Why plant Audubon® Native New Jersey Tea?
A rocky, barren patch of land or an unmowable hillside comes alive when you plant New Jersey Tea! This tough native Accent endures drought and fixes its own nitrogen (it feeds itself!), so it can thrive where other plants fail. It also feeds bees and countless other pollinators when its cloudlike white blooms erupt in early summer. Hummingbirds feed on some of the smaller pollinating insects, adding valuable protein to their usual diet of nectar. New Jersey Tea’s handsome foliage hosts around 40 species of caterpillars, too, which in turn nourish songbirds and their chicks.
New Jersey Tea is native to not only New Jersey, but most of the eastern half of the United States. It gets the other part of its name from its leaves, which have a wintergreen flavor and can be brewed into a refreshing, caffeine-free herbal tea. New Jersey Tea has several other uses and pet names, such as “Red Root,” because of its taproot, which yields a red dye. That thick, deep-growing taproot enables the plant to survive when fire strikes, an important adaptation in the western part of its range, where fires were once more common.
How to use Audubon® Native New Jersey Tea in the landscape?
In rural areas, Turkey and Quail may feed on New Jersey Tea’s seeds in late summer. They must time their visits just right, however, because the seed capsules burst open when the seeds are ripe, flinging them away from the parent plant!
Hardiness Zone: 4-8
How To Plant Audubon® Native New Jersey Tea
Because New Jersey Tea is a taprooted plant, it may take some time to get established. It will concentrate on root growth before top growth. Plant it in full sun, in any type of fast-draining soil. Rocky or sandy sites are no problem. Water regularly the first year, but go easy on the fertilizer—this plant is happiest in lean soils. Prune New Jersey Tea in early spring if necessary. Blossoms appear on the new growth, so you will not sacrifice flowers by pruning at the beginning of the growing season. Plant en masse for best effect.
How To Fertilize
Incorporate Elements Starter Plant food granular form into the soil when planting. If planting in spring or summer, start fertilizing late fall using Elements Starter Plant food granular form on an annual basis each late fall. Continue this for the first three years to get your plant well established.