PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Tea Plant (Camellia sinensis)

Yep, this is where most black and green teas come from. It is a species of Camellia, like the late winter flowering Camellias we have growing around Tacoma. Unlike the strictly ornamental ones, though, Camellia sinensis offers the gift of caffeine.

Camellia sinensis is a great landscape plant with evergreen, dark, glossy green leaves and delicate, lovely white flowers with egg yolk yellow centers. Around the Puget Sound, it will typically reach around 10 feet and can get 4-6 feet wide. If you are motivated to harvest it to make tea, it will stay shorter because you pick off only the youngest growing tips of each twig and branch.

Even though our plants aren’t big enough to harvest yet, and we haven’t done the curing process, we look forward to it. We enjoy knowing that we are participating in the same process that countless humans have done for over 3000 years – even if it is wildly impractical in the too-busy world of today. To that point, one of our favorite quotes is from an AI character of science fiction, “It is the impractical things in this tumultuous…world that matter most – a book, a name, chicken soup, that help us remember that even in our darkest hour, life is still to be savored.”