By: Heather Rhoades
The China doll (Radermachera sinica) is a fairly new houseplant that 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 fairly compact and it’s easy to look after. While their care can be a bit tricky, once you know the basic growing conditions for China doll plants, you can enjoy their presence in your home.
China doll plants need plenty of bright, but indirect, light. They need at least four to five hours of this kind of light a day. If the windows in your house are unable to provide suitable light, then you may want to use an artificial plant light to add additional light.
They are also fussy about the temperature that they thrive in. These plants prefer to live in temperatures of 65-75 F. (18-24 C.). They will not tolerate drafts, so make sure that wherever you put your China doll, it remains 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 and can develop root rot if left sitting in water due to poor drainage.
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 two-thirds to one-half. Cut back watering some to help prevent root rot, which is something this plant is particularly susceptible to in this state.
Regular pruning is also a part of how to care for a China doll plant.
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.
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Name: Lin Vosbury
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
I wish I could offer suggestions on pruning but I've never been able to keep one alive for very long. Hopefully someone will pop in with advice shortly.
I'm an old gal who still loves playing in the dirt!
Playing in the dirt is my therapy . and I'm in therapy a lot!
Edited to add: just be mindful of your watering when you prune it back. Less foliage will mean less water intake, so if you water on a specific schedule, you will need to cut back just a little until you see it actively growing again.
Someone sent me a China Doll Plant when my husband past away. I loved it! It was beautiful! I guess the reason for loving this plant so much is that my husband and I adopted our daughter 12 years ago. My husband always called Andrea (our daughter) China Doll. So you see now why I love this plant so much. My beautiful plant died and I tried everything, from pruning it back made sure it was getting enough of the sunlight. I'm wanting to buy another China Doll Plant. I'm just not sure where to buy one from. I'd greatly appreciate if you could help me. Thank you Teresa
China Doll plant (Radermachera sinica) is a pretty common plant. If you live in the United States, it shouldn't be to hard at all for you to find another one. Many of your large garden centers, nurseries, and even hardware stores get a large collection of houseplants at certain times of the year. You can call the stores directly to find out if they've received (or when they'll receive) a mixed collection of houseplants. Any local nursery with a houseplant collection worth its salt will have someone who can help you find China Doll plants.