The unprecedented early spring frost that appears as a cold stress adversely affects growth and productivity in tea (Camellia sinensis L.); therefore, it is indispensable to develop approaches to improve the cold tolerance of tea. Here, we investigated the effect of pretreatment with exogenous melatonin on the net photosynthetic rate, the maximum photochemical efficiency of PSII, chlorophyll content, lipid peroxidation, reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation, antioxidant potential, and redox homeostasis in leaves of tea plants following cold stress. Our results revealed that cold treatment induced oxidative stress by increasing ROS accumulation, which in turn affected the photosynthetic process in tea leaves. However, treatment with melatonin mitigated cold-induced reductions in photosynthetic capacity by reducing oxidative stress through enhanced antioxidant potential and redox homeostasis. This study provides strong evidence that melatonin could alleviate cold-induced adverse effects in tea plants.