Angela’s Tea Plants | Growing Tea in Oregon
If you went to this year’s Master Gardeners Plant Sale in Eugene, OR you might have noticed Angela’s booth there. You might wonder what a tea company is doing at a plant sale, but then you would see that Angela was selling plants too.
That’s because camellia sinensis, the tea plant, grows in the US. In fact, it grows particularly well in Oregon! Angela has dedicated a lot of time and energy to learning about how tea can grow in the US and her patio is filled with tea starts and tubs of germinating seeds.
At the past USLTG meeting, hosted at Angela's house, she shared 5 tips for how to grow your tea from seed.
1. Choose your Seed Stock Wisely
Buy the camellia sinensis variety sinensis and avoid the assamica variety. Buy your seeds in the fall.
2. Be Sure to Use the Right Soil and Water
Tea plants prefer acidic soil and water with a pH of 4.5 - 5.5.
3. When Germinating, Keep the Plants Moist!
Also make sure you don't bury the tea seeds in soil. They'll rot! Instead cover them lightly with soil, keep them moist, and out of the sun. Angela uses lidded trays to keep the environment nice and moist.
4. Make Sure to Prune your Plants to Create a Plucking Table
Make sure to prune the plants so they will become "bushier." Angela recommends doing so at 9 inches, then 12, and on up.
5. Harvest Every Two Weeks: April to September
Be sure to harvest each flush, two leaves and a bud, and don't be afraid to experiment processing the teas!
Oregon Tea Traders is committed to supporting tea growers in the US. So much so, that Angela volunteers her spare time to help organize for the United States League of Tea Growers or USLTG. If you are looking to learn more extensively about growing tea I highly recommend attending this year's upcoming Annual USLTG meeting July 21st from 8:30 am to 6 pm in Eugene at the Valley River Inn. This will be an amazing experience to network with tea growers from all over the US and learn more about growing tea locally! Register here.