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How to Grow Camellia Sinensis Plants Using Seeds

Growing camellia sinensis seeds is a tough job. But with patience and hard work, a true gardener can successfully make it happen. Let us see how.
Gardenerdy Staff
Last Updated: Dec 15, 2018
Organic Tea Field
Camellia sinensis is the botanical name of the plants that produce tea. This species belongs to the plant genus Camellia and the family Theaceae. Common names include tea plant, tea shrub and tea tree. Many people wonder whether they can grow plants from the camellia sinensis seeds.
As a matter of fact, there are both positive and negative possibilities, which means you can either succeed or fail in producing the plants with the help of the seeds. Typically, tea shrubs are grown by propagation technique. However, one may do the same by planting seeds. Let's find out how.
Factors Involved
One of the main reasons why people struggle to grow camellia sinensis plants using seeds is the hard shell of these seeds. It is the reason why you can also grow your own green tea, oolong tea, white tea or any other tea variant by using plant cuttings.
Secondly, one has to consider environmental factor. These plants thrive in high elevated regions of tropical and subtropical climates that receive at least 50 inches rain per year. These can turn into trees if left undisturbed, but are often maintained to waist height, by pruning for easy plucking of the tea leaves.
You can grow these plants in your herb garden and attain two main benefits--a landscape design consisting of beautiful camellia sinensis flowers, and homemade tea leaves that bring with it the numerous health benefits of tea.
Materials Needed
It would be ideal to germinate the seeds by container gardening and transfer plants to outdoors. Things needed are:
  • Bowl
  • Freshly harvested seeds
  • Plant pot
  • Plastic tarp
  • Cheesecloth bag
  • Shade cloth
  • Spray bottle
  • Potting soil
  • Coarse vermiculite
  • Granular slow release fertilizer
  • Foliar fertilizer
Instructions
Start with filling the bowl with water. Then, put fresh seeds in the cheesecloth bag and submerge the bag in the bowl for about 24 hours. Open the bag and soak the seeds in the bowl for about five minutes. Discard the floaters and spread the rest of the seeds on the plastic tarp by creating a single layer. Put the tarp in a sunny place.
Next, mist the seeds by using a water spray and leave them until you find the seed coating cracked. In the meantime, keep misting the seeds to maintain their moisture. Then, fill a garden plantar or plant container with vermiculite and push the seeds in the soil at the depth of about an inch.
Place the seeds in such a way that their eyes are parallel to the soil surface. Lastly, water the soil until it starts dripping out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the container. Cover the container with a shade cloth and place it in a sunny and relatively warmer room.
Water the container every time you find the soil is dry to touch. You may need to do this for about a month, which is the minimum time span that the seeds require to germinate. Once this time period is over, remove the shade cloth and place the container in the sun for about 1/3 of a day.
Add a slow-release fertilizer to the soil by following directions that will be mentioned on the package. Also use the foliar fertilizer in its diluted form and apply it to the plant foliage. You can also use organic seaweed fertilizer. While the plant grows, you need to keep watering the plant quite regularly.
You also need to increase the amount of sun exposure that the plant gets each week by 1-2 hours. When the plants turn a foot tall, it is time to transfer the same to a larger pot or the herb garden.
Always plant two different varieties of seeds so that you can increase the chances of cross-pollination and improve the quality. You also need to protect the plants from heavy winds which causes browning of the tea leaves. Last and most importantly, never try to plant these seeds in soggy soil or standing water areas--the plants will not thrive.