China Doll Plant Propagation
By: Nikki Tilley, Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden
China doll plant (Radermachera sinica) is a popular and beautiful houseplant. However, this delicate-looking plant frequently requires regular pruning to keep it from becoming scraggly. Although it can be somewhat difficult, these pruned off cuttings can be used for starting additional China doll plants.
Propagating China Doll Plant
China doll cuttings are not always easy to propagate, as this is a finicky plant. Nonetheless, China doll plant starting is possible given the right conditions. When propagating China doll plant, use only the green stem cuttings, not the woody ones. These cuttings can easily be taken from the ends of the plant’s stems while pruning. Avoid using any long cuttings, sticking to those that are 3 to 6 inches in length instead.
Insert cuttings for China doll plant propagation into small pots filled with damp potting soil mix or compost. Place a clear plastic bag over top of the pots to help retain moisture levels, as this plant requires a lot of humidity in order to put out roots.
Alternatively when propagating a china doll plant, you can cut the bottoms of 2-liter bottles and place them over the cuttings as well. Move the cuttings to a bright location with indirect sunlight for about three to four weeks, making sure the soil remains moist during this period.
China Doll Plant Starting Care
China doll plants require bright light and moist conditions. When China doll plant starting, heated sunrooms and greenhouses make suitable locations for the cuttings. Once the cuttings are putting out roots, they can be transplanted to another container and care should be given just as with the mother plant. Keep the soil moist, occasionally allowing it to dry some to avoid any potential problems with fungus. Increase watering as new foliage develops, decreasing once the China doll plant goes dormant.
With a little patience, China doll plant propagation is not only possible but well worth the additional effort.
This article was last updated on
1. Light Requirement
You’ll want to keep your China Doll plant in bright but indirect sunlight. If you are growing it outside, keep it in a decently shady area. Too much direct sun can scorch the leaves of this plant, damaging it badly in a very short amount of time.
If you are growing this plant inside, you can use a grow light to ensure that its needs are met. Just make sure that you choose a light that is very bright. This is a very important part of keeping this particular plant healthy, both initially and over time.
It is crucial that you do not over water this plant, as it is prone to root rot. You should wait until the first inch of soil is dry before watering it. During the warmer and dryer months, you’ll want to water it more.
When the winter months come, you won’t have to water this plant quite as much. Do not allow the soil this plant is in to become too dry before watering it. Too much water is definitely bad, but so is not enough.
China Doll plants can be grown in USDA hardiness zones of 10 and 11. These plants prefer warm climates and regions that get lots of sunlight most of the year.
It is imperative that you put this plant in a well-draining soil mix. If the soil you have put this plant in doesn’t drain very well, you can put some sand in. This should be fairly effective when it comes to achieving adequate drainage.
Make sure that you also give your plant fertilizer during the periods of active growth. You’ll want to choose a fertilizer that is nice and balanced. When it is not a time of active growth, you can limit fertilizing to once every couple of months.
These plants tend to do well within a temperature range of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are going to keep this plant indoors, you should avoid any drafty areas. A regular draft can make it difficult for your plant to stay healthy over the long term.
It is not a good idea to repot these plants very often, as this can cause the leaves to droop quite a bit. You’ll only want to do this when you absolutely have to. You might want to simply prune to the roots instead of repotting. This can help with keeping the overall size of the plant under control.
7. Speed of Growth
China Doll plants grow fairly quickly, especially when they are grown in a climate that is warm and sunny year round.
8. Height and Spread
These plants can grow up to 8 feet tall with a spread of 3 feet. Make sure that you keep a distance of at least several feet between this plant and any others in your garden. This will help with reducing the chances of tangled roots.
You can expect your China Doll plant to begin flowering in the early spring to summer months. The flowers this plant produces are typically white and yellow. Keep in mind that it is nearly impossible to get it to bloom when kept inside.
You’ll want to make a point of trimming any stems on this plant that do not have foliage. You should also focus on areas that have little foliage. You can trim back to the main branch when necessary.
Any dead stems on this plant should be removed altogether. This will help to keep the plant healthy and prevent disease from spreading. Cut the stems of the plant back to half an inch above the leaf to the height you want.
