The title of this blog might be a bit misleading. I’m not talking garden parties or afternoon tea; I’m talking gardening with tea and tea leaves.
Tea is high in nitrogen and contains minerals like magnesium, potassium, zinc and even fluoride that are needed for healthy plants.
Tea leaves make a great organic fertilizer. When added to soil, they add bulk and acidity and help absorb and hold moisture. The recommended tea leaves for fertilizer are black, green, oolong, and Rooibos (also known as redbush).
True teas from the Camellia Sinensis plant are highly acidic and are the most beneficial for acid-loving plants. Try sprinkling your used black, oolong, green and/or white tea leaves around the base of azaleas, rhododendrons, ferns, hollies and roses. Vegetables plants that benefit from tea leaves include tomato, pepper, and eggplant.
Got leftover tea? Add it to your watering can and use it to water your indoor and outdoor potted plants. This will add nutrients and, in the case of green tea, may even discourage insects.
Another added benefit of adding tea leaves to your soil is the possibility of warding off slugs and snails. Some studies have shown that as little as a 1 to 2 percent solution of caffeine can kill these pests.
This sounds great, but does it really work?
I scared my husband a bit when I surrounded his tomato and pepper plants with a generous amount of used tea leaves. After a few waterings, he had deep green, healthy plants that almost doubled in height. It was amazing. Even the little runt of a tomato plant greened-up and started growing. So after the vegetable garden, I moved on to the roses which are now blooming like crazy. When we potted up some flowers, I added tea leaves to the potting soil. So far, I have nice healthy plants that seem to be withstanding the heat.
Just remember that too much of a good thing can kill you plants. It’s recommended that you only add tea leaves or water your plants with tea no more than every two weeks.