One of my focuses for my garden projects is to grow leaves for teas. True Camellia teas probably aren’t happening here, but I have lots of other options. I already have NJ tea, which I love, as well as bee balm, sweetfern, anise hyssop, fragrant roses, and sweet goldenrod. I’ll of course be adding some of the more common herbs (mint, chamomile, etc) and probably licorice. I also like adding leaves from Rubus species to other teas, if I can find a spot for them. Eastern Hemlock (decidedly different from the poison variety), Arborvitae, and other conifers make a delightful tea.
I recently added some currants and persimmons to my collection, and I’ve read that both of these can make great teas as well. Does anyone have experience with these?
You’ve definitely got to try raspberry leaf, either on its own or blended. It’s quite nice. They often include that or strawberry leaf in commercial herbal teas to provide a little tannin and to balance the flavor.
And pine needle tea is one of the best things going.
Comptonia peregrina. Super common, at least here in southern New Hampshire. USDA doesn’t have any official records for The County, but I’m skeptical as I think of it as more of a northern plant. I see it on sunny roadsides and disturbed sites, powerlines, those sorts of places, especially on sandy soils. I kind of think of it as liking many of the same spots as bracken. It’s a Nitrogen fixer and does well in dryish, miserable sites, but doesn’t compete well in rich sites.
I love yaupon tea! I want to try growing it here in southern NH, but it will almost certainly need winter protection or to live in a container that I can bring indoors.
@pokeweed I’ve never heard of loquat tea! I’m not entirely sure if I can grow loquat here, though I’d love to. Even if it’s hardy, my understanding is that it likes to fruit over the winter, which wouldn’t work out too well in NH.
Fermented blackberry leaf tea, you could also make with raspberry leaves. Pick young leaves, bruise them up, put in glass jar with lid on, put in the back of your car under the rear window when it’s hot, leave for 1-2 weeks, take them out and dry them in a dehydrator, tastes a bit like black tea.
Great thread @jcguarneri, I would like to add to my garden some of the plants that you all mentioned not only for the tea purposes but for the medicinal properties and benefits. I really don’t know much about what plants are good for this purposes and where to get them from. Any leads would be appreciated!
I like to make tea from the lemon grass! Is considered medicinal and it taste good as well!
Thanks! I’m not gonna lie, I’m not a big believer in most herbal medicine claims beyond relief of a sore throat or cough. To be fair, there are some that actually do have some pharmacological action, like Echinacea, but most of those are potentially dangerous to take without medical supervision. With that big caveat, Fedco seeds has a whole bunch of medicinals in their herbs section with descriptions of what they’re supposed to do. I think Southern Exposure does, too. I also used to have a copy of Peterson’s field guide to wild medicinal plants. I found it a little vague (it would list every possible use that anyone and their toddler had ever claimed for a given plant), and was pretty much useless for identification purposes, but it was a pretty thorough exploration of what is supposedly out there in eastern North America for medicinals.
@Ruben Your climate should be warm enough for you to successfully grow various Camellias and Ilex species to use for tea. These are the sorts of teas to wake you up in the morning or keep you up at night Shade that Camellia sinensis for an extra dose of caffeine.