If you love drinking tea and gardening, why not grow your own speciality teas? This list shows a variety of plants you grow for their leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds, and roots to produce delicious, homemade teas.
If you would like to grow herbs, see Herbs 101: Annuals and Perennial Herbs for Your Garden.
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What’s Your Cup of Tea?
Why make your own tea?
- Flavour! Freshness! And organic growing so you know it is herbacide/pesticide/all other yucky-cides free. Plus, you can experiment with flavour combinations to come up with your own special brew.
How do you make tea from plants?
- It varies by plant but, basically, the leaves, fruits, flowers, roots, or seeds are dried and then infused in water.
What gives tea flavour?
- The oils within the plants. Slow-drying or dehydrating can also intensify the flavours.
- The water used to make tea, tea-making method, as well as the temperature, teapot, teacup, and tea infuser can also affect the flavour. A good cup of tea can be complete luck or a work of art.
Where should I start?
- Get a good how-to book (or other resource), think about favourite teas and flavours you would like to explore, and find out which tea plants thrive in your growing zone.
Teabags were an accidental invention. In 1908, Thomas Sullivan, a New York tea dealer, shipped tea samples in silk bags. Instead of removing the tea from the bags, the recipients went ahead and brewed the tea right in the bags. And from there, the idea caught on.
How can I learn more about growing and producing my own tea?
My favourite resource is the book Homegrown Tea: An Illustrated Guide to Planting, Harvesting, and Blending Teas and Tisanes by Cassie Liversidge.
The book features growing tips, harvesting tips, and how to prepare tea from each plant.
This list is for information purposes only and is used entirely at your own own risk. Many plants, including ones listed here, have medicinal uses that should be understood, repected, and treated with caution.
60 Plants to Grow for Homemade Tea
Tea from Plant Leaves
Camellia sinensis, or tea plant is the most popular plant used for tea-making on earth. Commercial growers use it to produce white, green, oolong, and black teas, using various parts of the plant at different stages of growth, combined with different processing methods, to come up with these various types of tea.
Green tea, for example, comes from the young, top leaves and buds in spring.
There are two main varieties which require warmer growing zones:
- Camellia sinensis var. sinesis originates from China and is hardy in USDA Zones 7-9, sun to part-shade.
- Camellia sinensis var. assamica from Assam, India, is a tropical plant suitable for USDA Zone 10b.
You may find these tea plants in some garden nurseries in Canada and the United States, or by mail-order, but you will also need the right, year-round growing conditions to sustain them.
Have a look at the lists (below) for many more options that may work for you. The USDA growing zones listed are general. There can be significant variations so please check on the specific plants you are choosing at the garden nursery.
More Plants to Grow for Tea Leaves
- Anise Hyssop | Agastache foeniculum | USDA zone 4a – 9b
- Bronze Fennel | Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpureum’ | USDA zone 4a – 9b
- Cardamom | Elettaria cardamomum | USDA zone 10a – 11
- Feverfew | Tanacetum parthenium | USDA zone 5a – 9b
- Hyssop | Hyssopus officinalis | USDA zone 3a – 11
- Lemon Balm | Melissa officinalis | USDA zone 4a – 9b
- Lemon Basil | Ocimum × africanum | USDA zone
- Lemon Grass | Cymbopogon citratus | USDA zone
- Lemon Verbena | Aloysia triphylla | USDA zones 9-10 | If you love lemon, this is the a good choice.
