Jump to content

China doll tree


Walt
 Share

Recommended Posts

My wife got this little tree (maybe in a pint sized container) last winter. This thing wasn't more than six inches high at the time. It's been growing rapidly ever since. The pot it's now in, I believe, is a 7.5 gallon size. I must water this plant everyday, and I think it's getting root bound. In any event, I will keep it in my greenhouse over the winter, but I'd like to plant it out come spring of 2012.

My question is, what is the cold/frost hardiness of this tree? I can't seem to find much information other than growing it as a house plant -- and I don't want to do that.

2968524790042496162S600x600Q85.jpg

Mad about palms

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kudos to you - they are actually very slow plants by reputation, so you are doing very well with it. It is VERY frost tender, though, so if you enjoy it, I would not plant it out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

These grow successfully in rather frosty areas of the SF Bay Area and are fast-growing. They also tolerate the chilly summers of coastal central California. It's a lot tougher than it looks, and frankly succeeds much better outdoors in our area than as a houseplant. Radermachera sinica is the botanical name.

  • Upvote 1

Jason Dewees

Inner Sunset District

San Francisco, California

Sunset zone 17

USDA zone 10a

21 inches / 530mm annual rainfall, mostly October to April

Humidity averages 60 to 85 percent year-round.

Summer: 67F/55F | 19C/12C

Winter: 56F/44F | 13C/6C

40-year extremes: 96F/26F | 35.5C/-3.8C

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Walt--

Radermachera sinica should be perfectly cold-hardy in your area, taking mid 20sF w/some age, though since it's fat/succulent now, I'd plant out in the spring. It's best grown as a single-trunked tree. I know it sounds painful, but I'd separate/divide that pot of (probably) 10-15 individual seedlings before planting out. They're pretty tough; now is a good time to separate them, plant in individual pots, overwinter, and plant out the strongest in the spring.

SoCal and SoFla; zone varies by location.

'Home is where the heart suitcase is'...

_____

"If, as they say, there truly is no rest for the wicked, how can the Devil's workshop be filled with idle hands?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I found it to be fast and it does handle cold temperatures fine. My issue was leaf litter and the fact it would flower so far up the tree you didn't have a change to enjoy the flower.

Len

Vista, CA (Zone 10a)

Shadowridge Area

"Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are."

-- Alfred Austin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rapid grower here in FL until it reaches about 20ft then forms a canopy. Here I have seen them tolerate 26-27F with little damage

Eric

Orlando, FL

zone 9b/10a

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks all for your replies. I'm happy to learn my China doll (when mature) will be able to withstand lows down near the mid 20s. Even if it gets nipped back some I'm sure (as fast as mine is growing now) it will grow back quickly.

fastfeat: I told my wife what you said about separating the individual trees -- and she felt uneasy about it. Tomorrow I will try to pull the clump from its pot and inspect the root system. If it looks like I can separate the individual trees (maybe by using a hard hose spray to remove and dislodge the potting soil) I will try to separate them. If not, the whole clump will go in the ground come spring of 2012.

Also, my wife told me she bought the China doll at Pubix grocery store, and that she was surprised to find it, that she/we had one about 25 years ago (unbeknowst of me) at our former house, as a house plant.

Mad about palms

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mine was fast to about 20 feet, has handled cold weather and dry winds fairly well (it handled the cold better), and generally is trouble-free. I do agree with the comment that the blooms are too high up to see.

Resident of San Diego, CA and Pahoa, HI.  Former garden in Vista, CA.  Garden Photos

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mine was fast to about 20 feet, has handled cold weather and dry winds fairly well (it handled the cold better), and generally is trouble-free. I do agree with the comment that the blooms are too high up to see.

I wasn't aware the China doll had blooms until LJG indicated it, then I went online and saw photos of the blooms. That prompts the question: How mature, tall, etc., before the China doll produces its first blooms. Also, when does the blooming period start -- and for how long?

Mad about palms

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mine was fast to about 20 feet, has handled cold weather and dry winds fairly well (it handled the cold better), and generally is trouble-free. I do agree with the comment that the blooms are too high up to see.

I wasn't aware the China doll had blooms until LJG indicated it, then I went online and saw photos of the blooms. That prompts the question: How mature, tall, etc., before the China doll produces its first blooms. Also, when does the blooming period start -- and for how long?

Mine bloomed early but very sparse while young. Maybe two flowers for example. In higher humidity, they have a great fragrance. While still nice in lower, it does not compare. Similar to the hybrid plant off this - Radermachera'Kunming'. If you are going to leave it in a pot, it can stay multiple as they are very slow in pots. Once planted in the ground it will really take off. I simply started cutting out the others a few each year until I had a single trunk tree.

On a side note I eventually cut mine down because it grew so tall and massive it would dump too much leaf litter into my small Koi pond.

