Yay! My tea plants (Camellia sinensis) got here today. I originally ordered one, but the guy said he could fit two more similar-sized plants in the same box for the same shipping cost. Twist my arm, I got two (plus another plant for a friend).
These are the ‘Sochi’ variety, which is apparently one of the hardiest tea varieties. They still wouldn’t survive outside here without some serious winter protection, but at least it gives me some leeway when it comes to bringing them inside in autumn.
Because I really need more large houseplants in winter.
Of course, I know it won’t let me stop buying tea to drink (I’m addicted to tea), but growing tea is something I’ve always wanted to try. I’ve tried growing plants from seed several times, but never been able to get past the seedling stage. I’ve read they don’t do so well as houseplants, but you never know until you try. I imagine the reasons are light and humidity, but my tropicals come through winter just fine in a south-facing bay window and with some humidifying tricks.
Other than that I think the trickiest part for me is the soil. As a species of camellia, I imagine they’d need rich, friable, and acidic soil…right now I’ve got them potted in a mixture of topsoil, vermiculite and worm compost, with a dusting of sulphur. Peat moss is the standard soil acidifier, but I personally don’t think it gets harvested sustainably, so I try not to use it. I know the aluminum sulphate people use on hydrangeas damages rhododendrons and azaleas, so I’ll avoid that. Need to think about this.