- Manuka | Leptospermum scoparium | USDA zone 9a – 11
- Apple Mint | Mentha suaveolens | USDA zone 5a – 9b
- Black Peppermint | Mentha x piperita | USDA zone 3a – 7b
- Chocolate Mint | Mentha x piperita ‘Chocolate’ | USDA zone 3a – 11
- Eastern Mint | Mentha longifolia subsp. schimperi | USDA zone 6a – 9b
- Ginger Mint | Mentha x gracilis ‘Variegata’ | USDA zone 5b – 9b
- Lavender Mint | Mentha ‘lavender’ | USDA zone 5 – 9
- Moroccan Mint | Mentha spicata var. crispa “Moroccan’ | USDA zone 4 – 10
- Peppermint | Mentha x piperita | USDA zone 3a – 7 b
- Pineapple Mint | Mentha suaveolens ‘Variegata’ | USDA zone 5a – 9b
- Spearmint | Mentha spicata | USDA zone 4a – 11
- Strawberry Mint | Mentha ‘strawberry’ | USDA zone 4 – 10
- Swiss Mint | Mentha spicata ‘Swiss’ | USDA zone 3a – 7b
- Monarda | Monarda| bee balm | USDA zone 3a – 9b
- Mountain Pepper | Drimys lanceolata | USDA zone 7 – 10
- New Jersey Tea | Ceanothus americanus | USDA zone 4a – 10b
- Olive Tree Leaves | Olea europaea | USDA zone 8a – 11
- Pineapple Safe | Salvia elegans | USDA zone 8a – 11
- Raspberry | Rubus idaeus | USDA zone 3a – 8b
- Rosemary | Rosmarinus officinalis | USDA zone 7a – 10b
- Tangerine Sage | Salvia elegans ‘Tangerine Sage’ | USDA zone 8a – 11
- Pineapple Sage | Salvia elegans ‘Scarlet Pineapple’ | USDA zone 8 – 11
- Scented Geranium | Pelargonium graveolens| USDA zone 10a – 11
- Stevia | Stevia rebaudiana | USDA zone 8a – 11
- Sweet Tea Vine | Gynostemma pentaphyllum | USDA zone 8a – 11
- Lemon Thyme | Thymus citriodorus | USDA zone 3b – 11
- Variegated Lemon Thyme | Thymus x citriodorus ‘Variegatus’ | USDA zone 6 – 9
- Orange Thyme | Thymus citriodorus ‘Fragrantissimus’ | USDA zone 4a – 9b
- Tulsi/Holy Basil | Ocimum tenuiflorum/Ocimum sanctum | USDA zone 10b – 11
- Winter Savoury | Satureja montana | USDA zone 5a – 8b
Tea from Fruit
- Blueberry | Vaccinium corymbosum | USDA zone 3a – 8b
- Lemon | Citrus x limon | USDA zone 8a – 11
- Myrtle | Myrtus communis | USDA zone 8b – 11
- Rose Hips | Rosa rugosa | USDA zone 2a – 9b | Rose hips are the fruits that form from rose flowers.
- Strawberry | Fragaria | USDA zone 5a – 9b
Tea from Flowers
- Calendula | Calendula officinalis | USDA zone 3 – 9
- Roman Chamomile | Chamaemelum nobile | USDA zone 4a – 9b
- German Chamomile | Matricaria recutita | USDA zone 5 – 8
- Honeysuckle | Lonicera | USDA zone 4a – 9b
- Jasmine | Jasminum sambac “Maid of Orleans” | USDA zone 9a – 11
- Jasmine | Jasminum officinale | USDA zone 9a – 11
- Lavender | Lavandula angustifolia | USDA zone 5a – 8b | English lavender cultivars work best
- Linden Tree Flowers | Tilia cordata and Tilia platyphyllos | USDA zone 3a – 8b
- Rose | Rosa | USDA zone 2a – 9b
- Saffron | Crocus sativus | USDA zone 6z – 9b
- Violet | Viola odorata | USDA zone 4a – 9b
Tea from Roots
- Angelica | Angelica archangelica | USDA zone 4a – 9b
- Chicory | Cichorium intybus | USDA zone 4a – 11
- Dandelion root | USDA zone 3a – 10b
- Echinacea, Echinacea augustifolia, Echinacea pallida, Echinacea purpurea | USDA zone 4a – 8b
- Ginger | Zingiber officinale | USDA zone 8b – 11
- Licorice | Licorice Glycyrrhiza glabra | USDA zone 7a – 9b
- Valerian | Valerian officinalis | USDA zone 4a – 9b | natural sleep aid, attractive to cats
Tea from Seeds
- Cilantro / Coriander | Coriandrum sativum | USDA zone 10 – 11
- Fennel | Foeniculum vulgare | USDA zone 4a – 9b
- Fenugreek | Trigonella foenum-graecum | USDA zone 8b – 11
Want the Perfect Tea Warmer?
When I was a kid, we always had a tea basket for keeping the teapot warm and it was one of the first things I bought when I moved out on my own. The insulated basket is made to fit one teapot and two cups. Close the lid and your tea will stay warm a nice long time.
I couldn’t see any to link to on Amazon, but we used to buy them in shops in Chinatown in Toronto. Well worth it, if you can find one.
I hope you will consider growing your own plants for tea. A good book like Homegrown Tea has complete instructions for preparing the plants. It’s fun to explore various flavours and come up with your own perfect brew.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛
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