THEACEAE, The Tea family
Today at work I sold two Camellia sinensis ‘Teabreeze’ plants. One was to a design client for her herb garden. The other was to a woman who bought it as a wedding present. Among the many ornamental Camellias, we stock pink and white flowered tea bushes. I took notice of them and pruned them all. The white grow several times faster than the pink, and are very fragrant. They both like sun to partial shade, and acidic, well-drained soil. They bloom in winter. One can harvest the fresh new growth from these bushes to make your own green or black tea. The flowers can also be dried to make a delicate tea.
The pink tea plants have spots on the underside of the leaves which the garden center manger told me was oedema (Corky-scab, a condition caused by excess water in the cells which burst and callus over, it’s caused by environmental conditons not disease, and is common in greenhouse grown Heuchera). I looked it up and believe it’s likely a fungal disease called Camellia leaf blight, Monochaetia karstenii. The dry weather we’ll soon be having and the pruning I did should control it.
A new company in Portland, Camellia Senses, is importing fine green teas from an estate in Japan. I expect their website will be astonishingly beautiful.