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This is the true tea bush. Yes, indeed, the beverage is also a garden-worthy evergreen shrub.
Why isn't everybody talking about what a massive block of leaves this shrub forms? This plant should be used more in gardens! We had two in front of our former house and they were vigorous evergreen screens that never missed a beat in zone 8 heat. The droughts never caused it the flag. We never saw any insects, but we did find a few stray seedlings (seedlings are a boon for potting up for pass along plants).
Tea shrubs are fantastic screening evergreens that are also useful - this shrub is obviously better known as the purveyor of caffeine when steeped in water. Tea for brewing can be made in your own back yard by pinching off the new growth and drying these young leaves in the sun. It does take a lot of pinching to make enough for a refreshing pitcher of tea, but you can technically do it rather easily.
The flowers aren't much, but they look exactly like small Camellia flowers (because they are!). These white flowers with prominent yellow stamens are mere curiosities and cannot compete with their showy siblings in that regard.
Our form is the Korean line of tea.
evergreen screening shrub
edible ornamental: plant lots of tea bushes and brew your own caffeinated beverages
tea shrubs are heat-tolerant stalwarts, but this Korean form brings a little more cold hardiness
USDA Hardiness Zones
Winter: dark green
Summer: dark green
Fall: dark green
Fall Leaf Color Quality
evergreen and holds dark green color well in the cold, doesn't bronze
Native to USA?
Soil Moisture Requirements
average garden, moist-but-draining
Soil pH Requirements
full sun, part shade
To Make It Thrive
warm, mild climate
This is a camellia species, can it really grow in full sun? Yes, the leaves stay healthy and green and without sunburn. It also grows well in full shade, but will be a little more open-growing (more tight and dense in sun).