A cup of homegrown herbal tea is a great way to start the day, right?
However, organic herbal teas can be quite expensive. If you’re an ardent tea lover, planting a tea garden is a wonderful solution to this problem.
Having a herbal tea garden in your backyard gives you a constant supply of your favorite teas without having to fork out a small fortune. Not to mention you’ll also be doing your bit in keeping the planet green.
Herbal teas are sometimes referred to as tisanes. This helps to differentiate them from beverages from the tea plant Camellia sinensis. Herbal tea can be made from the leaves, flowers, and even roots of tea plants.
You make tea by pouring boiling water over crushed herbs and letting it steep. The herbs can be either freshly picked or dried and stored.
Not only are these teas a flavorful way to start or wind down your day, but they also come packed with a myriad of health benefits.
A herb garden also adds a touch of green into your home or backyard. The herbs are easy to grow, have a soothing presence, and smell amazing.
Whether you have a balcony planter or a large backyard garden, growing herbs is a delightful and productive hobby.
If you are a beginner, you might not know which plants are ideal for a tea garden. Worry no more.
We’ve compiled a brief list of easy-to-grow plants that are perfect for your garden.
We will also give you some gardening tips regarding each plant to help you have an easier time with your herbal tea garden.
Chamomile tea is known for its calming effects and the ability to improve mild tummy upsets.
In ancient Rome, Greece, and Egypt, chamomile tea was used as a herbal remedy for ailments ranging from gastrointestinal pain, menstrual disorders, and insomnia.
The herb belongs to the daisy-like plant family known as Asteraceae. Two types of herbs from this family are commonly used to make tea:
- German Chamomile (Chamomilla recutita) and,
- Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile).
The two herbs are quite similar in appearance and usage. But Roman chamomile is a creeping ground cover that grows like a mat. German chamomile, on the other hand, grows upright to the height of about 1 to 2 feet.
While Roman chamomile is a perennial plant, the German variety is a reseeding annual.
Although these plants have their differences, their planting steps are similar. You can plant them in the spring from either seeds or seedlings.
The chamomile plant thrives in cool conditions with part shade. However, it will still grow well in areas with full sunlight exposure.
It doesn’t need much watering, especially once established. This makes it a perfect plant for the eco-friendly gardener.
Like many other herbs, chamomile doesn’t like to be fussed over. Too much watering and fertilizer can result in fewer flowers that have a weaker taste.
Due to its scent, the herb is also not affected by many pests. This makes it a perfect companion plant in a vegetable garden.
Tea is made from the dried flowers of the chamomile plant.
The best time to harvest the flowers is when the petals begin to curl downward. Dried flowers are generally more flavourful. But in a rush, you can make tea using fresh chamomile flowers.
To give your chamomile herbs room to thrive in your tea garden, get a spacious planter like the ones below:
Lavender is one of the most common plants in tea gardens – for many reasons.
It produces gorgeous flowers that have a heavenly scent that is known to have a calming effect. In one study, dental patients who were exposed to lavender scent had lower levels of anxiety than those who weren’t.
Lavender tea, which is made from the plant’s flower buds, has health benefits that include:
- Improving sleep
- Reducing inflammation
- Supporting digestive health
- Boosting the immune system
- Improving respiratory health
Lavender flowers attract pollinators such as butterflies and bees. This makes it a great choice for an eco-friendly garden.
Its scent also acts as a natural pest repellent. Plant it alongside other herbs and vegetables to avoid using harmful insecticides.
The herb can be grown anywhere with well-drained soil and full sun.
It is difficult to grow lavender from seeds. If you’re a beginner, buying small starter plants from a garden nursery will make your work a lot easier. You can also take cuttings from mature plants.
It is recommended that you plant lavender in the spring when the soil is warming up. If you plant it in the fall, it’s a good idea to use more established plants to ensure survival through the winter.
You will need to water the plants once or twice a week until they’re established. Mature lavender plants don’t need much watering. You can water them every two to three weeks until they start budding
When they bud, go back to watering once or twice a week until harvest time.
The best time to harvest lavender is when approximately half of the flower buds have opened. To avoid damaging your valuable lavender plants, always harvest using a sharp pair of pruners or shears.
Here are a few excellent pruners and shears for the job:
This scented herb that belongs to the mint family is another great addition to your tea garden. Other herbs in this family include bee balm and lemon verbena.
Native to North Africa, Europe, and West Asia, lemon balm has now been naturalized in the Americas and elsewhere.
Its leaves, which have a mild lemon aroma, are used to make herbal tea. Lemon balm tea has various health benefits that include:
- Relieving stress and anxiety
- Boosting cognitive function
- Easing insomnia and other sleep disorders
- Relieving indigestion
Lemon balm leaves are also used to add a tart, lemony taste to salads, smoothies, meats, and other dishes.
Depending on the type of soil and the amount of sunlight it is exposed to, the herbaceous plant can reach 1 to 3 feet with a similar spread.
Like other herbs in the mint family, lemon balm is quite hardy. It can be grown in zones 4 to 9.
Lemon balm grows best in cool weather but during winter, it dies back to the ground and regrows in spring.
It can grow in almost any kind of soil, as long as it’s not too wet. But it grows best in well-drained, sandy loam soil with a pH of 6.7 to 7.3.
To test soil pH in your tea garden, use these testers:
Start Your Tea Garden Today
Getting started is often the hardest part of anything…even when it comes to tea gardens.
Having the right information and tools makes starting and maintaining a herbal tea garden so much easier.
Clean Air Gardening has got your back! Look through our catalog of gardening essentials to find everything you need to grow a flourishing tea garden. We have everything from shears, weeders, to soil testers, and much more!
While at it, don’t forget to read and bookmark the articles on our regularly updated blog. We are here to support you all through your gardening journey.