Tea Time: The Best Plants to Grow for the Perfect Pot of Tea
Yes, you can plant and harvest your own flavorful teas at home.
If you've already embraced the sustainable, self-sufficient practice of growing your own food, then planting a tea garden could be your perfect (not to mention, delicious!) next step. Luckily, starting a tea garden is quite simple to do if you understand and optimize your site conditions-knowing exactly how much sun an area receives, what zone you live in, and what type of soil you have are three great places to start. What's more, you don't need a huge garden space because many plants used to make tea can be grown in pots on a balcony, on a patio, or on a sunny windowsill.
A big word of advice about growing a tea garden, however, is to never use chemicals, pesticides, or insect repellents on your herbs. With all that said, keep reading to learn about the easiest and tastiest plants to grow for the perfect pot of tea.
Mint is a no-brainer when it comes to tea. This popular and ridiculously easy to grow herb is notable for aiding digestion. Peppermint is stronger than spearmint and is more often used in teas. Tip: Always, always grow in a container otherwise this rambunctious beast will spread across the globe-it's incredibly invasive. Plant it in full to partial sun.
This overlooked herb is usually reserved for sachets and wands but its floral taste is surprisingly sweet in teas and has a calming effect, which is great for reducing tension. The flowers-the part of the plant used to make tea-can be harvested and brewed right away. You also have the option of drying the stalks upside down in a cool place for later use. In the garden, lavender requires excellent drainage and full sun. Of the 39 species, the best for tea is English lavender.
Both refreshing and lemony-sour, this tender shrub appreciates full sun and dislikes harsh, cold winters. When brewed, lemon verbena leaves improve digestion and joint pain.
A close relative of mint, this herb imparts a refreshing lemon flavor to tea. Part sun and dry soil ensures a healthy plant. It's important to note that, like vigorous mint, lemon balm should only be planted in a container to control its spread.
Normally reserved for culinary dishes, this low-growing plant is also lovely in teas, where its earthy and slightly minty flavor can ease tummy troubles and sore throats. Use both the leaves and the flowers in your brews. Grow this low-maintenance plant in full sun to part sun; as an added bonus, it's also a pollinator-attracting plant, so adding thyme to your garden could be beneficial to the rest of your landscape, too.
Known for calming nerves and helping people settle down before bedtime, chamomile is the perfect plant to add to your tea garden. The small, charming flowers can be fresh or dried. Choose between two kinds of chamomile: German and Roman (the latter has a stronger flavor), and grow the plant in a sunny spot that will be watered generously.