China Doll HELP!
Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2005
about a week ago i bought a China Doll plant. it was about a foot tall, looked healthy. it was in a tiny pot, only 4"
my mom used to have a china doll and it was very pretty and i really liked it, so i got one of my own. when i got home, i transplanted it into a sealed 8" terracotta pot. i put stones in the bottom of the pot to allow for drainage and there is a hole in the bottom as well.
well, only a couple days after i bought it, it started dropping leaves, now it's dropping more and whole branches are falling off and leaves are turning yellow before they fall off. i thought it was too cold by the window, so i moved it to the middle of the room where it's a more even temp, but it doesn't seem to be doing any better.
is it just in shock? what am i doing wrong? i'm usually great with plants, but i don't know what to do with this one and i don't want it to die.
the soil was damp when i planted it, and i haven't watered it since, as it's still nicely damp, but not soaked. someone told me that the pot might be too big and i should put it in something smaller. there is NO fertilizer in the pot.
i don't know what else to do! please help!
China dolls are one of my favorite plants but they are very finicky, shedding leaves whenever they are unhappy about their environment. They require bright indirect or direct light (protected from hot midday sun) away from warm or cold drafts, and evenly moist but not soggy soil. Expect the China doll to shed leaves for a few weeks as it acclimatizes to the new environment in your home. Pruning might be helpful.
Repotting was not a good idea for two reasons. Never repot a plant until it is fully acclimatized to its environment. Also, generally plants don't need to be repotted unless they require watering more frequently than every three days, and then to a pot only 1-2" larger. Over potting frequently leads to over watering which in turn causes root rot. Your friend was correct in suggesting to down pot.
Many people don't like China dolls because they are so finicky but unlike plants that silently suffer with few symptoms until it is too late, China dolls' dramatic reaction to unfavorable conditions provide opportunity to make necessary adjustments to their environment. But prima donnas are notoriously unpredictable so don't be discouraged if the plant doesn't make it.
Someone more experienced might have further suggestions but I hope this helps for now. Best of luck with your China doll and please keep us informed how it fares.
I had a China Doll that croaked despite my best efforts (and my usually green thumb). Months later, while in an out-of-town library browsing through houseplant books, I read that this plant has a fatal allergy to cigarette smoke! I'm a heavy smoker, so this plant's not for me til I quit. None of my other plants seem to mind.
Odd thing is, I had read about China Doll in numerous other books, and web-searches, without any mention of this allergy, until I saw this one book.
No, I don't remember the name of the book or the author. I was out-of-town visiting, my sister had business to conduct at this place (the library of an inner-city gardening beautification project)and when she was done we had things to do, so I had to quickly re-shelve all the houseplant books I had strewn all over the table :-)
The book, from what I remember, was an ordinary houseplant care guide, though better than average in its info and advice. The cigarette allergy of China Doll was stated matter-of-factly, I don't think it went into detailed scientific data to support it. It rang true to me, simply because I've never had a plant decline so dramatically, even those reputed to be difficult. It described the exact symptoms my plant had exhibited (browning and dropping leaves) as resulting from smoke exposure. But as I said, I've never read this elsewhere, even after googling "China Doll" and "smoke".
A Plant. A Look. A Lifestyle.
Discover our vibrant collection, with more than 400 varieties, each as unique as you are.
Exotic Angel plants are bursting with personality. Fun and stylish, these houseplants bring home décor to life with lasting quality and endless variety—all lovingly raised by the Costa Farms Family. Transform your home into an oasis with different Exotic Angel plants from around the world.
Exotic Angel Plants Are Versatile
These indoor houseplants can add character to any indoor space, and one Exotic Angel is simply never enough. Have fun complementing your home with hanging baskets, tabletop or standing containers. With hundreds of plants to choose from, there's sure to be a plant perfect for your lifestyle.
Discover beautiful houseplants great for windowsills, sunrooms or living rooms based on the changing lighting throughout your home.
Exotic Angel varieties make the best office plants, ideal for sprucing up the workplace because of their hardy nature and varying lighting needs.
