Grow Your Own Tea Garden in the Midwest

By Julie Sews - 1:14:00 PM

Mint Plant 2010
I love herbal teas.  So the idea of growing my own is exciting.  But what kinds of plants are easy to grow anywhere that you can use in making tea?  I looked at all of my herbal teas in my huge tea collection to see what types of plants are used in making the teas I like.  Here is what I concluded would be easy for me to grow here in MN (zone 4a).

  • Anything in the Mint Family (Cat mint or cat nip, mint, spearmint, and peppermint)  Grow in containers because they are invasive like weeds, and grow easily in containers, even in low light.
  • Dandelions (just pick the leaves off some in your lawn)
  • German Chamomile (make pretty flowers for your yard too)
  • rosehips (the seed head of a rose)
  • lemon balm or lemon mint (in a container, can be invasive and is hardy to zone 5)
  • Stevia a natural sweetener (in a container outside in the summer, inside before the temp drops below 40 degrees)
  • Dried berries and their leaves (Blackberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, etc)
  • fennel
  • violets
the same plant above 1 year old
 Grocery Items That Can be Saved and Used for Making Teas:
  • organic orange, lime, and lemon peels (dehydrated)
  • cinnamon
  • ginger
How Do You Turn These Plants Into Tea?
I use a dehydrator.  It takes like a half an hour to dehydrate herbs.  So it's really easy.  Then just place the herbs into a metal tea strainer and seep in hot water for 4-6 min.

What Plants We Plan To Grow To Make Tea
The only plant I have grown so far that I use for tea is mint.  The picture above is the mint plant I planted in spring of 2010.  It did quite nice in it's container outside.  I learned it is an invasive plant so it is best to not grow in your garden.  I brought it in for the winter and placed it in our utility sink downstairs because I didn't know where to put it.  I rarely water it and pretty much forgot about it.  At the end of the season when I brought it in it was half dead.  Our mint plant has survived quite well despite the neglect, just a bit leggy due to the low light of the basement and winter.  So mint is an excellent plant to grow for tea.  I am planning on dehydrating raspberries (I tried last season and just crumbled so this is the only reason I would dehydrate raspberries) and their leaves this season when our raspberries start growing and mixing them with mint tea.  I think that will be sooo good. 

 I plan to hold off on growing roses, tried it already with bad luck.  Too much work for me.  I'd rather devote my limited garden space to fruits and vegetables with less maintenance, but who knows maybe I'll change my mind later down the road and give it another try.  I have grown German chamomile before and it did quite nice, had pretty little flowers, and even self seeded a little the next year.  I never got around to harvesting it for tea.  I plan to grow some this season for sure.  I have not tried fennel in tea before, but I am planning on growing it again this season (didn't grow last year, but did well the season before), because I like it.  I do however love Aveda's tea which is only peppermint and licorice root.  And fennel is in the same licorice family, so I am curious to try peppermint and fennel.  I bought a Stevia plant and plan to keep it outside in a container and inside after it gets close to 40 degrees for a low.

Have you ever grown your own tea?  If so what did you grow?

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4 comments

  1. I love herbal teas! I was just getting ready to post later this week about a tea experiment I tried.

    I see you also have a huge tea collection. My freezer is full of bulk herbs;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I do love herbal tea. Unfortunately my tea garden didn't turn out this year. Squirrels digged in my tea container garden when the seeds were germinating. I only have some lemon balm that survived but have not grown much, the stevia plant that I bought from a nursery is doing really well and catnip that we planted in our front garden bed. Now I know what to do for next year. You learn every year gardening no matter how long you garden!

    ReplyDelete
  3. What kind of raspberries are you growing for tea? I love raspberry tea but I can't seem to find which kind is for tea our if it even matters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love fruity teas, and looked at the ingredients on the teas I had. They often had berry flavors or raspberries leaves, blackberry leaves, etc. I don't think it would taste fruity though. Here is a description of raspberry tea leaves
      http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/learn/raspberry_leaf.php
      If you want a fruity taste I would think you could dehydrate raspberries and brew it. Be careful if you do dehydrate raspberries, because they get really crumbly and can be hard to handle (I've tried before). We have ever bearing raspberries.

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