marilyn said...

Do you need a cutting? We have four plants in our yard and Jim has started some from cuttings. Haven't tried the seeds.

La Tea Dah said...

Interesting post with helpful information. I have a tea tree that is growing well for me. I give it lots of TLC. It needs pruned. Maybe I should use the cuttings to grow a new tree.

Teafan said...

I've never seen a tea seed before. That's really cool!

Angela McRae said...

How interesting, as the only tea seeds I've seen (and failed at growing!) were smaller and brown. This is a new one on me. I have had success rooting a tea plant from a cutting, though, so I'm definitely doing that from now on!