Victory Gardens – After the Fact: Using Used Tea Leaves

Victory Gardens
After the Fact: Using Used Tea Leaves

Tea is good for your health! But you knew that…. Did you realize tea is good for the health of your plants, as well?

Our theme for April is Victory Garden, and we want you to have victory in your garden!
Did you know that used tea leaves can help you ? Whether you garden inside or out, want roses to bloom or African Violets, your used tea leaves can be a blessing. Why throw out what is still valuable? I have some suggestions for their use, an offer to make, and then I am hoping for your feedback.

Just as tea energizes, refreshes, and even nourishes us, tea can do the very same things for our plants! In my own garden I enjoyed prolific blooms from plants that often don’t do well in the alkaline soil of New Mexico, such as Astilbe, Bleeding Hearts, and Hydrangea. I kept one hydrangea in a large pot for ten years which erupted in a mass of bloom 3 feet across every June (until the deep freeze of several years ago killed it, sigh…). My method was to sprinkle a small amount of used tea leaves around the base of the plant and scratch them into the soil. I did the same around my many roses. I understand they work well for tomato plants, too.

Tea leaves are a great addition to a compost pile, of course, and chickens adore them. I read that if you allow your used tea leaves to dry and then burn them in an incense burner, the smoke will keep mosquitoes away. I spray plain old Listerine around the base of my patio furniture and this works for me; anyway, I would rather feed my plants with good used tea leaves than make them an offering to the despicable insect!


When you place wet tea leaves around the base of your plants, make sure it is not a thick layer, which will attract unwelcome bugs, just a nice little sprinkling will do. You can do this regularly, though, so don’t throw used tea leaves away.

Partly fill a quart jar with used tea leaves, fill the jar completely with water, and let this sit for several days. Strain out the tea leaves and water your plants with their very own tea. This is a real boost for African Violets, encouraging prolific blooms. Some people talk to their plants, but WE give them tea parties!

Now for the offer. If you wouldn’t mind calling and letting us know when you will stop by, you can take home used tea leaves from the tearoom for your own Victory Garden. We have purchased some little tin buckets, and the girls will drain used tea leaves and fill a little bucket with them for you. We are making this offer for the month of April, and would love to hear how your plants thrive on tea, and your stories of your own Victories in the Gard

geraniumYours for the return to Grace, Civility, Beauty, Gentility, and Excellence,

Mary Alice