Camellia sinensis Tea Plants

Camellia sinensis ‘Tea Plant’

Camellia sinensis is an evergreen plant in the Camellia family.  It is commonly used to produce the tea we all love to drink.  All “True” tea comes from the leaves of Camellia sinensis. 

Like its famous cousins’ Camellia japonica and sasanqua, Camellia sinensis does flower, but nothing like what you see with the beautiful blossoms of ornamental Camellia species.  The flowers are a huge pollinator bonus as bees and other valuable insects love it when it blooms.

Flowers adorn the plants in the fall (USA) of each season.  If pollinated, the flowers turn into seeds the following fall and can be planted and grown for new varieties.  Camellia sinensis if left alone can become naturalized in areas where the seeds are not harvested and the plants can spread.

There are many variations or subspecies of Camellia sinensis.  The most common are Camellia sinensis var. sinensis and Camellia sinensis var. assamica.  The latter is not as cold-tolerant as sinensis var. sinensis. 

Botanical Name Camellia sinensis 
Common Name Tea Plant
Plant Type Evergreen flowering shrub
Mature Size 8-10′ if not pruned
Sun Exposure Full sun to part shade
Soil Type Moist, well-drained organic soil rich in humus
Soil pH 5.5-6.0
Bloom Time Fall (USA)
Flower Color White to pale pink
Hardiness Zones 7-8-9
Native Area China, Japan & Southeast Asia