Sustainable living

Tips to grow your own tea at home

Our Sydney City Farm horticulturalists spill the tea for those looking to cultivate their own backyard brews.

Sydney City Farm horticulturalist

Speciality and herbal teas are increasingly seen as a different option for those wanting to relax at home. What many don’t realise is a variety of teas can be grown in a backyard garden or even on a balcony.

But what tasty beverages are potentially lurking among the weeds of our garden beds?

Here's some tips to help you grow your own tea at home.

Many herbs make delicious infusions. Chamomile, ginger, mint, lemon grass and lemon myrtle can be picked, rinsed and used to make a refreshing hot drink.

You don’t need a large amount of space to grow the herbs necessary to make a decent cup of tea. A small pot of mint, lemon balm or chamomile will grow on a balcony or indoor windowsill, if it receives the morning sun.

Other popular infusions can be made using lemon verbena, pineapple sage and lemon myrtle. While these need larger pots and at least half a day of sun to grow, this can still be done on a balcony or next to a large window. If you have a sunny, windy, balcony you can try to grow a clump of lemon grass in a large self-watering pot.

Mint growing at Sydney City Farm. Photo: Abril Felman / City of Sydney
Mint growing at Sydney City Farm. Photo: Abril Felman / City of Sydney

The easiest tea to grow

Mint is the easiest herb to grow that can be turned into an invigorating infusion. It will even grow in a damp, shady spot in your outdoor space.

Lemon verbena is also relatively simple to cultivate. This shrub thrives when placed in a sunny spot and is used to create a refreshing citrus drink. Growing both is a great way to guarantee your tea stocks stay filled.

For those game to try something more challenging you can grow the official tea plant, Camellia sinensis. Black, green, oolong and white tea all come from its leaves and the plant also makes an attractive addition to your garden. It only grows in Sydney in sunny, frost-free positions with well-draining soil.

Advantages to growing your own tea

Fresh teas made from homegrown leaves have a fuller flavour than the dried variety from the supermarkets. Many people like to relax with a cup of tea as part of mindful gardening, a way of making the most of the therapeutic, stress relieving benefits of growing their own plants and herbs.

If you want some more hands-on help, join a workshop at Sydney City Farm.

Published 5 July 2022, updated 23 December 2022