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China Doll Plant

China Doll Plant (Radermachera Sinica): Care and Growing Guide

Who doesn’t adore a plant that has glossy green leaves and grows quickly? China Doll Plant is an ideal pick if you love green plants as it will outshine other elements of your home. 

Radermachera Sinica thrives in a warm environment making it the perfect choice for indoors. This plant is handy and has its own charm. Though this plant is easy to grow yet can be a little tricky while caring for it. 

To know what you should consider while growing and what makes this plant fussy, stay with us till the end. Before that, let’s dive into the details and facts of the plant.

What is China Doll Plant (Radermachera Sinica)

The Radermachera Sinica is a tiny evergreen tree in the Bignoniaceae family. It is native to Asia’s subtropical mountainous regions of southern China, and Taiwan thrives well in warm, humid environments. China doll plants flourish in USDA hardiness zones ten through twelve in the United States.

The serpent and emerald trees are two more common names for the China doll plant. Maintaining a healthy China doll with glossy foliage necessitates the perfect combination of light and moisture. A China Doll, Radermachera Sinica, is a fast-growing plant with lacy-looking, glossy, green foliage. They can reach a height of six feet and a width of three feet.

Just like any other plant, China Doll Plant has its own exciting facts.

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Radermachera Sinica Key Facts

Type of the PlantBroadleaf evergreen
Foliage ColorGreen/Blue
Size of the plant4–6 ft. tall
LightFull sun, partial shade
Type of SoilMoist but well-drained
Bloom TimeSummer (rarely blooms indoors)
Colors of flowersWhite, yellow
Hardiness Zones10–12 (USDA) when outdoors
Native AreaMountainous regions of southern China and Taiwan
MaintenanceLow, Beginner-friendly

Let’s cover these and other facts in detail.

It’s a tiny, evergreen shrub with long, bipinnate leaves about 2 in (5 cm) long and has glossy, richly veined leaflets.

Plants are compact when young, with branching, woody stems that reach around 60 cm in length.

They are moderately fast growers when grown indoors, reaching heights of 4 to 6 feet at maturity.
Mature plants produce beautiful golden bell-shaped flowers in their natural habitat of subtropical Southeast Asia. Indoor China Doll Plants, on the other hand, rarely blossom.

With its soft, delicate leaves, a China Doll is a lovely houseplant if kept in bright light, consistently moist soil, and pinched back frequently.

This plant thrives in warm environments and can be a beautiful addition to any indoor garden.

Because of the growth regulators given to them by growers, China Doll plants appear compact and strong when first purchased. On short stems, these growth regulators cause normal-sized leaves to sprout. 
You can witness as the soil regulator gets drained, the China Doll plant begins to grow in all directions, much like the outdoor plant it is. Instead of becoming a dense, leafy plant, it quickly turns open and feathery. Prune the plant periodically to keep it thick, lush, and bushy.

As we have covered some vital facts about the Radermachera Sinica plant, let’s get to know how one can plant his china doll plant.

How to plant a China Doll Houseplant

Planting a China Doll Houseplant isn’t a complex procedure. It is pretty easy, and these are the things you should consider while planting one for your home.

Planting time: You can grow your China doll plant at any time of year if you are growing it indoors.

Selecting soil that drains appropriately: Choose a potting mix that drains effectively to give your houseplant a strong foundation. Add sand or perlite to your potting mix if your soil isn’t draining well enough.

A China doll plant’s health depends on moist, well-draining soil.
Selecting a suitable location: Place your Radermachera Sinica plant in a region of the house that is light but partially shadowed.

The China doll plant can be grown all year indoors. Though it is particular about its growing conditions (especially light and soil), it will be an eye-catching plant if you cling to them. 

We describe some of the essential care instructions for your Radermachera Sinica plant. If you give them the care they need, they’ll reward you with feathery, adding a splash of greenery to your room.

China Doll Plant Care

China doll plants require particular growing conditions to thrive indoors, and if these parameters are not met, they can be fussy. The most vital thing to consider when cultivating a Radermachera Sinica plant is that they demand a lot of light and moisture. Since they are picky, they don’t fancy having their growing circumstances changed frequently. If the growing conditions aren’t suitable or change too quickly, leaf drop is prevalent in China doll plants.


China doll plant benefits require a good combination of bright and indirect light to thrive indoors. They demand at least four to five hours of such sunlight every day.

