-->

How to Grow Matcha Plant From Seeds: Growing Tea Plant At Home

This article gives a detailed step-by-step guide on how to grow matcha tea plant from seed or tea plant from seed at home. The growing matcha leaves from seeds can be a rewarding journey from sowing the seeds to harvesting your own organic homegrown matcha tea leaves.

You can grow your own plant from seeds at home, even indoors, but it requires patience. Growing a matcha tea plant from seed is a rewarding experience that will provide you a good harvest of organic matcha green tea leaves in 4 to 8 years.

One Plant, Different Teas
There are different types of teas viz. black, green, white, oolong, sencha and matcha. All of these tea types come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. The difference in their nutrition and taste is due to how the plants are grown and the leaves are harvested and processed. How to grow camellia in pots | How to grow camellia from cuttings

Matcha Plant vs Green Tea

The matcha tea is made from the leaves of Camellia Sinensis similar to green tea and all other teas as mentioned above. The difference is in harvesting and processing. 

Matcha is grown in fully shade 3 - 4 weeks before harvest and then its leaves are steamed, air-dried and ground into a fine powder. Whereas green tea plants do not get full shade environment before harvesting, their leaves steamed, dried and rolled.

Though both matcha and green tree are produced from the same plant, matcha is more nutritious and beneficial than green tea due to its specific growing and harvesting process [1]. The matcha and green tea taste quite different, matcha is more intense than green tree in taste.

Grow Tea Plants from Seeds

You can grow your own matcha or green tea plants at home. Follow these steps:

Get Quality Tea Seeds

The first step is to get good quality tea seeds. To ensure a successful germination process, you should get high-quality Camellia sinensis plants (matcha tea seeds), specifically cultivated for matcha production, such as the "Tencha" or "Okumidori" varieties. Fresh seeds have a higher chance of germination as compared to older seeds.

Matcha Tea Seeds, Camellia Sinensis Seeds
Camellia Sinensis Seeds

Where to Plant Matcha Tea Plant

Matcha tea plant prefer mild subtropical climates and seasonal rainfall, but can be grown in a partially shaded or filtered sunlight environment throughout the day, as too much sunlight is bad for matcha plants. If you do not have a suitable shaded area, you can use some vinyl or cloth cover to create shade.

Matcha grows well in regions with temperatures ranging from 10°C to 24°C (50°F to 75°F). I am growing Camellia sinensis plant in Sydney, Australia.

Soil For Growing Matcha

Matcha plant needs a well-draining, slightly acidic having pH of 4.5 - 5.5, and rich soil. Prepare the planting location by loosening the soil and removing any weeds and rocks, weeds. Mix some coarse river sand if your soil is clay and add lots of compost to enrich it making it slightly acidic. You can use coarse vermiculite which has both moisture-holding capacity and good drainage.



Germinating Matcha Tea Seeds

The question is how to germinate tea seeds fast. Following are the steps:

  1. Soak freshly harvested matcha seeds in water for 24 hours. Throw away the floating seeds, which may germinate but may grow weaker plants [2].
  2. Fill seed trays or small pots with the soil.
  3. Sow the fresh matcha tea seeds in small pots or seed trays filled with a well-draining soil mix.
  4. Sowing the Seeds: Sow the seed with its “eye” in a horizontal position, parallel to the surface of the soil. Bury it under 1 inch of medium. Plant the seeds at a depth of approximately half cm (1/4 inch) and space them about 5 cm (2 inches) apart.
  5. Water the soil lightly after sowing to ensure proper moisture.
  6. Place the pot in shade. You can keep the pot indoors to germinate matcha seeds.

Water and Humidity

Keep the soil evenly moist by watering gently with a spray bottle or a watering can. Cover the pots or seed trays with plastic wrap to create a humid environment to speedup germination. The seedlings will emerge in 4 to 10 weeks, then remove the wrap cover.

