1. The Camellia Sinensis works well as a hedge row for privacy and wind blocking
Although privacy is not necessary for an edible landscape, having some privacy might encourage you to spend a lot more time with your plants. A privacy hedge serves the double function of also slowing down freezing winds in the winter and harsh, soil-eroding gusts in the summer, both of which dry out the soil and destroy soil bacteria that help plants to thrive.
You didn’t spend all of that effort adding fertility to the soil just to let the wind blow it all away. Having a wind-breaking, privacy hedge helps protect your investment of time and energy and helps to keep the soil fertility available in the garden area where you are growing your plants.
It is also useful for people who may be mulching with leaves, which have the tendency to blow away, to have large bushes such as the Camellia Sinensis that act as a “leaf trap” to keep them from blowing away. This is just another way to make sure you are getting the best bang from all of your efforts to build soil fertility in your edible landscape or food forest by keeping as much humus-forming, composting materials in your landscape.
2. You can use the Camellia Sinensis Tea Plant to protect more cold sensitive plants from harsh winter weather.
Since the Camellia Sinensis tea bush is an evergreen, it offers the ability to provide a wonderful microclimate to help protect more cold-sensitive plants during the winter. So if you’ve been having problems keeping your citrus trees alive, like lemons or grapefruits, flanking their sides with tea bushes may provide the shelter they need during the harsh winter months to protect their trunks and keep them from freezing.
For growing plants in your rhizome layer, like taro or sweet potatoes, having tea bushes protecting the ground from snow coverage or hard frosts might give you just enough protection to make sure these vigorous, perennial plants survive year after year.
With some creativity, something as beautiful as a tea bush can really zone push your edible landscape or food forest to a new level of food productivity and allow you to have a greater variety of plants by having such a malleable microclimate-providing evergreen bush.
3. Growing an abundance of tea right outside your back door
The Camellia Sinensis tea bush is easily propagated, so after you find your favorite tea bush, you can start to make an entire grove of tea bushes to guarantee that you never run out of tea. They are also long-lived so the tea bushes you are growing today can be passed down with your land or home to your children, who will be able to harvest tea from the very same bushes.
If you want to go the extra mile and really improve your tea-growing skills, you can even try making your own matcha. By providing a shade cloth for your tea bushes during the warm season and collecting the tender new growth of the Camellia Sinensis tea bush each month until the fall.
4. The hardiness of the Camellia Sinensis tea bush makes it an excellent choice for planting in your food forest from the very first year
Anyone who tells you that growing a food forest is an easily done task is a bald-faced liar. You will have ups and downs. You will lose plants and kill trees and, for many of those, you will not know exactly what killed it, what you did wrong, if it was the weather, or if the plant just wasn’t strong enough to grow in its new home.
These are all things to be concerned about and one thing that will make the journey a little bit easier is to start your food forest with plants that are known for their hardiness and being easy to grow. One of these is the tea bush. There are many varieties of camellia sinensis tea bushes and they have a wide range of cold hardiness and heat tolerance.
Adding a tea bush to your food forest will give you something to be proud of from the very beginning while you are still learning how to care for your edible landscape. You are still discovering that every plant has its own requirements to thrive. Tea bushes will help build your confidence to support that the exploration of adding new plants that may require more care or attention while they are getting established.
Tea bushes also have very strong roots that can become gnarly and quite thick. What this means for your food forest is that the tea bush will help to build a connection of roots in your soil, prevent erosion, and give you a good start towards achieving that forest look as soon as possible. The tea bush also sheds its leaves as it pushes out new ones, being an evergreen, so it is also like it mulches itself in a way, adding more humus to your soil and helping to build soil fertility for your entire garden system.
Some tea bushes can even get up to 10 feet tall if left unpruned. They can be trained to look like trees or left to bush out into a more wild and relaxed form. This flexibility allows the tea bush to be planted in nearly any space where you may desire to put it.
5. The Tea Bush Makes A Beautiful Chop and Drop Plant to Add More Humus for Soil Improvement
Not a fan of tea? Somewhere, but not here, you won’t be alone. 😤😤😤 Being so easy to grow and propagate, your tea bush hedge can easily become a place where you harvest materials to mulch other, more important plants, if you don’t plan on making tea with its leaves. Of course, after using the leaves to make tea, they can also be composted or even more simply, thrown back on the ground, to break down for soil improvement.
It is important to remember that not every plant that goes into your edible landscape or food forest has to be something that is edible. Having support plants will help your other plants to grow and fill in more quickly to increase your harvests. Tea plants serve this purpose admirably. So if you are looking for a support plant don’t necessarily like tea, then this could still be an excellent choice for your landscape.