The Tea Plant Experiment

tea-plantsAndrew and I are big tea drinkers with a preference for loose leaf teas and so we wondered.. what if we tried growing our own tea?!

Many tea plants prefer tropical climates but we found a Korean plant variety that is supposed to be able to grow well in zones 7-9. Baltimore is zone 7, so that works out perfectly! We bought three!

Even though these plants are recommended for zone 7, they don’t like temperatures below zero degrees, which Baltimore definitely does get. We didn’t feel confident that they would survive the winter planted outside but we were curious to find out so we decided to experiment a little.

The Experiment

  1. We planted one shrub outside to see how it handled a Baltimore winter.
  2. We put the second in a pot to keep inside.
  3. The third plant was potted and placed outside for the winter.

Post-Winter Results

tea-plants-2To our surprise and delight, the plant that was outside and firmly in the ground all winter was in the best shape when spring arrived. This is also the only plant to produce a flower, which it did late last fall.

The plant that faired second best was the one that was in a pot indoors, however it dropped nearly all of its leaves, suggesting that it either got too much or too little water.

The least successful plant was the one kept in a pot outside which lost most of its leaves… and then it died.

As a result of this experiment, we decided that the ground was the best place for these plants and transplanted the second survivor next to his fellow tea plant in the hope that he will bounce back. He’s already started producing some new growth so things are looking up!

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