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Tea plant, cultivation and useful information. How to grow the tea plant, characteristics of Camellia sinensis and advice on where to buy the plant.
On this page you will find lots of information aboutcultivation of the tea plant, on the sale of the seeds or the already developed plant and pictures of leaves, flower and fruit.
Tea plant, Camellia sinensis
Its scientific name isCamellia sinensis, this plant is famous all over the world for the use ofleavesand sprouts, used for the production ofyou.
Theretea plantbelongs to the genusCamellia, of the Theaceae family. Worldwide it is also known astea treebut in Italy we must be careful not to fall into misunderstanding, in Italy, with the term "tea tree"Refers to the speciesMalaleuca alternifolia,the tree from which thetea tree oil,in fact, tea tree oil; despite the similar name these two species have nothing in common.
The most used varieties for tea production are theCamelia sinensis var. sinensisand its subspecies Camelia sinensis var. assamica. If the species is unique, and the most cultivated botanical subspecies are two, there is no lack of a large number ofcultivar. To make you understand, a bit like tomato puree. We know the classic tomato puree, tomato paste, peeled tomatoes… then we have datterini, heart of beef tomatoes, cherry tomato… The same happens for tea. The best known and most popular tea cultivars in Japan are:
In Japan, where the tea ceremony has historical importance, attention is also paid to the starting cultivar. The same attention seems to be non-existent here in the West.
Tea plant and types of tea
Fromgreen teato thetender, from the precious matcha to white tea, all types of tea originate from the processing of leaves, buds and other parts of the species Camellia sinensis. If the plant of origin is the same, to change and return the different ones variety of tea are the processing methods and the time of harvesting of the plant parts. The most widespread varieties of tea obtained from Camelia sinensis are:
- White tea
- Yellow tea
- Green tea
- Oolong tea
- Pu-erth tea
These types of tea, made fromCamellia sinensis, undergo different oxidative processes, or, as in the case of Kukicha tea, are obtained from particular vegetable parts (kukicha is obtained from the lateral jets of the plant, that is, from the twigs).
Tea plant, cultivation
If you wantcultivate the tea plantyou should know that this species grows and is cultivated mainly in tropical and subtropical climate zones, in areas with at least 127 cm of rainfall per year.
For thecultivation, thetea plantit prefers a position in full sun but also areas rich in humidity and with a fertile substratum. Do not be discouraged by the origin of the tea plant.
Many high quality tea varieties are also grown in Great Britain and Scotland, where the climate is more severe. Of course, with a less lenient climatetea plantsthey tend to be less productive and above all to grow slower, but according to experts this is not a limit: in this way the leaves acquire more flavor!
How to grow the tea plant
If left to its fate, thetea plantbecomes a realtree. The technique oftea cultivationprovides for topping: the plant must be pruned at waist height to facilitate the production of lateral jets and subsequent plucking.
Generally, those who want to produce green tea use Camellia sinensis sinensis (small leaf tea plant) while those who want to grow black tea use theCamellia sinensis assamica(broad-leaved tea plant).
Tea plant, sale
Few agricultural consortia offer the possibility to buytea plantsalready developed, but nothing prevents you from starting thecultivation starting from the seed. The seeds are easier to find, however, for safety, you can consult the yellow pages and call the nurseries in your area, maybe you will come across some enthusiasts willing to sell some specimens.
Tea plant seeds
As stated, they are easier to spot.
Before thesowing, the seeds of Camellia sinensis must be soaked for 2 - 3 days to allow the hydration of the seed and increase the turgor of the plant cells (so as to facilitate germination). Tea seeds do not have a high germination capability, so I recommend that you carry out an excess sowing.
After the soaking time, you can perform a very mild manual scarification, pressing the seeds lightly with a rubber mallet.
Sowing must take place on soft and slightly acid soil, free of calcium. The plant hates this element. For the same reason, irrigations should also be done with rainwater or distilled water (like the one you get from the air conditioner). Tap water tends to add limestone to the soil making it unsuitable forcultivation of the tea plant.
How long do tea seeds take to germinate? Two to four weeks. Maintain a temperature of around 20-25 ° C throughout the sprouting period and for the first stage of development. This is the most critical stage where more patience is needed.
Then continue with the planting in a sunny and warm environment. Start with sowing (indoors, therefore in a protected environment) in spring in order to obtain seedlings to be planted when the outside temperatures are at least 18 ° C even at night.
Where to buy tea plant seeds?Also in this case you can contact the agricultural consortia of trust or take advantage of the online sale. On "this Amazon page", for example, you can find various proposals for the sale of tea seeds.