The Encyclopedia of House Plants

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Family: Bignoniaceae.

Radermachera sinica Common name(s): China Doll, Serpent Tree
Radermachera Synonym: Stereospermum sinicum Hance. Native to the cool mountain areas (300-800m) of the South of China and Taiwan. A young plant tends to have a single veritcal stem with a leafy crown of bi-pinnate, shiny leaves. As it matures, more branching occurs and there may be several stems from the base. The plant is easy to grow. Radermachera
Growing conditions Watering and misting Propagation
Moist soil with good drainage. Provide bright light, but avoid any strong sun indoors. Prefers warm conditions, minimum 50F in winter. Water moderately, but do not let dry out between waterings. Can tolerate low humidity. Root woody stem cuttings. Sow seed.

User-submitted additions and corrections:

Florida, USA
18th Jun 2007
Our China Doll as a houseplant was doomed, we could do nothing right.
So My husband put it outside, as it happens, in a morning sun area of our yard. Within a few months, it thrived. It is now a 20' tree with the most unusual white flowers which extend to about 3" long, and have a beautiful fragrance. There are also long whip-like shoots from the flower area, its an AMAZING tree!!!
15th Jan 2008
If you smoke China Doll is not for you! The smoke will make it drop all it's leaves. And there wont be much more you can do for it.
3rd Jul 2008
I have a china doll that was a houseplant and we put it outside also and our plant has grown into a beautiful tree also with 3 stalks and we have just noticed the white horn-like flowers
Bakersfield, CA, USA
6th Aug 2008
I too received a China Doll as a house warming gift. After a couple of years I planted it in my front yard. It is now a 25 to 30 foot tree with white flowers. The strange thing is that it flowers at night and then the flowers fall off in the morning. Amazing plant. I love it.
San Jose, California
18th Aug 2008
I received a China Doll as a houseplant, but it seemed to like being outside in the summer, so I left it in the pot through the winter and it stayed healthy. Then I planted it in the ground. It is over 8' tall now and this is the first year that it has produced flowers. We really love this tree.
Sacramento, CA
26th Feb 2009
I have had my China Doll for years, only outside, as inside it nearly died. Awesome potted patio tree for a couple of years, but then I put it in the ground. It is about 12' tall, no flowers yet. It is a very unhappy tree over the winter, but last year it came back like a champ. Hoping for flowers this year. :)
28th Jan 2011
When we moved in 12 years ago there was a small China Doll plant in the garden. It is now over 9 meters tall. The flowers come out at night and look fantastic with a bit of light on the tree. During the day it provides great shade. We planted another that was in a pot and after 4 years it is now 4 meters tall and is having it's first flowers. Great trees!
28th Apr 2011
I have had several China Dolls, only because no one in Missouri new how to grow them. So by trial & era, I realized what to do with them. Starting in spring I put mine in full sun and plenty of water. Even during the summer I have found, it doesn't matter how hot it gets as long as she has plenty of water, she will grow like a weed. During the winter I find a room even if the aren't any windows,I use a amber light bulb and it runs 24 hours a day.They seem to really like it.
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