Determination of canopy resistance (rc ) is necessary for accurate estimating hourly latent heat flux (LET), using the Penman–Monteith (PM) model for tea crop. In this study, a non-linear relationship between rc and climatic resistance (r*) was obtained for tea plants based on micro-meteorological data and LET from the end of 2014 to the beginning of 2016 in southern China. The proposed rc model was integrated to the PM method and compared with measured LET using a Bowen ratio energy balance method. The root mean square error (RMSE) and the index of agreement (d) were calculated for assessing the accuracy of the proposed rc model. RMSE and d values for rc and LET were 167.4 s m−1 and 29.7 W m−2 and 0.93 and 0.99, respectively. As compared to data from a single season, the rc sub-model based on data from different seasons was more reliable for estimating LET of tea field when integrated to the PM model.