China doll

China doll

China Doll Plant (Radermachera sinica) is a popular and beautiful houseplant. However, this delicate-looking plant frequently requires regular pruning to keep it from becoming scraggly. Although it can be somewhat difficult, these pruned off cuttings can be used for starting additional China Doll plants.It is a fairly new houseplant, which has become very popular and widely available. This plant is like a tree, with attractive, glossy, mid-green leaves divided into leaflets. This plant remains pretty compact and its easy to look after.

China Doll plants need plenty of bright but indirect light.   They need at least 4-5 hours of this kind of light a day.   If the windows in your house are unable provide this kind of light, then you may want to use a plant light to add additional light.

They are also fussy about the temperature that they thrive in.   They prefer to live in temperatures of 65F to 75F.   They will not tolerate drafts so make sure that where ever you put your China Doll plant is free from drafts and wind.

China Doll plants need moist but well drained soil.   Water when the soil on the top of the pot is dry to the touch.   Be careful not to overwater the plant, as it does not like this.

This plant should not be repotted as it grows best when its roots are rootbound.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that China Doll plants do not like change.   A change in light, water, temperature or repotting the plant will cause a massive leaf drop.

If your China Doll plant does drop its leaves, don’t panic.   They will grow back if proper steps are taken.   The first thing you should do is trim the remaining stems back by 2/3 to 1/2.   Cut back watering some to help prevent root rot, which is something this plant is particularly susceptible to in this state.

China Doll plant may be a little on the finicky side but they are certainly lovely plants that will add to the beauty of your home.

Houseplant Cultural information: "China Doll" is a beautiful, fast growing houseplant with soft, delicate looking glossy green foliage. It is botanically known as Radermachera sinica.

When you first purchase a China Doll plant at the nursery it is full and compact. As time goes on the fast growing China Doll plant tends to become a bit weedy and stretched looking. This is because when the plant was new it was treated with a growth regulator by the grower to slow the China Doll's growth, and to help the plant maintain a compact shape.

Eventually the China Doll plant will become leggy as the growth regulator wears off. Just cut the plant back to where ever you like. Since the China Doll plant now has less foliage, cut back on the frequency of watering a bit. Increase watering again as the new foliage begins to develop. China Doll cuttings are very difficult to root, so just add them to the compost pile.

Keep your China Doll plant in very bright natural light just shy of full sun. East, south and west windows should do nicely. Heated sunrooms and greenhouses are also excellent locations for a China Doll plant.

Check the China Doll plant for water three times per week until you become accustomed to the plants water needs. Keep the soil moist, occasionally allowing the soil dry down to near wilting point. Allowing the plant to dry down will help prevent Fungus Gnats from calling the China Doll's soil home. When watering it is important to water all the way around the plant. This prevents the soil from developing dry spots which in turn will cause leaf loss. Water until liquid freely runs from the pots drainage holes. Remove excess water from the drip try to help prevent root rot.

Feed the China Doll plant monthly with Peter's Houseplant Special when the plant is actively growing. Feed bi-monthly when inactive.

Common houseplant pests can include: Aphids, Foliar Mealy Bugs and Spider mites.

China Dolls are available in bush form in 3" and 4" starter plants to large 10" floor plants. A healthy China Doll should have plenty of foliage from the top to the bottom of the plant. A plant that is leggy at the bottom has been neglected and should be avoided.

China doll plant care

It is important for china doll plant owners to provide their plant with adequate light. The china doll plant thrives in bright natural sunlight. Hence it must be kept in a place that receives almost direct sunlight for the major part of the day. The china doll plant does well in greenhouses and heated sunrooms as well.

China doll plant fungus

With regards to taking care of the plant, you need to keep a check on its water supply at least three times a week. The soil must be kept moist in general but you should occasionally let it dry out close to the wilting point and then water again. The reason behind drying down the soil is to prevent fungus gnats from developing in the soil. If such fungus is allowed to thrive then it could result in leaf loss. The plant must be watered freely allowing the water to seep out of the drainage hole in the pots. In order to prevent root rot you should always remove the excess water from the drip.

Feeding the China doll plant

The plant can be fed with a special houseplant fertilizer during the time period of its rapid growth. When inactive, the china doll plant should not be fed more than twice a month. In general the plant is susceptible to develop foliar mealy bugs, spider mites and aphids if neglected. Lots of green foliage is the sign of a healthy china doll plant. On the other hand a leggy china doll plant is one that has been neglected.

You have to be very careful with your watering schedule. If the plant has brittle leaves that have turned yellow, it not getting enough water. Too much water is indicated by black colored tips.

China Dolls prefer to be somewhat root bound, so be really careful about re-potting it. It’s a plant that doesn’t like change very much either and re-potting it, moving it to another area or drafts may cause major leaf loss.

If your plant loses most or all of it’s leaves, trim all of the stems down to around 1/2 their length and decrease watering. When the plant experiences a massive loss of leaves it’s very susceptible to root rot.

Native to:   India to China, the Philippines and Java.
Growth habit: An upright columnar bush.
Flowers: No
Temps: Normal indoor temps
Humidity: Not critical.
Pests: Watch for aphids on the new growth.

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