They come in every size—big to compact, making them an easy choice for small spaces, such as dorm rooms and apartments.
Bring classrooms to life with Exotic Angel plants—sourced around the world, each plant has an exciting and unique background story.
Start Searching For Your Exotic Indoor Houseplant
Teddy bear vine is a unique houseplant that has spreading or trailing stems decorated with unusual tear-drop-shaped fuzzy chocolate-brown leaves. The soft texture of its foliage gives rise to its common name, teddy bear vine. Because of the plant's.
Codonanthe is a rare houseplant in the African violet family that has small, rounded shiny leaves accented by adorable intricate white flowers. Though rare, this interesting houseplant is delightfully easy to grow and is fun to decorate your home.
Flame violet (Episcia) is an adorable small houseplant that offers attractive foliage and charming little trumpet-shaped flowers. A member of the African violet family, it has more of a spreading or trailing shape than its familiar cousins.
Add texture to terrariums with the beautiful purple foliage of dragon's tongue. This easy-care houseplant (a favorite in our Exotic Angel Plants collection!) features fine, almost grassy-looking leaves on a low, spreading plant. Because this small.
Agave is a bold, exotic houseplant that's sure to lend interesting texture to your home. The agave family includes large and small varieties in a variety of colors, so there's one for just about every look. Agave are beautiful indoor plants that.
Aloes are good indoor plants if you're busy and have a bright spot in your home. These houseplants have a bold texture that works particularly well with modern and contemporary decorating schemes, but they also fit in well if your tastes run more.
Alsobia dianthiflora is a beautiful houseplant that features furry leaves and, in ideal conditions, interesting white flowers that look like they've been put in a paper shredder (but in a good way!). This African violet relative trails as it grows.
Beautiful aralias are easy-to-grow and have been popular indoor plants for more than a century. Prized for their finely cut, divided leaves, aralia varieties are ideal for adding softness and texture to indoor spaces. Available in a range of sizes.
An uncommon -- but exceptional -- houseplant, ardisia features rich green foliage that adds life and cheer to any indoor space. It's a slow-growing shrub that, when young, makes an attractive addition to the top of a brightly lit table, desk, or.
A longtime favorite for adding texture to spaces indoors and out, asparagus fern is so versatile, you can grow it as a houseplant or outside in hanging baskets and container gardens. The plant's fine texture looks great no matter where you grow.
China Doll is a beautiful bushy houseplant that has lush, finely divided leaves giving it an elegant appearance. As young China doll plants grow, they become trees with woody stems and a thick, lush canopy.
Looking for a fun houseplant? Try coffee! This beautiful indoor plant boasts shiny, dark green leaves that look like they've been polished. It's lovely on its own and striking when paired with other houseplants. Young coffee plants have a dense.
You might not guess it from looking at it, but columnea is actually a relative of African violet. And like its cousin, columnea is a fantastic houseplant. It has pendulous stems, making it a perfect pick for hanging baskets. When not suspended in.
Dracaena fragrans 'Massangeana'
Corn plant, also sometimes called mass cane, is exceptionally easy to grow, making it one of the best houseplants for beginners. Corn plant bears a thick woody trunk topped by clusters of strappy dark green leaves highlighted by a lime-green.
Creeping fig is a delightful little houseplant. It’s also one of the smallest members of the ficus family. The plant is a close cousin to fiddle leaf fig (Ficus lyarata), weeping.
One of the boldest houseplants around, you can't miss crotons because of their colorful foliage. Often boldly marked with bright yellow, orange, red, and even black, crotons are perfect for adding a tropical touch to indoor decor. They're.
Crown of thorns is a flowering indoor plant that boasts cheerful blooms in a wide range of colors. The two-petaled flowers almost look like little butterflies! The blooms are a delicate contrast to the plant's extremely spiny stems. This.
Dieffenbachia is one of the easiest indoor houseplants to grow -- and one of the most common indoor plants. This tropical shrub shows off lush leaves that are usually marked in shades of cream, yellow, or white, making dieffenbachia a top pick for.
