China doll plant (Radermachera Sinica): Growing & caring tips

China doll plant whose scientific name is Radermachera Sinica is a beautiful indoor plant that has glossy, mid-green to dark green foliage. The plant looks like a small tree due to the spread of the leaves all around and these leaves are divided into separate leaflets which look quite delicate.

China Doll Plant

The beautiful plant belongs to the Bignoniaceae family that was adapted as a houseplant in the 1980s. Before that these plants were seen as landscape plants that can attain a height of around 26-30 feet with a thick stem. The china doll plant is also known as the serpent tree, or emerald tree and its origin can be found in the subtropical mountainous regions of southeastern Asia countries like China and Taiwan. There are numerous china doll plant benefits when you plant them indoors like the plant is a natural air purifier & it definitely uplifts the overall indoor look.

How to Care for and Cultivate China Doll Plant?

The china doll plant can be grown both indoors and outdoors, when you grow them inside the house china doll plant height can reach up to 3-6 feet, if you put it under optimal conditions but you will not be able to see its beautiful bloom with white to yellow flowers that can be seen when you grow it outside in optimal conditions.

Although it is easy to take care of the plant if you know about china doll plant care tips and how to maintain the plant, if you have bought this plant for the first time then caring for the plant could be a little tricky for you.

Here are some basic caring tips to keep your plant healthy:

Source: Instagram by brengonia
  • Water: You must look into the china doll plant watering needs to ensure good growth. You need to water them when the top inch of the soil is dry but you need to make sure that water gets drained out from the holes as they do not like to sit in water for a long time and develop root rot. The watering intensity develops in the atmosphere and seasons but if you see yellow, crunchy leaves it means the plant is underwatered and when you see black tips on the leaves it means you have overwatered the plant.
  • Soil: Your china doll plant enjoys moist soil which is light and well-drained. A regular potting mix that can be bought from the commercial stores would be enough for the good growth of the plant. If you still see issues related to drainage, mix the perlite and sand to the soil mix, blend them together to improve the drainage system otherwise you may see root rot due to water retention.
  • Temperature & Humidity: As they belong to the subtropical regions so they enjoy the same warm and humid conditions when grown as an indoor plant. The plant is comfortable with room temperature between 18 degrees Celsius to 24 degrees Celsius but may tolerate higher temperatures till 28 degrees Celsius. The plant appreciates humid conditions but it can tolerate drier conditions as well apart from arid conditions in winters when you use heaters at home. Use a humidifier and sprinkle water daily to create humidity around the plant.
  • Light: The plant thrives very well when it receives a lot of bright but indirect light from the sun. Do not put it under direct rays of the sun as it may damage the beautiful foliage of your plant and you may see leaf drop. Usually, they prefer these bright conditions for 4-6 hours daily, and if you are growing them indoors, place them near a south-facing window or at a place where the sun stays for this much of time. But make sure that you keep them in partial shade and avoid direct contact with the rays.
  • Fertilizer: A balanced liquid fertilizer ratio of 10-10-10 should be fed monthly to the plant when it’s growing in summers and springs. A little increase in nitrogen could be beneficial for good foliage growth but do not overuse it. Once the growing period is gone and the growth has slowed down you can use fertilizer once every two months.

China Doll Plant Propagation

The plant can be propagated through seeds and stem cuttings but most people prefer the stem cutting method to grow new plants. The China plant is woody so propagating through stem cuttings becomes a little tough. However, when you take the cuttings make sure you keep the greens of the plant. Place those stem cuttings directly into the moist soil or wrap them with a sheet of plastic to retain the humidity. Make sure the soil where you planted the cuttings is moist all the time and after three to four weeks of successful propagation you can expect roots coming.

Read also: Schefflera‌ ‌propagation‌: Different methods & steps to regrow your plant

Pruning of China Doll Plant

Regularly pruning the plant whenever you see that the plant is losing its charm due to the inaccurate shape of the leaves or barks coming out of the stem. As you keep the plant indoors it’s important that it looks attractive all time of the year. Prune down the dead leaves or barks of the plant, cut down the stem that looks a little leggy, and trim it down occasionally when you see the need for it.

Common Problems with China Doll Plant

  • Pests: The plant is exposed to the risks of getting spider mites, mealybug, scale insects, and various flies when you keep it along with other houseplants. However, these common pests can be treated easily by using insecticides, and horticultural oils.
  • Diseases: Majorly you will see that the plant is prone to fungal diseases only which can be treated by reducing the humidity and moisture around the plant. However, if the condition is bad you may need an organic fungicide to rescue the plant.

Frequently asked questions

Q1: Is a China doll plant poisonous?

No, the china doll plant is non-poisonous and it’s safe to keep the plant indoors.

Q2: How big do china doll plants grow?

When grown indoors the plant can attain a height of 3 to 8 feet.

Q3: Can you grow a china doll from cuttings?

Yes, the plant can be grown by using stem cuttings with greens on them.

Q4: Why is my china doll plant dying?

The most likely reason behind this could be low watering sessions and inadequate soil, temperature, and light around the plant.

By Greenkosh