Tea (Camellia sinensis) is an evergreen shrub in the Theaceae family which is grown for its young leaves that are processed to make a water-infused beverage. Tea is the most popular caffeine containing non-alcoholic beverage in the world, and is second only to water in terms of consumption.
In the United States, tea can be grown in the USDA Hardiness zones 7, 8, 9 and 10 where the temperature range is 70-84 ℉ and with high rainfall. Environmental variables including elevation, rainfall, shading, soil type, and temperature affect tea flavor and can impart unique characteristics to the final product. Awareness of the potential to grow tea and increased demand for locally produced crops create opportunities for Washington tea production.
Our research project is focused on evaluating propagation techniques and develop successful tea plant propagation guidelines specifically for our region.