Dischidias are uncommon, exotic, but easy-to-grow houseplants. Most varieties trail, making them wonderful choices for hanging baskets if you're looking for a no-fuss plant to hang in your window or near your desk. Most varieties of dischidia have.
Dracaenas are a group of houseplants you just can't go wrong with. Why? They're among the easiest and most common indoor plants around. Young plants are small and bushy, making them perfect residents of desks and tabletops. Older dracaenas develop.
Earth stars are unusual houseplants perfect for adding a dash of color and texture to your spaces. Small indoor plants, they're perfect for growing on bright tabletops -- and make excellent living centerpieces for special gatherings. Because.
Elephant's ears are stunning houseplants. They often feature dark, shield-shaped foliage that may be accentuated by white veins running throughout the leaves. The plants will flower occasionally, sending up a spike with a calla-like white, light.
Add elegance to your home or office with stately false aralia. This medium- to slow-growing houseplant is one of the best for high-light situations. The plant's appeal comes from its finely divided leaves, which gives it a feathery appearance.
Ferns are among the most beautiful houseplants. With lacy fronds and a classic texture, they work well in just about any interior design scheme, from country casual to formal. There's a wider variety of ferns available than most folks realize, so.
Ficus -- also called figs -- are among the most popular indoor plants, and for good reason. These are easy to grow houseplants and offer a lot of variety, from low groundcover types to tall trees. Ficus also offer a variety of textures, so there's.
Inch plant is an old-school houseplant that's still popular today because it's so easy to grow. The trailing stems make it perfect choice for growing in hanging baskets, but it's also stunning when allowed to spread across a tabletop or other.
Lipstick plant is a beautiful flowering indoor plant prized for its shiny foliage and interesting flowers. It gets its name because the flower buds peek out of dark-colored tubes, looking like a miniature tube of lipstick.
Madagascar dragon tree, also called red-edge dracaena, is one of the most popular houseplants around. It bears narrow green leaves banded in red or pink on top of slender stems. Its upright habit makes Madagascar dragon tree a useful houseplant to.
Maidenhair vine is a stunning houseplant. It creates a carpet of small, shiny, dark green leaves and is excellent for creating a groundcover effect under taller houseplants. Because it has a creeping or trailing habit, maidenhair vine is also.
Chlorophytum amaniense ‘Fire Flash’
Most colorful houseplants give us their shot of color from their leaves. But mandarin plant (Chlorophytum amaniense ‘Fire Flash’) goes a different route. It shows off colorful orange leaf stems (called petioles). This gives the plant an.
An interesting cactus houseplant, mistletoe cactus is a modern indoor plant that has a unique form thanks to its trailing shape. A lush, full-grown plant looks like a living Cousin It --- making it a fun addition to your indoor decor as well as a.
Moss is a hot look for designing with plants, both indoors and out. While there are many types of moss, selaginella varieties are among the best houseplants. Those slow-growing, small indoor plants add lots of texture with their beautiful leaves.
Epiphyllum guatemalense monstrose
Orchid cactus is a bold houseplant that's not for the faint of heart! Though it's easy to grow, its exotic look will give your friends the impression you're a champion houseplant grower. It has long, flat leaves that twist and curl as they grow.
Houseplant palms are perfect for adding a bold, tropical touch to your home. There's a variety of beautiful palm trees that thrive as houseplants in bright rooms. It's easy to decorate with these plants: Use palms to break up a section of blank.
Peace lily is a common houseplant that bears broad, dark green leaves and charming, white calla-like flowers on tall stems above the foliage. When in bloom, the plant looks best when grouped in clusters of three or more. Peace lily fits in well in.
Pilea is an easy-to-grow houseplant that offers unique leaves often variegated or highly textured, making it standout from other plants in your collection. Pilea a wonderful accent to other indoor plants, but makes a great centerpiece on its own.
Polka dot plant is one of the cheeriest foliage plants around -- and most colorful. This beauty shows off red, pink, or white leaves marked with splashes of dark green. Polka dot plant forms a relatively low mound of foliage that looks good by.
