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Camellia sinensis

Camellia (Tea plant)

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Key information

Plant type

Evergreen shrub

Flower colour



Aromatic foliage



Skill level


photo by Friedrich Strauss, copyright GAP Photos (125352)

Plant details

This is the camellia from which we get our nation's favourite drink, tea. It is a native of both India and China and can grow at altitudes as high as 2,100 metres above sea level. To grow well the tea plant needs an acid soil, warm conditions all-year-round and no frost, so not many areas of the UK are suitable. It reaches up to 17m high but is slow-growing and can be kept smaller with regular pruning. On tea estates bushes are kept at around 1m as an ideal height for tea-plucking. The leaves are shiny and look similar to privet and the white, scented flowers grow in clusters of two or four.

Family: Theaceae

Genus: Camellia

Species: sinensis

Plant type: Evergreen shrub

Flower colour: White

Foliage colour: Dark green

Feature: Aromatic foliage

Sun exposure: Partial shade

Soil: Well-drained/light, Acidic

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Experienced

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