Len

Vista, CA (Zone 10a)

Shadowridge Area

"Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are."

-- Alfred Austin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mine was fast to about 20 feet, has handled cold weather and dry winds fairly well (it handled the cold better), and generally is trouble-free. I do agree with the comment that the blooms are too high up to see.

I wasn't aware the China doll had blooms until LJG indicated it, then I went online and saw photos of the blooms. That prompts the question: How mature, tall, etc., before the China doll produces its first blooms. Also, when does the blooming period start -- and for how long?

Mine bloomed early but very sparse while young. Maybe two flowers for example. In higher humidity, they have a great fragrance. While still nice in lower, it does not compare. Similar to the hybrid plant off this - Radermachera'Kunming'. If you are going to leave it in a pot, it can stay multiple as they are very slow in pots. Once planted in the ground it will really take off. I simply started cutting out the others a few each year until I had a single trunk tree.

On a side note I eventually cut mine down because it grew so tall and massive it would dump too much leaf litter into my small Koi pond.

Well, I looked at my tree (or should I say trees) today in the pot on the thought of separating them. No way will I try as they seem to be all knitted together with respect to the root system. I feel I may damage them too much trying to separate them. I will plant them as is and then start cutting the smaller, less vigorous out (like you did) until I get down to the biggest one.

As far as leaf litter, I'm used to it, as I have huge clumps of bamboo and innumerous pine trees et al trees and vines, etc., that drop litter year round. I just rake it all up and burn it, then use the ash as a light fertilizer and liming agent for all my palms and tropical plants.

Mad about palms

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mine was fast to about 20 feet, has handled cold weather and dry winds fairly well (it handled the cold better), and generally is trouble-free. I do agree with the comment that the blooms are too high up to see.

I wasn't aware the China doll had blooms until LJG indicated it, then I went online and saw photos of the blooms. That prompts the question: How mature, tall, etc., before the China doll produces its first blooms. Also, when does the blooming period start -- and for how long?

Mine bloomed early but very sparse while young. Maybe two flowers for example. In higher humidity, they have a great fragrance. While still nice in lower, it does not compare. Similar to the hybrid plant off this - Radermachera'Kunming'. If you are going to leave it in a pot, it can stay multiple as they are very slow in pots. Once planted in the ground it will really take off. I simply started cutting out the others a few each year until I had a single trunk tree.

On a side note I eventually cut mine down because it grew so tall and massive it would dump too much leaf litter into my small Koi pond.

Well, I looked at my tree (or should I say trees) today in the pot on the thought of separating them. No way will I try as they seem to be all knitted together with respect to the root system. I feel I may damage them too much trying to separate them. I will plant them as is and then start cutting the smaller, less vigorous out (like you did) until I get down to the biggest one.

As far as leaf litter, I'm used to it, as I have huge clumps of bamboo and innumerous pine trees et al trees and vines, etc., that drop litter year round. I just rake it all up and burn it, then use the ash as a light fertilizer and liming agent for all my palms and tropical plants.

Roots are rubbery and store water during dry periods. They can lose quite a few and regenerate, but I'll leave the decision to separate up to you.

Flowering is mostly fugacious-- open at dusk and usually drop by mid-morning. Mostly interesting close-up rather than considered showy, though large trees can create quite a show when they drop a large quantity of flowers on the ground in the AM.

SoCal and SoFla; zone varies by location.

'Home is where the heart suitcase is'...

_____

"If, as they say, there truly is no rest for the wicked, how can the Devil's workshop be filled with idle hands?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

fugacious. Now there is a word you don't hear every day.

So many species,

so little time.

Coconut Creek, Florida

Zone 10b (Zone 11 except for once evey 10 or 20 years)

Last Freeze: 2011,50 Miles North of Fairchilds

Link to comment
Share on other sites

fugacious. Now there is a word you don't hear every day.

Kinda applies to many of my "relationships" too...:mrlooney:

SoCal and SoFla; zone varies by location.

'Home is where the heart suitcase is'...

_____

"If, as they say, there truly is no rest for the wicked, how can the Devil's workshop be filled with idle hands?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 years later...
18 hours ago, Rafael said:

Walt, could your share an update?

Rafael: My China doll tree, or I should say lots of trees, are growing slow and are very skinny. Maybe I should have cut out most of them, but I left them as they were. I think I counted at least 10 skinny trunks. Last year I planted bromeliads (that were growing wild in an area of my property that I finally cleaned up, and I transplanted them) around the trunk bases. I think my China dolls will soon drop their leaves and form new ones like they do every spring. Below are two photos I took today so to answer your posting. It's hard to make them out with all the other pine trees in the back ground.

