Thea sinensis Help Please
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Fred S Gafrick
Posted on: October 16, 2003

I’m having many problems with these tea plants. I received them from Richters only two weeks ago. I’ve looked at the Q&A for tea trees, but didn’t quite find answers particular to my situation. I’m sure they are in shock, but before they get too weak, I really am hoping I can save them.

I live in Chicago, in an apartment with east, south and west exposure. The leaves of the tree seem green enough, but they keep dropping. The eyes on the plant seem healthy enough, but closer inspection seems to indicate they are dying. I wonder if I’m watering too much?

I presume that you received the plants by mail or courier. If this is the case, they just spent a week or two in a lightless box and probably also became a bit dry. They needed a good drink when they arrived, but to be placed into a bright window in a dry environment probably put too much of a stress on the roots and leaves. Put the plants into plastic bags open a bit on the top and place the bagged plants in a bright but shady spot away from hot radiators and hot sun. Using distilled or rain water would help at this point as well to reduce root stress. Water only enough to keep the pots barely moist but not soggy. Once new growth starts, gradually move the plants to a brighter location and once they have grown in their permanent spot for a month or more try to start removing the bags-slowly to give the roots time to adjust to the greater demand for water.

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