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OolongLily said

Do Gardens Like Tea?

Today I finally reached the point where I couldn’t look at the lovely used leaves going down the disposal anymore. It’s been a long time coming I suppose. Nothing that good looking should go down the disposal. I took the double handful of tieguanyin and white (formerly pearls) and scattered them strategically around my least impressive rose bush. As I was inspecting my work I started having second thoughts. I read somewhere on the internets that used leaves can be reused this way to help nourish plants, but I’m wondering if there are some guidelines or good practices. Do any of you have experience with this? Maybe some tips? Do’s and Don’ts? It would suck if I killed my plants. Death by tea. :O

11 Replies
Javan said

I have taken to using my tea leaves and coffee grounds to add to my compost tumbler. When combined with grass clippings and sawdust, they make wonderful compost. I then spread it around my plants. Does this mean my shu pu-erh is double composted? I’m not sure about uncomposted tea leaves though. I hope other gardeners will chime in.

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MaddHatter said

I don’t know, I have taken to mixing tea leaves into the top portion of soil in my house plants and if anything I have greener house plants… but this is mostly because I am too lazy to take the leaves downstairs to the landlady’s compost…

OolongLily said

Yeah at this point I’m too lazy to check into the compost thing. >.<

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kuanyin said

Yes, as long as your soil is not already very acidic. It can work nicely for house plants too, but watch for mold.

MaddHatter said

You are right, I learned the hard way to make sure the leaves are completely dried out before I mix them with the soil. And I mix it into moist soil and do not water until the soil is properly dry… I killed a spider plant, when I did not dry the leaves out properly. Opps, and the guy who bought the plant took it personally… Boys!

OolongLily said

@kuanyin – Is there a way to check the acidity? Can I overdo it with the leaves?

kuanyin said

The generality of acid vs alkaline is where you are located. I think the east tends to be more acidic, the west is alkaline. You could ask at a local garden store what your area soil is like.

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Scout said

Thank you for this discussion, I was actaully wondering the same thing myself.

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OolongLily said

I’ve been thinking about doing a little science experiment. Maybe three small pots with the same plant. One with no leaves, one with some leaves mixed in, and one with lots of leaves. What’s a good starting point for the some leaves and lots of leaves? Dirt to tea leaves ratio?

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Used dry tea leaves are great for organic gardening. They can be used as a mulch/topping to help keep plants moist. They can be a mild fertilizer, where plants can easily put the remaining nutrients in tea leaves to use. Tea is mildly acidic, so it can be used to neutralize basic soil or provide acidic soil for plants that need it. And last, If you have a compost heap, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you to compost your tea. If you’re considering starting a compost heap, tea is great for enriching it.

I drink a lot of Japanese green teas, and they are especially nice used on my indoor plants. The leaves act a bit like a slow release fertilizer, which keeps most indoor plants pretty happy.

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I brew a lot of tea for tastings, personal drinking, etc. and I use the tea leaves in my compost bin at home all the time. I can’t remember the last time I threw the leaves down the drain. Being in Vegas…you have to wait about 20 minutes for the leaves to dry! :)

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