The original habitat of tea plant is South-East Asia which experiences a warm, wet summer and a cool, dry (or less wet) winter. Atmospheric humidity remains high even during the dry and cold winter months. Annual rainfall normally remains above 2000 mm. Under these conditions the tea plant grows vigorously during summer and remains dormant during winter. From the main centres of cultivation in South-East Asia tea has been introduced into many tropical and sub-tropical countries. You have already come to know that tea is now grown over a wide range of climatic conditions in as many as 62 countries across the globe ranging from 450N to 340S latitude. In the tropical belt, it is usually grown on slopes of mountains and high plateaus at altitudes varying from 700 m to 2400 m above sea level. In the temperate Zone, tea is cultivated in low hills of less than 700 m elevation. However, in N.E.India and adjoining Bangladesh tea estates are located on flat valleys at elevation of a few to about 200 m above sea level. Spread over such a vast land mass of diverse topography, the tea areas differ considerably in their soil and climatic environments.
Due to varied agro-climatic conditions, the cultivation technology and productivity of tea is also variable from country to country. In this lesson, you will be given a brief account on the soil and climatic requirements for commercial tea cultivation.