This is the list of the plants I grow for beauty, fragrance, pollinators, and to make cold and hot infusions from their flowers, tips, sometimes fruits, and prunings. Microbiom and micronutrient richness might be the best features of such fresh infusion.
Depending on the season and the plant growth rate, I use the following species, most of which are perennials, many are drought tolerant, some are native, and a few are self-seeding. When I gather the fresh tea, I try to prune the plant into a more healthy shape and take only a small amount from each plant. Afterwards, the dry matter from the infusion returns to the orchard as a mulch.
I do not use roots, stems or any vital parts of the plant.
By varying but usually diminishing volume, the tea can contain more than 30 species from over 130 plants, usually about 12 to 24 varieties, mainly from the top of the list:
- Hibiscus ( Hibiscus sabdariffa), also called Jamaican Sorrel, and other red and orange hibiscuses (Hibiscus rosa-sinesis), 4 bushes - sabdariffa sepals (mainly), and sometimes flowers or leaves, give the tea its beautiful red wine color, and according to some studies, might be better for you than green tea, some of my plants are young, so I buy most from a local Mexican store;
- Sage (Salvia apiana), or White Sage, or Bee Sage, 6+ bushes - all six plus sage bushes I propagated from cuttings, they are silvery green with blue flowers that taste amazing, especially in a cold infusion;
- Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus), 2 bushes - blue flowers and tips, I have a healthy huge bush that might become a tree, I planted it one of the first, in 2018, and I have already propagated it further;
- Thyme (Thymus citriodorus, Thymus serpyllum, and Thymus vulgaris), 3 patches - has pretty violet flowers, I also use tips of twigs with the tiny leaves;
- Oregano (Origanum vulgare), wild, and Greek (ssp. hirtum), 2 patches - purple flowers and shoots;
- Sweet Marjoram (Origanum majorana), 2 patches - white flowers and amazing aroma;
- Calendula (Calendula officinalis), 12+ plants - bright orange flowers and rarely leaves;
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), True or English, and French (Lavandula stoechas), 4 plants - purple and violet flowers and sometimes the needle-leaves;
- Catnip (Nepeta cataria), 1 plant - blue flowers and shoots;
- Mint - Peppermint (Mentha balsamea) and Spearmint (Mentha spicata), including Chocolate Mint, 5 patches - leaves and sometimes blossoms;
- Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum), or Holy Basil, 3 patches - with aromatic blue-violet flowers;
- Strawberry (Fragaria ananassa), and everbearing Alpine (Fragaria vesca), 7 patches - leaves and sometimes ripe red fruits, most plants were propagated by division;
- Lemon (Citrus limon), 2 trees - young tree shoots, and sometimes fruit peels;
- Lime (Citrus aurantiifolia), 1 tree - leaves and sometimes fruits;
- Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis), 1 tree - aromatic leaves and sometimes flowers;
- Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica), 1 tree - edible tree leaves;
- Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), 12+ plants - yellow flowers and sometimes leaves;
- Batata (Ipomoea batatas), Sweetpotato, 4+ plants - edible vine leaves;
- Grape - Concord (Vitis labrusca), Muscat and Flame (Vitis vinifera), 4 vines - young leaves of three varieties of grapes I grow on the Northern fence;
- Rose (Rosa chinensis), 5 bushes - rosehips and sometimes flower petals;
- Mulberry (Morus alba) weeping, and Himalayan mulberry or Pakistan (Morus serrata), plus Illinois Everbearing (Morus rubra), 5 trees - leaves, and berries in early Summer from three tree varieties I grow;
- Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus), 1 bush - leaves, and berries in Summer;
- Passiflora, or maracujá (Passiflora edulis, Passiflora actinia, Passiflora tarminiana
(banana passionfruit), Passiflora mollissima), 7 vines - passion fruit vine leaves from four passion fruit varieties I started growing in 2020 and 2021;
- Melissa (Melissa officinalis), Lemon Balm, 2 patches - leaves and blossoms;
- Moringa (Moringa oleifera), 1 tree - white flowers and tree leaves;
- Goji (Lycium barbarum), 5 bushes - wolfberry leaves (herba lycii);
- Guava (Psidium guajava), 3 trees, and Strawberry guava (Psidium cattleyanum), 1 bush - leaves and sometimes small red berries;
- Plantago (Plantago major), Ribwort plantain (Plantago lanceolata), 6+ plants - leaves, as kids, we treated with them all our wounds;
- Ugni (Ugni molinae), or Murta Berry, or Chilean guava, or strawberry myrtle, 2 bushes - leaves have medicinal properties, used by Mapuche people;
- Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), Red Velvet, 1 plant - leaves and red flowers;
- Juniper (Juniperus chinensis), 2 plants - needle-leaves and blue-violet flowers;
- Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus), or monks cress, 5+ plants - round leaves and deep orange flowers.
- Dianthus (Dianthus barbatus or caryophyllus), 1 plant - red flowers;
- Arugula (Eruca vesicaria), 12+ plants - white flowers from this self-seeding brassica grass, I passed 4-5 own adopted generations;
- Camomile (Chamaemelum nobile), Roman chamomile - white-yellow flowers in season;
- Pelargonium (Pelargonium × hortorum), Zonal, 7+ plants - red, pink, and white flowers, sometimes leaves;
- Parsley (Petroselinum crispum), 8+ plants - a few leaves;
- Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus), 1 plant - leaves and flowers I use rarely and in tiny amounts, because I am not a fan of anise flavor;
- Acerola (Malpighia punicifolia), or Barbados Cherry, 1 tree - in the future, berries;
- Schinus (Schinus molle), or Peruvian pepper, 2 trees - leaves and berries in tiny amounts, in the future, after experimenting with native American uses;
- Mate (Ilex paraguariensis) or cimarrón, 1 tree - leaves, plan to possibly use in the future, the tree is yet too young to disturb, I have planted it as a rooted cutting in 2020;
To be continued...
PS: I do not use pesticides in my garden except when needed vinegar, raw neem oil, mint, and sometimes hydrogen peroxide, and even then I do not use the treated parts for the herbal tea.