If you’re a gardener who loves brewing up delicious, fragrant herbal teas, why not combine both of your loves and start growing a tea garden full of edible and medicinal plants? There are several different plants with flowers, leaves, and even seeds that you can steep to make tasty teas, either hot or iced! Here are our favorite Fort Lauderdale tea garden plants that you can grow right at home to brew your own fragrant handcrafted beverages.
7 Tea Plants You Have To Try
Nothing hits the spot quite like a steaming cup of tea. It’s calming, restorative, and good for you! These seven plants and herbs to grow for tea will make excellent additions to your garden.
Lemon Balm: This fragrant plant from the mint family is incredibly easy to grow, it smells divine, and it has a long list of medicinal benefits — what more could you ask for? Lemon balm helps improve cognitive function and is known to ease symptoms of a wide range of ailments, including anxiety, insomnia, indigestion, menstrual cramps, headaches, and cold sores. So, whether you’ve got tummy trouble, need a pick-me-up during a midday slump, or you’re just in the mood for a tangy, tasty drink, you’ll love lemon balm.
Lemon balm grows best in partial shade because our hot Florida sun can scorch its leaves during peak daylight hours. It prefers moist soil over dry, so try to water it regularly, especially during periods of drought.
Chamomile: Famous for its calming properties, chamomile is a must-grow in any tea garden. Once the seeds are established, this gorgeous herb grows quickly with very little effort on your part. The ideal location for chamomile plants is in a partially shaded area with fertile, well-drained soil. Occasional deep watering and a layer of mulch is all you need to keep chamomile healthy and flush with flowers. Harvest the blooms during flowering periods and dehydrate them completely before throwing them into your teapot! When steeped, chamomile flowers have a slightly sweet, apple-like flavor and a soothing aroma. Brew up a fresh cup whenever you need help falling asleep, managing anxiety, or soothing an upset stomach.
Borage: These herbal tea plants are just as beautiful as they are delicious, with pretty downward-facing flowers that start out pink at first bloom and transition to blue. Both the flowers and leaves have a delightfully crisp cucumber flavor, so lots of folks like to toss it in a pitcher of water in the fridge with a squirt of lemon for a refreshing, zero-calorie summer drink.
While borage is a pretty hardy plant that can tolerate poor soil conditions, it grows best in well-draining soil rich in organic matter, with plenty of direct sunlight and regular watering. It needs regular deadheading, so it won’t be fazed if you frequently pluck its flowers for your next batch of tea.
Lemongrass: We’re lucky enough to be one of the few regions in America that can grow lemongrass in our yards! This sun-loving tea plant grows quickly with ample sunshine and frequent watering. Pour some compost tea across the soil surface every few weeks to help it get an extra boost of nutrients.
The thicker stalks have an irresistibly zesty, citrusy zing when sliced open, which adds tons of flavor and aroma to teas as well as soups, stir-fries, and rice.
Ginger: Nothing soothes an achy belly quite like ginger and lemon tea, so this flavorful root vegetable is an absolute must-have for your tea garden. If you’re interested in growing tea plants indoors, ginger is a fantastic option because it prefers warm temperatures, but not too much sun. Before planting your ginger root, soak it in water for one day to prepare it, and make sure the nubs are pointing upward. They’re a bit slow-growing but absolutely worth the wait. Ginger roots are rhizomes, meaning they continuously grow, so after a few months, you can dig around the soil surface and nip off small chunks to use in the kitchen.
Mint: Peppermint herbal tea is an absolute classic, so we couldn’t possibly leave it off of this list. Mint is a fantastic option for beginner gardeners because it really does grow like a weed. If you need a pretty groundcover to fill in the gaps of your garden, mint is definitely worth considering. Just keep in mind that it’s a pretty aggressive grower, so you may need to harvest your mint plants regularly to prevent them from dominating the garden. Otherwise, you can easily grow it in containers outside or indoors on the windowsill. Peppermint is the most popular tea plant, but there are several other varieties, like chocolate mint—which tastes just as decadent as it sounds!
Fennel: The seeds of this licorice-flavored culinary herb are what you’ll want to collect for tea brewing. It’s best to grow fennel from seed because their large taproot is pretty finicky and doesn’t take kindly to being divided. It’s very low-maintenance, usually only needing water during periods of drought, and the occasional application of some fertilizer. It does prefer acidic soil, so if you aren’t sure of the status of your garden soil, it will serve you to do a pH test before planting. On top of having that nostalgic, candy-like taste, it helps attract beneficial insects to the garden that prey on pests like aphids and whiteflies.
If you’d like to grow your own herbal tea garden, our garden center is filled with edible plants you can mix and match for different flavorful, unique combinations. Stop by Living Color to pick up some seeds and starter plants to kick off this fun new garden project! Here’s to a new year full of tasty drinks, and a beautiful garden to lounge around in while you sip on your latest concoction.