Matcha Seedlings
Matcha Seedling

Transplant Seedlings

Once the seedlings have developed three to four leaves, it's time to transplant them into larger individual pots or ground. Choose containers with good drainage holes to prevent waterlogging. Fill the pots with the same well-draining soil mix used for sowing the seeds. Carefully remove each seedling from the seed tray, and plant them at the same depth they were in the seed tray.

Tea Seedlings Care

Matcha tea plants are relatively hardy, but they require consistent care during their early growth stages. Place the potted seedlings in a location with filtered sunlight or partial shade (40% shade), away from harsh midday rays. Water the plants regularly, ensuring the soil remains consistently moist but not waterlogged. Monitor the plants for any signs of pests or diseases and take appropriate action if necessary.

Acclimatization of Matcha Plants

As your matcha tea plants grow, they will need to be gradually acclimatized to outdoor conditions. After about six months of growth, expose the plants to outdoor conditions for short periods each day. Start with a few hours and gradually increase the exposure over several weeks. This process helps the plants adapt to outdoor conditions, preparing them for eventual transplantation to their permanent location.

Transplanting in the Final Location

When your matcha tea plants have grown strong and grown to about 1 foot height, it is time to transplant them to their permanent location in the garden. Choose a spot with partial shade, away from strong winds, and ensure the soil is well-draining. Dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball of the plant and place it in the hole, backfilling with soil and gently patting it down.

You can grow matcha tea plants indoors, if you can provide them sufficient sunlight or use grow lights.

Caring Matcha Tea Plants

The tea plants need regular care to produce good growth.

  1. Watering: Consistent moisture is very important for healthy growth, so water the plants regularly, especially during dry periods.
  2. Mulching: Put a thick layer of mulch on the soil to retain moisture in the soil.
  3. Fertilization: Correct fertilizer is needed for the matcha plants. Apply a few granules of slow-release acidic fertilizer in soil and a foliar spray of a liquid fertilizer made for acid loving plants such as an azalea, camellia, gardenia fertilizer.
  4. Pruning: Prune the plants to grow multiple branches and to make the plant bushier. Prune any diseased branches.
  5. Protect from freezing temperature: During extreme cold conditions, move the plant indoors or cover by a blanket. You can also put some heating lights on the plants.



Harvesting Your Homegrown Matcha Tea Leaves

  1. It typically takes about 4 - 5 years for matcha tea plants to reach maturity, but in 2 -3 years the plant may be ready for their first harvest of tea leaves.
  2. Once your plants have grown enough, you can harvest the young leaves from the top of the plant in spring. However, before harvesting, it is important to provide complete shade to the plants for 3 - 4 weeks. This increases the chlorophyll and nutritional content of the leaves.
  3. Steam the leaves for about half a minute and spread on a cloth to dry them in a shaded area.
  4. Once the matcha leaves are fully dried, remove the stems and veins and then grind them to a very fine powder to create your very own homemade matcha tea powder.

Why Matcha is Grown in Shade?

Why Shading Process is Important for matcha?

It is important to provide complete shade to the matcha plant to limit photosynthesis, otherwise excessive photosynthesis would convert the amino acid in the leaves into catechins, which has a bitter taste. The amino acid in matcha gives it a sweeter aroma and better taste.

The leaves on the top portion of matcha plants make best quality expensive matcha, known as the ceremonial grade matcha green tea (Buy Matcha Powder).

In restaurants, the matcha tea tastes very bitter, because they use matcha powder produced from leaves at the lower part of the plants, which is cheap and bitter.

Growing matcha tea plants from seeds is a rewarding and fulfilling journey for any tea enthusiast. Embrace the patience and care required, and soon you'll be sipping your very own homegrown matcha tea cultivated from seed to cup at your own home.

Videos on how to grow camellias from cuttings


How to grow camellia plant from cuttings
How to grow camellia in pots

References

  1. Matcha Powder
  2. D Sato, Germinating Tea Seeds (Camellia sinensis), University of Hawaii, March 2007, SCM-17. pdf