How To Care For The Yerba Mate Plant – A Comprehensive Guide To Successful Gardening

How to Care For The Yerba Mate Plant? Just like all plants, Ilex paraguariensis, or yerba mate as it’s commonly known, also has its demands. Although these plants are easy to grow and maintain, the environment they’re planted in and the climate in your region are great contributing factors to keeping them happy and healthy.

Yerba mate plants belong to the holly family which includes trees and shrubs. Together, there are more than 500 different species amongst them. They grow well in tropical or subtropical regions and can be found in South American Forests.

This article sheds light on these magnificent plants and also teaches you the best ways to grow and maintain them. Learn all about the yerba mate plant and enjoy a thriving garden all year through!

Knowing Your Plant

Most of the yerba mate plant family can be found in central and South America. These evergreen trees are native to Uraguay, Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, and Bolivia and thrive in rain forests along these regions. They can grow to a height of 32 feet or more and have fleshy dark leaves that remain evergreen throughout the year.

This attractive shrub is great for any landscape as it offers an eye-catching beauty if properly maintained. Just like any garden trees and shrubs, these plants also need a little care to reach their full potential.

 Can you grow yerba mate at home?

Yerba mate leaves are caffeine-infused and therefore often used by the locals to make a hearty brew that is similar to tea. Today, this plant is sought-after and grown in many parts of the world. You can expect to see dainty white blooms at the end of the fall season going into winter if properly maintained. Thereafter, you can look forward to small red berries in the spring and summer seasons.

How To Grow Yerba Mate Plants

It is important to know how to grow mate plants whether they are planted in the ground or in pots. Although these plants are not suited to every garden, they do thrive in the right conditions. This in turn will ensure that your landscape maintains its evergreen look and seasonal blooms.

Listed Below Are a Few Tips to Ensure that your Plant Grows its Best:

1. Climate

Yerba mate plants grow best in moist warm climates as their habitat is that of subtropical regions. If your region experiences harsh winters or arid climates, then it is not advisable to grow these plants in the ground. In this instance, for them to maintain their health and growth potential, it is best to grow them in pots in an indoor environment.

2. Growing Medium

To ensure that your yerba mate plants get the nutrients they need, they should be grown in a medium that is rich in humus with good drainage properties. Therefore, the best soil to grow them in would be a loamy mix that absorbs and drain moisture well.

 Can you use fresh yerba mate leaves?

3. Watering

Yerba mate plants are not drought tolerant. For this reason, it is vital to ensure that they are regularly watered. Leaving the soil to dry out before watering can substantially affect your plant’s growth. Therefore, daily watering is recommended.

4. Sunlight

Seeing that these plants thrive in warm temperatures, growing them in direct sunlight is best. Although they can tolerate partial shade in humid regions, a shady garden is not recommended to grow them. This is because they thrive in temperatures that are above 60 degrees F.

5. Fertilizer

Fertilizing your yerba mate seedlings is recommended to enhance them during the establishment period. Your plant will benefit tremendously during this time as fertilization will encourage germination.

6. Pruning

Controlled pruning is recommended if you want your yerba mate plant to grow healthily. Cutting the back will also minimize the maintain a consistent shrub shape. Keep in mind that if your plant is not pruned, it will become bushy.

 How fast does yerba mate grow?

Harvesting Yerba Mate Plants – What You Should Know

The benefits of harvesting are endless. Not only does your plant reward you for all your hard work, but the yerba mate plant care strategies that you implement will be the result of an abundant harvest.

These plants also have several health benefits as they are loaded with a multitude of essential vitamins and minerals. However, keep in mind that you would have to be patient as these plants take a good few years to mature when planted from seed. Thereafter, the leaves can be harvested for a delicious cup of yerba mate tea.

The leaves also have a high amount of caffeine so the brew should be drunk with caution. The brew made from the home-dried plant leaves has its own unique taste compared to the store-bought ones. Keep in mind that soil type, environment, climate, and moisture are large contributors to the leaves’ flavor.

A great tip to take away is that to lessen the intensity of the flavourful leaves, mixing them with the yerba mate plant stems is recommended. Watch the next video to learn more about growing yerba mate. 

Yerba Mate Plant Care Tips

Yerba mate plant care is essential for your plant to reach its full potential. Whether you’re growing them in containers or in the ground, there are a few essential tips to take heed of. This will ensure that your plant is well maintained, affording you an abundant harvest. Have a look at the tips below to learn more.


  • Climate – Yerba mate plants grow best in the correct climate. Ensuring that they get enough sunlight to thrive is essential.
  • Indoor growing – When growing your yerba mate plants indoors, make sure that they’re planted in the right-sized containers. Keeping them on a sunny windowsill is recommended as it will ensure that they grow well.
  • Outdoor growing – If you live in a region that does not have harsh winters, then growing this plant outdoors in containers or in the ground is best. This is because these plants cannot tolerate extremely cold weather.
  • Soil – Growing these plants in moist conditions is best as they tend to thrive. Ensure that the soil that they’re planted in absorbs and drains water well.
  • Germination – Remember, yerba mate seeds can be a challenge when it comes to germination. Ensuring that they are in an indoor environment when getting established is best. If you have a greenhouse, then the chances of successfully establishing them are much higher because of the warm sheltered environment.
  • Flowering – This process can take a few years as these plants are slow growing. However, once properly grown, you can expect an abundance of seasonal blooms.

 Is yerba maté good for the garden?


Yerba mate plants may be a little demanding to get them properly started but once established, these plants thrive in the right conditions. They can be grown indoors in pots or in an outdoor garden, depending on the climate.

However, keep in mind that if you’re growing them outdoors, the care tips mentioned in this article should be adhered to. If you live in the tropics or a region that experiences humid temperature together with ample rainfall, then this is the perfect plant for you.

Maintenance and care should be a priority if you aim to have a thriving garden. Click on the link to learn more about these magnificent plants. 


How fast does yerba mate grow?

Yerba mate does not grow fast. It is actually a slow-growing plant that can take a few years to reach its full potential. However, once it is fully established, you can look forward to an abundant harvest.

Can you use fresh yerba mate leaves?

Yes, you can use fresh yerba mate leaves. Although dried leaves are usually used in the yerba mate brew, soaking fresh leaves overnight will also give you good results.

Can you grow yerba mate at home?

Yes, you can grow yerba mate at home if they're planted in the right conditions. These plants like a humid climate, direct sunlight, and moist or rainy conditions to grow their best.

Is yerba maté good for the garden?

Yes, yerba mate is good for a garden because it has a high content of caffeine which can also benefit other plants.

Vanessa Sharon

I am the founder of the Deep Nature Gardens website! I, along with the experts, want to provide you with our avid readers, with accurate and compelling knowledge about gardens, plants and design techniques.

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