Camellia sinensis is the common tea tree. The plant is an evergreen, and gardeners can use the young leaves to produce tea. The tree can reach up to 6 feet in height, and it can be propagated using hardwood cuttings, or with seed. The easiest way to germinate tea tree seeds is by starting them indoors and then transplanting them to the garden in the spring.
Fill a bowl with cool water. Put your seeds in a cheesecloth bag and submerge the bag in the bowl of water. Leave the bag of seeds soaking for 24 hours.
Open the bag and pour the seeds into the bowl of water and leave them for five minutes. Remove the floaters and discard them. The floaters produce weak plants if you try to germinate them.
Lay a plastic tarp in a sunny location and spread the seeds in a single layer over the tarp. Fill a spray bottle with water and mist the seeds. Leave the seeds on the tarp for 24 to 48 hours, or until the seed coating cracks. Mist the seeds frequently enough to keep them moist to the touch.
Fill a small plant container with coarse vermiculite. Push the seeds into the medium at a depth of one inch, so the eye of the seed is parallel with the soil surface. Water the vermiculite until water comes out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.
Cover the pot with shade cloth and keep the pot in a sunny, warm room. Water the vermiculite whenever it becomes dry to the touch. Wait one to two months for the seeds to sprout.
Remove the shade cloth and set the pot in a spot that gets sun for 1/3 of the day.
Apply granular slow-release fertilizer to the vermiculite according to the package directions. Dilute a foliar fertilizer to half strength with water, and apply to the foliage according to the package directions.
Continue watering frequently enough to keep the vermiculite moist to the touch. Every week, increase the amount of sun the plant receives by one to two hours. When the plant is 1 foot tall, set it in a spot that gets full sun. You can then transplant the plant to a larger pot filled with potting soil, or move it outdoors to the garden after the last frost.