Choose a location near a window, but keep your plant away from direct sunlight, which can burn the plant’s fragile leaves and induce leaf drop. If your windows aren’t supplying enough light, you can consider using an artificial plant light to increase your lighting to the plant.
Note: In the afternoon, avoid direct sunshine, promoting yellowing and leaf drop.

Artificial grow light for indoors:

China doll plants are sun-loving plants. They grow healthiest when they get constant natural light. But they are resilient to different light conditions as well, that’s why they are indoor-friendly plants. If your house lacks natural light you can fulfill its light needs with artificial grow light as well. Artificial grow light supplements not only help your plant thrive but also give you the leverage to keep them wherever you like. 

Go for an LED grow light with a red and blue light feature to support the maturation of both foliage and buds. If you give twelve hours of artificial light, it will be equal to six hours in the sun. To get the best results keep the plants near low-light windows and supplement them with at least eight hours of artificial light.


Plant your Radermachera Sinica plant in a moist soil mix that drains well. If you witness the soil is not draining well, loosen it up by adding sand or perlite.


Watering is essential for any plant to keep it happy. To keep your China doll plant benefits, you should keep it flourishing and healthy, so water it on a regular basis. Ensure to wait until the top inch of soil is completely dry before watering. 

Depending on the season and the climate in your home, the frequency will vary. Keep the soil equally moist all year. Allowing the soil to become moist or dry out is not a good idea. The doll plant will drop its leaves in any situation. Choose a pot with plenty of drainage holes at the bottom to avoid this problem.

Note for China Doll Plant Benefits: 

  • When a Radermachera Sinica plant needs water, the foliage may turn a pale green color. Ensure that water reaches all of the roots by watering the entire soil surface.
  • Overwatering the plant is bad for it, and it can cause root rot if it sits in water for too long, owing to inadequate drainage.
  • If the plant’s leaves start to turn yellow or become crunchy, it’s a sign that it’s not getting enough water. Similarly, black tips on the plant’s leaves may indicate that it has been overwatered.


They are very picky about the temperature at which they flourish. These plants prefer temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18-24 C.). They will not tolerate draughts, so make sure your China doll is protected from the elements.
Note for China Doll Plant Benefits: It can withstand temperatures as low as 50°F/10°C.


Humidity is also beneficial to China dolls. Expand relative humidity around this china doll plant by putting it on a saucer filled with pebbles and water in an extremely dry environment. The humidity level around the Radermachera Sinica plant will rise as the water evaporates. Keep your China doll plants in a place in your home with higher humidity, such as the kitchen, to boost the moisture surrounding them. It’s also a good idea to keep the plant near a humidifier.

Note for China Doll Plant Benefits: Maintain a relative humidity of at least 40% around your plant.


Your Radermachera Sinica plant should be fed monthly with a balanced (such as 10-10-10 N-P-K) water-soluble fertilizer diluted by half during its growing season (spring and summer). You can reduce your feeding frequency to once every other month once the plant’s growth has slowed for the year.

On the other hand, Fertilizing fosters new growth, so have your pruning shears ready.

China doll plant container:

One unique factor about the China doll plant is that they grow best when they are slightly root-bound. So a pot similar in size to its root system is ideal. You can go for a similar size to the nursery pot it came in if you need clarification on the size of the pot. Do not let the plant’s roots expand far down into the soil to reach the base. 

These plants are easy to root rot and will do best in a terra-cotta container that lets water exit through the walls easily. Always pick a pot with drainage holes to stop extra water from sitting around the roots.

Pruning China Doll Plants

Pruning is the most important form of upkeep for the Radermachera Sinica plant, and you can do it on a regular basis to keep it looking appealing and promising. It doesn’t care when you prune it, so you can do it whenever you notice your China doll plant becoming a little out of hand.

Prune your radermachera Sinica plant to prevent it from becoming lanky, thin, and unattractive. Ensure always to leave a few leaves on each stem when pruning a Radermachera Sinica plant to provide food for the roots. You can prune the stems for Radermachera Sinica plant benefits that have gotten leggy, those that are malformed, or stems that are about to die.

