Camellia sinensis is the common tea plant, native to the southern parts of China, Japan and Korea and from which tea has been produced for thousands of years. In the UK it is sufficiently hardy to be planted outside in most areas - in fact there are now tea plantations in both Cornwall and Scotland!|
It should be treated as any other camellia and grown in moist, acidic soil in sun or (ideally) part shade. The plants benefit from good air circulation - the leaves have a tendency to develop brown edges overwinter, particularly if the humidity is too high, but the new growth will come through unaffected. Small, white, scented, single flowers are produced in late autumn, and in spring the young leaves can be picked and dried for tea.
As a species in the wild, Camellia sinensis is very variable, and over the years different forms have been collected and cultivated. We grow two distinct varieties - one, which is more compact, with a smaller leaf , and the other, a more vigorous plant, with a larger leaf. However, the differences between the two are not great, and either can be used for growing tea. For more information see our Knowledge Base article.
We also have 1 litre plants available that have been grown from seed, and so are not a clearly defined type of Camellia sinensis, but do vary in leaf size. As seedlings, they may well not produce flowers for a few years, whereas all our other plants are grown from cuttings and so will flower as young plants.