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China Doll - Redermachera sinica

Hey plant friends! As we’re headed into winter, many of us start looking around at our houses and miss our lovely gardens outside. So we buy houseplants! Today I wanted to tell you about one of the houseplants that people love to add to their homes, the China Doll plant.

What is a China Doll plant?

China Doll plant (Radermachera sinica) is a fun house plant that has become very popular recently. It is sometimes called emerald tree or serpent tree. This little tree originated from the tropical mountain regions of South China and Taiwan. This is a great beginner plant for someone new to keeping plants! You can prune it to keep it compact, which is helpful when you have limited space inside. When grown outdoors, this plant will get lovely trumpet-shaped flowers, but not when grown indoors. China Doll plants are easy to grow and they grow quickly. And they’re beautiful, too!

How do I care for China Doll?

You can find China Doll plants at many greenhouses and garden centers, including at Garden Gateway. They like to have a minimum of 4-5 hours a day of indirect bright light, which for most people is easy to find a spot somewhere in their home. These plants do best in a good soil that drains well, and in a pot with drainage. They like to stay moist, but not soggy. Having a pot with drainage helps this, since you can empty a tray underneath. They don’t like to sit in water. They tend to be temperamental about their temperature range, but they especially don’t like to get cold. It’s also best not to put them near vents or open windows, as this plant does not do well with a lot of extra air movement. And last, this plant likes to be rootbound, so try to limit how often you repot, if ever. Generally if you’re wanting to keep it a certain size, it won’t need to be repotted anyway.

Help! My China Doll plant just dropped all of its leaves!!!

Don’t panic! The leaf drop doesn’t mean they’re dying. Sometimes if they get moved too much, they’ll drop a lot of leaves. The moving can stress them out. But just like you, the stress won’t actually kill them. The leaves can grow back. Here’s what you should do. First, cut back the branches without leaves, no more than halfway. Yep, just cut them off. This allows the plant to refocus its energy into producing new leaves. Since this makes the plant smaller, you’ll want to give it less water. Just watch the soil and water when it’s looking dry. With patience and care, your plant will return to its former glory!

Overall, the China Doll plant is easy to take care of and you can enjoy its beauty for a long time. Good luck, and thanks for gardening with the Gardening Moose!


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