Pruning tips:

  • Make sure the tools you are using for pruning are sterilized. Your pruning shears should be sharp and clean to make even cuts and not get any infection.
  • You should always take the yellow or brown leaves out when you notice them.
  • For bushier plant growth, pinch off the fresh twigs at the tips of the stems. 
  • Dispose of the cuttings and dropped leaves immediately after the pruning sessions to control any potential infection that may spread from them.

Note: China doll plant benefits require pruning four times a year, or once each season, is recommended as it helps in emerging new growth.

Propagating China Doll Plants

You can use stem cuttings to propagate China doll plants. China doll plants aren’t impossible to propagate, but they require more time and attention than other varieties. When taking stem cuttings, make sure they’re green and not from the plant’s woody part.

  • Start by cutting 2 inches of fresh growth from the plant’s tip (greenwood only, nothing old and tough). 
  • You should remove the bottom leaves from your cutting of the Radermachera Sinica plant, leaving only a pair of leaflets at the tip. 
  • Tap off any extra rooting hormone powder from the bottom side of the cutting. 
  • Then, to entrap as much humidity as possible, you should position the cutting of the Radermachera Sinica in a moist potting mix.
  • Make sure to wrap the cutting with a plastic bag. 
  • Now, place the bagged cutting in a light, warm location and gently tug on it every few weeks to test whether it’s rooted or not. 
  • Pinch the tip of the cutting as soon as its roots begin to develop to stimulate excellent branching.

Note for China Doll Plant Benefits: 

  • At all times, the soil around the cuttings should be kept evenly moist. 
  • If the propagation was effective within three to four weeks, roots should begin to grow.

Potting and Repotting China Doll Plants

When it comes to repotting doll plants, less is more. Radermachera Sinica prefers to be rootbound; thus, repotting or disruption on a regular basis can result in leaf drop and a general failure to thrive. 

China doll plant benefits demand it repotting when it is required. Ensure to only increase the pot size by one to two inches. You can prune the roots of your Radermachera Sinica plant instead of repotting it. Root trimming is considered helpful in managing the size of your Radermachera Sinica plant.

Note for China Doll Plant Benefits:

If a China doll has been kept in the same container for a long time, the soil may get too salty, causing the leaf-tip burn. To remove excess salt, repot the plant with fresh soil mix or flush the soil with a lot of water.

Usually, plants get infected or attacked by pests or diseases, yet we can save our plants if we know who we are battling against. Here are some pests and diseases that may harm your Radermachera Sinica plant.

Common Pests and Diseases

Although China doll plants aren’t known to be particularly pest or disease-prone, there are a few ailments to be aware of. Your Radermachera Sinica plant, like most houseplants, is susceptible to scale, mealybug, and spider mites, primarily if housed near a variety of other plants. 

Fungal (such as leaf spot), Radermachera Sinica plant may contract easily and can be treated by gradually lowering the moisture around the plant. Fungal infections in China Doll plants can lead to Leaf Spot, a common houseplant disease. 


  • You can avoid leaf Spot Disease by allowing proper air circulation and keeping the leaves dry. 
  • If an infestation emerges, use a natural insecticide such as neem oil.

Common problems in China doll plant:

Dried-up leaves:

The leaves might wilt if the soil is overly watered or submerged. The main reason would be subject to the water level, which might also happen in cold temperatures. Thus, keep a keen eye on the soil since outdoor plants’ heavy rains might destroy the China doll plant.

Yellowing of leaves:

Yellowing of leaves may be an outcome of excessive watering as well. Keep the plant in a sunny spot where it can get indirect sunlight. Also, make sure the soil is constantly moist, but not damp.

Browning of leaves:

If all the leaves of the plant have been affected, there are several reasons. Other plants may require less moisture if the tips of their leaves turn brown, but excessive watering is one main cause of the browning of entire China Doll plant leaves. 

They need more water when exposed to natural sunlight, but if you continuously spray them or pour water on them without any delay and wait for them to dry, root rot will eventually emerge. 

The leaves will display if the plant gets too much of anything. Always check the top two inches of the surface of the soil for moisture; remember water should be provided only if it is dry.


The China doll (Radermachera Sinica) quickly gained in popularity and availability. This plant has lovely, glossy, mid-green leaves divided into leaflets, making it look like a tree. 

This doll plant is easy to grow and maintains a small size. While their care can be challenging, if you understand the primary growing conditions for China doll plants, you will be able to appreciate their presence in your house. We have mentioned everything you need to know about the china doll plant. Happy Gardening!

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