Camellia sinensis can be successfully grown in containers as long as you follow some guidelines!
The most important thing to remember about Camellia sinensis Tea Plants is that they will absolutely not tolerate wet soils or soils that do not drain properly. Make sure you pay close attention to the recommendations we have for potting soils.
Growing in Containers—tips
- Choose a container that is about twice as large as the root mass of your plant.
- AVOID containers that are too large or you could have uneven water and nutrient distribution which could lead to trouble with your plant. Keep plant roots near the top of the pot.
- Make sure your container has plenty of drain holes.
- Fill the bottom with larger pebbles or stones so that water can drain well to the bottom of the pot and out. Avoid clogging holes.
- Clay will pull more water out of the soil—so if you must use clay, pay close attention to your plant's water needs.
- Don’t let your container sit in a saucer of water. Drain water off so that water will not be wicked back up into the pot.
Recommended soil for Tea Plants in Containers
You should be able to use any soil mix that is formulated for Shrubs or Trees. Miracle Grow makes shrub and tree soil or if you have a nursery in your area that grows their own shrubs, trees or Camellias, ask them for recommendations. Make sure to add plenty of rocks in the bottom of the container so that most of the soil drains away. Get a Moisture meter to monitor soil in the container and when the soil approaches dryness, water and let it drain well.
We do NOT recommend any bedding plant soil as they are too heavy in peat moss and will hold too much water around the roots and they can not breathe.
Fertilizing Camellia in Containers
Your Camellia sinensis Tea Plants in containers will benefit from regular fertilizing. You can use a liquid fertilizer for containers or a natural granular fertilizer like HollyTone™ . Both of these are formulated for acid loving plants like Camellia sinensis Tea Plants. Liquid feeding will need to be done on a 7-10 day basis to be effective. HollyTone™ can be used about every 6 weeks during the growing season. Avoid traditional granular and timed released fertilizer on plants in containers. Fish emulsions, organic fertilizers, compost teas all work very well with Camellia sinensis.
Repotting Containerized Camellia
Camellia sinensis Tea Plants grown in containers will do very well for many years. You may at some point have the need to repot your plant. Choose a container a little larger than the one you’re growing in. It’s usually best to gradually step up plants on a regular basis instead of putting them in a container that is too large.
If you wish to repot the plant back into the same container, you can trim the roots back somewhat and then repot again. The roots will generate and your plant will be healthier for it.