TEA PLANT SHRUB Camellia sinensis
Camellia sinensis is a species of evergreen shrubs or small trees in the flowering plant family Theaceae whose leaves and leaf buds are used to produce tea. Common Names include "tea plant", "tea shrub", and "tea tree" (not to be confused with Melaleuca alternifolia, the source of tea tree oil, or Leptospermum scoparium, the New Zealand tea tree).
White tea, yellow tea, green tea, oolong, dark tea (which includes pu-erh tea) and black tea are all harvested from one or the other, but are processed differently to attain varying levels of oxidation. Kukicha (twig tea) is also harvested from C. sinensis, but uses twigs and stems rather than leaves.
The leaves are 4–15 cm (1.6–5.9 in) long and 2–5 cm (0.79–1.97 in) broad. Fresh leaves contain about 4% caffeine, as well as related compounds including theobromine. The young, light-green leaves are preferably harvested for tea production; they have short, white hairs on the underside. Older leaves are deeper green. Different leaf ages produce differing tea qualities, since their chemical compositions are different. Usually, the tip (bud) and the first two to three leaves are harvested for processing. This hand picking is repeated every one to two weeks.
Tea plants prefer a rich and moist growing location in full to part sun, and can be grown in hardiness zones 7 to 9. Tea plants will grow into a tree if left undisturbed, but cultivated plants are pruned to waist height for ease of plucking.
Seeds per pack: 3 large seeds
Germination: Soak the seed for 12 hours or crack carefully the hard coat to aid in germination. Plant in rich soil, or mix of 75% seed-start mix and 25% sand. Keep the soil damp. Seed usually germinate in 1-2 months.