When you need to relax and take in something hot, but you’re not in the mood for some coffee or hot cocoa – a cup of freshly brewed tea sounds better. Wouldn’t it be cool if you can grow your own?
Tea leaves can be grown in your garden if you live in warmer climates or in a container inside your home if you live in cooler areas. There’s one catch, though – it may be three years before you can start harvesting the leaves to make tea. If you don’t want to wait this long, you can go for herbal tea plants sold in most supermarkets or street markets.
There are a lot of benefits and pleasures to growing a tea garden indoors. And besides, the plants that can be used for tea can also be used in cooking.
So, here are some helpful tips to guide you if you want to start growing an indoor tea garden:
Choose your herbs.
The best herbs to grow are the ones you will surely use and enjoy. If you don’t like the flavor of an herb, don’t grow them.
Pretty much any culinary herb can be used for tea, and many of them have many medicinal properties.
Chamomile is one of the most popular herbs to grow in your indoor tea garden. It’s recommended as a bedtime drink because it can lower stress levels.
Mint helps deal with digestive issues and nausea. There are tons of varieties to choose from, including spearmint, peppermint, Moroccan mint, and apple mint.
Lavender is used to helping with issues such as sleeplessness, anxiety, and headaches. It’s deliciously calming and fragrant.
Rosemary is typically used as a savory herb, but it also works well in teas. It can improve digestion, strengthen your immune system, promote mental alertness, and help protect you from heart disease.
Ginger is a perfect addition to your indoor tea garden because it has many benefits and uses. It can be used in a lot of dishes besides tea, and its roots and leaves can also be used to make tea. It’s a warming tea for ailments like colds, flu, nausea, and improving digestion.
Thyme comes with a gentle, earthy flavor with subtle undertones of mint. Drinking a cup of thyme tea can offer relief for respiratory problems, inflammation, and gastric issues.
- Lemon balm
A part of the mint family, lemon balm is a great addition to teas as it can help with anxiety and sleeplessness. Fresh lemon balm tea is very calming.
- Lemon verbena
When it comes to lemon-flavored herbs, lemon verbena is one of the best. This herbal tea can help calm the nerves, reduce inflammation, and aid digestion.
Basil is not just great for garnishing pasta and pizza; it’s useful as an herbal tea as well. Basil tea is great for people with asthma, diabetes, coughs, colds, and heart disease.
The rosehip is a fruit of the rose plant, which is used to make tea. Rosehip contains vitamin C and can help reduce inflammation.
Geranium has antifungal and antibacterial leaves that can make a delicious, relaxing, and calming tea.
Sage tea can invigorate your taste buds. It has a pleasant aroma. It can help improve digestion, help a sore throat, ease heartburn, and even help depression and tackle mouth ulcers and gum infection.
Marjoram is a go-to tea for various stomach and digestion problems. It can also help calm the nerves and ease travel sickness.
Oregano tea is great for coughs and colds. Plus, this plant is packed with antioxidants.
Choose the right container.
Once you have chosen the herbs you want to grow, select appropriate containers. Some herbs grow into large plants, while some remain small. Make sure the container you pick for them can accommodate the full growth of their roots and stems. Plant seeds in well-balanced soil, then water and put them in a warm place until they sprout.
You can grow a garden in a table or countertop near a window, in a window greenhouse, in a terrarium, in hanging baskets, in an indoor vertical garden, on trays, in large window boxes, and in pots.
Get a spot with plenty of sun.
Once the plants have sprouted, move them into an area that gets at least six hours or more sun per day, like a windowsill. Ideally, choose to create your indoor tea garden in a south-facing window that gets sunlight all day. Rotate the herbs often and check the soil frequently to ensure it has the proper moisture level for each plant.
But if you don’t have an area in your house that receives loads of sunlight, you can use artificial plant lights to give seedlings and plants 12-16 hours of artificial light every day.
Make the indoor setting conducive to the growth of your plants.
When watering your plants, make sure you use temperature water. Take time to learn about caring for each herb you pick and water accordingly. Also, provide enough humidity, as air tends to get dry during cold months. If you live in an area with constant dry air, use a humidifier or mist your herbs early in the day.
If the leaves wither, check if it’s getting enough or too much water and enough light. If the leaves develop brown streaks, the plant may be getting too much sun. Lots of indoor gardeners think that disease or insects are causing their leaves to wither, but sometimes, the plant is just getting too much heat, or the soil temperature may be fluctuating a lot. Too little water can cause lifeless-looking leaves. If the stems turn too soft, the herb is probably getting too much water and not getting enough sun.
Protect them against indoor pests and disease.
Herbs that grow indoors are fairly resistant to insects and disease, just as they are outdoors. Indoor pests that target herbs include mites, mealybugs, aphids, and whiteflies. Protect your plants against indoor plants by using soap spray. Spraying insecticidal soap – a mixture of dish soap, water, cayenne pepper, and little neem oil – can give a punch to munching bugs. The amount of soap must be small enough that it won’t cause harm and cause the leaf to taste off. But make sure to make an effort to rinse off the leaves after harvesting after using this spray.
Harvest for tea.
When plants are mature, you can harvest the leaves and flowers for tea. Here are two ways to prepare this:
- Fresh – Pick the leaves or flowers of the herbs. Crush them between your fingers to release the flavor and scent. Place two teaspoons of fresh herbs into a strainer or a mesh tea ball, steep in eight ounces of hot water for about 5 minutes.
- Dried – Dry the herbs and store them in airtight containers. Steep about a teaspoon of herbs per eight ounces of hot water for about 5 minutes.
Sweeten with a little honey or sugar if you like, then sip. You have made a soothing drink from your own tea garden.