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How to Germinate Camellia Sinensis

By Bridget Kelly ; Updated September 21, 2017
From the garden to the teapot.

Camellia sinensis is the tropical evergreen plant from which we get tea. Native to China and India, camellia sinensis thrives in warm, humid environments at higher elevations. Camellia sinsensis is challenging to grow from seed so it is usually propagated with cuttings. After germination, expect to wait from four to 20 years for your first flower.

Soak the seeds in water for 24 hours. Remove and discard any seeds that float.

Place the seeds in a plastic nursery flat, in the sun, until they crack. Mist the seeds periodically during this time with water from a spray bottle.

Pour moist vermiculite into planting pots and push the seeds 1 inch under the surface, with the eye pointing up. The eye is a lighter shaded spot on the top of the seed.

Place the pots in a shady area and keep the vermiculite moist at all times. The camellia sinensis seeds should germinate within two months.

Move the camellia sinensis seedlings into brighter light when they have their third set of leaves. Growers at the University of Hawaii suggest that you allow the seeds 40 percent shade.


Things You Will Need

  • Bowl
  • Plastic nursery flat
  • Vermiculite
  • Planting pots

About the Author


Based in the American Southwest, Bridget Kelly has been writing about gardening and real estate since 2005. Her articles have appeared at Trulia.com, SFGate.com, GardenGuides.com, RE/MAX.com, MarketLeader.com, RealEstate.com, USAToday.com and in "Chicago Agent" magazine, to name a few. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in creative writing.