If growing your own food is on your to-do list then we’ve got you covered. We have already explored the simple joy of growing a home herb garden and now we will take a look at what to plant in a tea garden in your own backyard.
A tea garden? Yep, those little silk packets that we love to drink are filled with dried leaves and flowers from plants that we can actually grow in our own gardens. In general, home gardens can produce bountiful herbal tea crops. While it is possible to grow black teas and green teas at home, these evergreen shrubs will only grow successfully in zones 7-9 (hot climates). We live in zone 5 and would have to grow these tea shrubs in a greenhouse. So, for ease and to be most successful (I like successful gardening) we stick to growing herbal teas.
Like with most edible gardens, the best place to start is with whatever you like to drink. In fact, if you read the ingredient label of your favourite tea you might discover that you can grow the plants in your garden. Herbal teas are lovely for children to drink too. So, is there a special tea that your child likes to drink? They most certainly will love growing the tea as well.
What to Plant in a Tea Garden at Home
One of the easiest tea plants to grow at home is chamomile. This lovely perennial flowering plant will produce plenty of flowers. Chamomile is self propagating and can spread like a weed. But with a little maintenance in the springtime you can grow as little or as much of this plant as you like. I have a fabulous post all about how to harvest and dry chamomile…it’s simple. Chamomile tea is a lovely tea to drink to soothe an upset stomach, aid in fever reduction and it makes a calming bedtime drink.
Mint is another deliciously simple tea plant to grow. Again, a prolific grower it is best to grow mint in containers or they can take over an entire garden…unless that’s what you like. There are many different varieties of mint and thus you can discover many flavours of tea to enjoy. From chocolate mint, spearmint to strawberry mint and more. Peppermint tea has many healthful benefits; improving mental focus, the menthol loosens congestion and a warm cup of tea may help with stomach ailments as well.
Lavender is another bushy option. Lavender produces beautiful flowers that are easily dried for teas. Lavender prefers a dry, well drained soil and can tolerate a dry spell…perfect for busy beginner gardeners. The lovely mounds of lavender flowers will fill your garden with an unmistakeable scent. Harvest and dry the flowers for teas (and many different crafts). Combine lavender and chamomile and you have a lovely sleep remedy.
Lemon balm makes for another soothing tea option. Lemon balm is a member of the mint family, however it will not spread as aggressively as mint – so, feel free to plant it in a garden bed. Drying both the tiny flowers and the fragrant leaves, this perennial loves lots of sun and well drained soil. Many gardeners rub a lemon balm on their arms and legs as a natural mosquito repellant. For centuries, lemon balm teas have been enjoyed for its’ anti-aging properties. Lemon balm tea can improve alertness and problem solving skills – perhaps a cup before a big exam?!
Don’t forget roses. Did you know that after the petals fall from a rose bud, you are left with rose hips. The rose hip is the little bulb, or seed of the rose. It is possible to harvest rose hips from wild roses and domestic roses. Now, as for how to grow roses…well, that an entire other post – actually that’s a whole novel. As at your local garden centre how to grow a variety of roses that will work best where you live. Know that roses are not nearly as difficult to grow as you might think. Rose hips have a long history of having healthy healing powers. They are packed with Vitamin C (especially when used in a tea before they have been dried) and the tea can have many immune boosting benefits.
The beauty of growing your own herbal tea garden is you know exactly how the plants were grown. Enjoy the flowers as they bloom and then prune them, dry them and store them to enjoy in your tea. The more you prune these plants, the more flowers they will produce. They love being pruned. However, if you are considering making herbal teas from flowers that you purchase from a store (like roses), please double check with the staff as to how the plants were grown. It might be tempting to dry the flowers you receive in a bouquet, however you don’t know what pesticides have been used on the flowers. Stick with making tea from plants that you have grown in your own garden or plants that were grown without pesticides. Also, take care to check with your doctor if you are pregnant or have any serious health concerns, as these teas can be quite potent and may interfere with medications you are currently taking. Safety first.
How to harvest chamomile
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