Traditionally, farmers have always rotated crops. This way they can grow things in every season and the different crops also add different nutrients to the soil and they extract different nutrients to grow. The different crops the farmers alternate growing form a sort of symbiotic relationship: they help each other out.
If you are growing orchids, there are a number of plants you can grow alongside them. You don’t necessarily want to rotate in this case. Instead, you want to grow them concurrently.
One of the best plants to grow alongside your orchids is tea. Yes, that’s right. That stuff you drink in the morning or the afternoon comes from an actual plant. And that plant is very easy to grow, in fact.
There are a few different types of tea plants, but they’re all basically the same. They can grown in a lot of different climates, but they prefer humidity and a lot of rain. Tea does grow in tropical warm climates, but it must does much better in cooler ones.
It is telling that the best US tea growing region is Hawaii. The tea does not grow at sea level, however, but at altitude. This means cooler temperatures, lots of rain and humidity and a ton of cloud cover. This is the kind of weather tea loves.
All of the great tea growing regions in the world have this type of weather. There are the foothills of Mount Fuji in Shizuoka Japan, the high mountains of Fujian province in China, the Darjeeling area of India and many more areas in those countries and in other countries like Sri Lanka and Kenya as well.
You may not have this type of climate at home, but you can grow tea indoors just as well. You just have to provide the water and the light using artificial grow lights. If you give the tea plant that, it will do well. You don’t even need the same type of grow lights you would need with other types of plants. Tea does not flower so you only need daylight light. Metal halide bulbs or LED bulbs with a preponderance of blue light work great here.
Now I know that orchids are generally thought to prefer a tropical climate and many species do. But there are also other species of orchids that actually grow in the same areas as the tea growing regions. These work especially well with tea, but even the tropical ones work well.
As I said, tea does grow in tropical weather it just doesn’t grow as well. Of course, the best teas do not come from tropical climates. But you’re not really growing it to sell, you are growing it to help out your orchids, so none of that matters.
And it still would make a good tea anyway. If you want to harvest it and process it into the various types of tea, like green tea, yellow tea, white tea, black tea, oolong tea and pu-erh tea, then you can. There are plenty of resources online to help you with that. A great site for information about tea is Let’s Drink Tea. It will help you out a lot in your research.
So if you’re looking for something to grow along with your orchids, give tea plants a chance. Not only are they easy to grow, they also provide you with tea leaves. Once you learn how to process them, which is very easy for most types of tea, you can enjoy fresh organic tea grown in your own garden. It might not be the same quality as the best teas from Japan or China, but the difference will not be that great.
It’s not like making your own wine, which will taste much worse than famous wines. Your own tea will not taste that much worse. It will actually be quite good. And if you’re used to drinking tea from teabags, it will be much better. Any tea made from the actual leaves, the whole leaves and not the chopped up crap that gets stuffed into teabags, is going to be better than any tea bag, no matter how expensive. So get out there and grow your tea and enjoy!