Common Name: China Doll, Emerald Tree, Serpent Tree
Latin Name: Radermachera Sinica
Plant Type: Tree
Blooming Time: Mid Spring
Temperature: 50 – 75*F
Insects and Diseases: Mealy bugs, spider mites, aphids
The China Doll is a fairly compact plant that has became very popular in recent years. The tree like plant has medium to dark green leaves that are glossy and almost look oily. The leaves are divided into separate leaflets and are generally thin and delicate looking. The blooms are white, but it rarely blooms in the home.
This plant needs lot’s of indirect, bright sunlight to thrive well. The plant should be placed in an area that it can get at least 4-5 hours of bright light each day. If you don’t have the proper lighting you can use a plant light to give the China Doll the required light.
The soil should be kept moist, but the roots shouldn’t be allowed to sit in water. Add some rocks to the
pot, or Perlite or sand to the soil if it doesn’t have good drainage. You should water the plant when the top of the soil gets dry to the touch.
Provide adequate drainage and don’t over water this one. When new foliage is developing, watering can be slightly increased and decreased again once the plant has become dormant.
These compact trees like a rich soil that drains well. General purpose potting soil can be used, add sand or Perlite if extra drainage is needed.
The China Doll should be fed at least once a month while it’s growth period is active. Plants require less fertilization during inactive growth and feeding times should be decreased.
A slow release fertilizer can be used twice yearly. The plant shouldn’t be fertilized for four months after being re-potted.
While it is difficult to propagate a China Doll plant, it isn’t impossible with a little extra care. Cuttings can be taken from the stems, but the cuttings have to be green and not wood like.
The cuttings can be planted in small pots that you have filled with some moist compost or potting soil. Covering the pots with plastic will help retain the moisture level. China Doll’s need high humidity to take root.
The cuttings should be placed in a location with bright, indirect light. Keep the soil evenly moist during this time and within 3-4 weeks the roots should begin to grow.
You have to be very careful with your watering schedule. If the plant has brittle leaves that have turned yellow, it not getting enough water. Too much water is indicated by black colored tips.
China Dolls prefer to be somewhat root bound, so be really careful about re-potting it. It’s a plant that doesn’t like change very much either and re-potting it, moving it to another area or drafts may cause major leaf loss.
If your plant loses most or all of it’s leaves, trim all of the stems down to around 1/2 their length and decrease watering. When the plant experiences a massive loss of leaves it’s very susceptible to root rot.
Written by Connie Corder, Copyright 2008 HouseplantsForYou.com, All Rights Reserved