China%20doll%20tree%201_zps2ufrgepd.jpg

China%20doll%20tree%201a_zpsamixpwia.jpg

  • Upvote 1

Mad about palms

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 16/03/2016, 23:48:25, Walt said:

Rafael: My China doll tree, or I should say lots of trees, are growing slow and are very skinny. Maybe I should have cut out most of them, but I left them as they were. I think I counted at least 10 skinny trunks. Last year I planted bromeliads (that were growing wild in an area of my property that I finally cleaned up, and I transplanted them) around the trunk bases. I think my China dolls will soon drop their leaves and form new ones like they do every spring. Below are two photos I took today so to answer your posting. It's hard to make them out with all the other pine trees in the back ground.

China%20doll%20tree%201_zps2ufrgepd.jpg

China%20doll%20tree%201a_zpsamixpwia.jpg

Wow :drool:amazing visuals! Thanks Walt!

I am growing this tree too, but a small one, planted last year...

Do you think i should cut some branches?

IMG_6393.thumb.JPG.be7c25b7e35923cfd4189IMG_6392.thumb.JPG.13280973bb9f424eec406

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rafael: I wouldn't cut your tree. But that's just my baseless opinion. I just wouldn't cut it being that small. Maybe others can advise you. I would definitely let it grow before I would try to shape it. The only thing I might do is remove some of the grass close to it (to avoid root competition) and maybe lightly fertilize it. Your tree looks healthy, though. I hope it grows well for you over this summer and puts on some good size.

Mad about palms

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My Radermachera sinica is rather chunky compared to the examples in this thread. Mine is located on the south side of my double story house so it is on the cool side of the house dealing with full winter shade. When it was first planted my street was fairly new so there wasn't much protection from the cold winter winds from the south west. Five years since planting it is almost 6 meters tall and I'm pruning the lower branches so I can walk underneath it. Right now is the end of the flowering season it has a few flowers but is holding many more long snake like seed pods. I'll try and find an old photo of when it was first planted and take a new photo tomorrow.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Pip said:

My Radermachera sinica is rather chunky compared to the examples in this thread. Mine is located on the south side of my double story house so it is on the cool side of the house dealing with full winter shade. When it was first planted my street was fairly new so there wasn't much protection from the cold winter winds from the south west. Five years since planting it is almost 6 meters tall and I'm pruning the lower branches so I can walk underneath it. Right now is the end of the flowering season it has a few flowers but is holding many more long snake like seed pods. I'll try and find an old photo of when it was first planted and take a new photo tomorrow.

Yes please Pip :drool:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Photo's taken today 24th March 2016. It is a bit tricky to get a good shot due to the other trees now growing too. My cat likes to climb the china doll

20160324_105114.thumb.jpg.b2a0efbd15819c

20160324_105137.thumb.jpg.c6345f4ed641be

20160324_105219.thumb.jpg.56176cd7a87c22

  • Upvote 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Rafael said:

Wow Pip, that"s a really nice one! :drool:

I hope mine to grow that big. It is in the ground since last year's spring 

I'm certain yours will. They are a fairly common tree in my area I suspect that's due to the indoor plant trade. China doll's are usually hormone treated to keep the growth squat the treatment doesn't last eventually normal growth returns and the plants are put outside if not cut right back.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, Pip said:

I'm certain yours will. They are a fairly common tree in my area I suspect that's due to the indoor plant trade. China doll's are usually hormone treated to keep the growth squat the treatment doesn't last eventually normal growth returns and the plants are put outside if not cut right back.

Over here nurserys sell multi planted groups, maybe with 4/5 plants in the same pot (10€, quite cheap). And that was how i acquired this one. I disengaged the roots, planted one (the one in the picture, in a sunny and unprotected spot) and potted the other 4. After one year, the planted one has doubled the syze of the others and i might plant all of them outside ^_^

Can you tell me how much have you been watering and feeding yours, and with which kind of fertilizer? Question to @Walt too, off course ^_^

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Rafael said:

Over here nurserys sell multi planted groups, maybe with 4/5 plants in the same pot (10€, quite cheap). And that was how i acquired this one. I disengaged the roots, planted one (the one in the picture, in a sunny and unprotected spot) and potted the other 4. After one year, the planted one has doubled the syze of the others and i might plant all of them outside ^_^

Can you tell me how much have you been watering and feeding yours, and with which kind of fertilizer? Question to @Walt too, off course ^_^

I fertilize mine with an organic pelleterized manure usually in spring sometimes autumn too. I will occasionally use a soluble fertilizer throughout the warmer months too. In my climate regular irrigation helps a lot otherwise the canopy becomes sparse and flowering is interrupted. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 25 de março de 2016, 11:34:06, Pip said:

I fertilize mine with an organic pelleterized manure usually in spring sometimes autumn too. I will occasionally use a soluble fertilizer throughout the warmer months too. In my climate regular irrigation helps a lot otherwise the canopy becomes sparse and flowering is interrupted. 

Thanks Pip :greenthumb:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...