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Caring For A China Doll Plant

Ask The Plant Expert:

I have a China Doll plant which was sent to us for my Mother’s funeral. It really means a lot to me to save this plant and care for it. My question is this: is this a plant that I can plant outside in the ground? Will it survive through weather changes? Or is it better to keep inside the house? Thank You!! – Meko

Flower Shop Network Radermachia sinica 'China Doll'Plant Expert Reply: Radermachera sinica (China Doll) is typically used as a house plant only and not an outside plant.  If you lived in Hawaii, or maybe Florida, you could leave this plant outside.

As a house plant, it will need the following care:

  • A bright indirect light
  • Protection from drafts
  • Moist well-drained soil (be careful not to over-water)
  • Keep temperature above 60 degrees
  • Occasional pruning to keep shape
  • Fertilize spring through fall with a balanced-fertilizer.

Hope this information is helpful.

Caring For China Doll Aralia

Ask the Expert: please give me tips on china doll aralia plants
every year i buy one of these but with no luck. is there a secret i am missing? i can grow almost anything inside and out.please help thank you Rosemary

Plant Expert Reply:

Here are a few plant care guidelines for China Doll Aralia (Radermachera sinica):

  • Keep it away from temperatures below 65 degrees and away from heaters or radiators.
  • Place in full bright light but avoid light sources that shine directly on the plant.
  • Check the need for water frequently. You will need to let the soil dry  to the point of almost wilting but not beyond.
  • Fertilize the plant once a month with a water soluble during the growing season (spring & summer) and bi-monthly the rest of the time.
  • All growth comes from top. Prune occasionally. After pruning you might need to cut back on watering for a while.
  • Watch for signs of  Aphids, Mealy Bugs and Spidermites.

These plants tend to go through severe transplant shock. It is important to place them in the optimum location as soon as you bring it home.  The first few weeks will be the most difficult for the plant.  Don’t fertilize and watch your watering very closely.  Good luck. Keep me posted.

China Doll: A Delicate But Interesting Houseplant

Ask the Expert: Can you help identify this plant? It was given. It’s of the green plant family and has dark green leaves resembling ‘cow itch’. I would like to know name and caring instructions. Thanks, Danny

Plant Expert Reply:

Radermachia sinica 'China Doll'

Radermachia sinica 'China Doll'

Does your plant look like this China Doll (Radermachera sinica) – sometimes Aralia is attached to the name.  If so, you have a delicate but interesting houseplant. The foliage texture and glossy green leaves are the reason this plant is quickly rising in popularity.

Although delicate, China Doll can make an excellent houseplant, if it is properly maintained.

China Doll Likes

It needs plenty of bright indirect light (at least 4 to 5 hours) and a moist well-drained soil. It is fussy about temperature. Keep it out of drafts. A normal house hold temperature of 65 to 75 degrees works well.

China Dolls like to be root-bound, so don’t repot until the roots over flow the container.

Fertilize this plant once a month with a water soluble fertilizer like Schultz or Peters houseplant food. To maintain the fullness and shape of the plant prune it occasionally.

China Doll Issues

This houseplant hates changes.  Keep light, water and temperature as constant as possible.

Watch for Aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites.  If you develop a fungus gnat problem, let the soil dry out but not to the point of wilting.

When you water, make sure you pour the water evenly around the plant.  Uneven watering can lead to leaf drop.

It may sound like a high maintenance plant but really it is easy to care for once you get the rhythm.

***Speaking of rhythm – is anyone else hearing David Bowie’s Chyna Doll song in their head?***