Tea cultivation is a modern science - new bushes are propagated from the best tea bushes, creating ‘clonals’ - cultivated variants or cultivars for short. The parent bushes may have been chosen for natural drought or pest resistance, helping farmers economically.
The new plants go to nursery for up to 2 years, and are then planted into a small segregated area of the tea garden, where they be left unpicked for a further 2 years until they reach roughly the height of a picker.
From then, regularly pruned down to a metre in height, the bushes will start to grow sideways and become the familiar sea of bright green leaves.
In 3 to 5 years of pruning, the tea plants are ready for their journey to the cup.
Find out more about when tea is picked.