Aspalathus linearis, more commonly known as rooibos, is popular for its use in the production of herbal tea. Red tea is created when the leaves of the rooibos are oxidized, giving them their distinct, reddish-brown color.
Rooibos tea seeds are temperamental and difficult to grow. Pouring boiling water over Aspalathus linearis seeds and letting them soak over night before planting them helps promote growth. Seeds should be planted just below the surface in acidic, sandy soil.
The Aspalathus linearis plant can grow up to two meters high. Because of this, seedlings need to be transferred to individual pots once they are large enough to handle. The plants can be grown outside in a garden during the summer but must be transferred to a greenhouse during the winter.
The Aspalathus linearis plant grows naturally throughout the mountainous regions of the Western Cape in South Africa. Because of its exclusive habitat, the rooibos plant is very difficult to grow in other parts of the world.
Although successful cultivation of the Aspalathus linearis often meets with failure, rooibos tea seeds are available in the United States. While they are very difficult to find in your standard plant shop, surfing the Internet for “Aspalathus linearis seeds” generates a handful of results.