Polynesian ivy is a delightful small houseplant that has interesting foliage that looks like it has a velvety or suede-like texture. A low-growing plant, Polynesian ivy is perfect for growing in hanging baskets and terrariums, as well as decorating.
Ponytail palm's best quality is how easy it is to grow: As long as you don't overwater it, the plant may seem virtually indestructible. It's a slow grower that's perfect for just about any room of the home, especially bedrooms. A small ponytail.
Prayer plant is a good houseplant: It's easy to grow, has fun foliage, and is a hardy indoor plant, ensuring you can be pretty successful with it! Prayer plant is a low, spreading plant that's often grown in hanging baskets, but will also grow.
Purple passion plant stands out from other houseplants because its green leaves are covered in soft purple hairs, giving the plant a purple sheen (and it's the source of the plant's other common name: velvet plant). Purple passion plant has an.
Purple pleasure plant is an exotic indoor plant that has bold, purple foliage that looks good all year long. It's ideal for adding color without relying on flowers. A relatively small houseplant, purple pleasure plant can be grown as an indoor.
Purple waffle plant is a delightful small houseplant that has colorful foliage, making it a lovely addition to your home or office all year long. In addition to its beauty, purple waffle plant is easy to grow indoors.
Pussy ears, also called kitten ears, is a delightful, easy-care houseplant. Related to inch plants (and sometimes classified as Tradescantia somaliensis), this unusual houseplant grows well in hanging baskets. Offers fuzzy green leaves, pussy ears.
Rex begonia offers colorful foliage and is one of the most interesting indoor plants around. Despite its exotic looks, Rex begonia is actually easy to grow. Because it's a relatively short houseplant, Rex begonia is perfect for desks and tabletops.
Ric rac cactus is one of the most exotic -- and easy -- cactus houseplants you grow! It shows off distinctive foliage -- the stems are serrated and lobed, like a backbone and have a thick, leathery texture that perfectly suits their dark green.
Schefflera (also called umbrella plant or arbicola) is a popular houseplant because it's easy to grow (it tolerates a range of growing conditions) and adds fun texture with its divided hand-like leaves.
Senecios are an interesting group of easy-to-care for succulent houseplants often grown in hanging baskets. These indoor plants have earned a reputation for being a cinch to care for because if they get enough light, they're practically no-fail.
Spider plant, also sometimes called airplane plant, is a houseplant that's withstood the tests of time. As popular today as it was generations ago, spider plant is wonderfully easy to grow. It thrives in bright light, but tolerates low light. It.
Tree ivy is a fun houseplant that has ivy-like leaves and an upright growth habit. It's actually something of an oddity in the plant world because tree ivy is actually a hybrid of two different kinds of plants (just like how a mule is a hybrid of a.
Zebra plant is one of the most stunning indoor plants around. This colorful houseplant shows off dark green leaves with bright white veins, making it stand out from a distance. It's definitely a showstopper on desks or tables in bright where you.
Dog tail cactus is an interesting and exotic houseplant with cylindrical leaves dotted in clusters of small spines. The effect is attractive and unique. Because dog tail cactus trails as it grows, it's a fine candidate for hanging baskets in front.
Arrowhead plant goes by a variety of names, including syngonium and nephthytis, is an excellent houseplant for low light (no matter what you call it!). Popular for more than a hundred years, arrowhead plant has withstood the test of time because.
If you’re looking for a colorful, easy-care plant, add strawberry begonia to your shopping list. This low-growing beauty produces quantities of dark green, hairy leaves with silver veins. Each leaf also has a red underside and stems.
We adore alternanthera for its colorful foliage and its versatility! There are varieties grown as houseplants and also for use outdoors as colorful annuals with variegated foliage in landscapes and container gardens.
If you're looking for an exotic indoor plant that's very easy to grow, take a look at hoya (also sometimes called wax plant). This unique houseplant is a vine (but don't worry it's not a fast-growing one!) that has thick, waxy leaves and clusters.
A perfect houseplant for beginners, pothos is one of the easiest you can grow -- and one of the most popular. This hardy indoor plant features dark green leaves splashed and marbled in shades of yellow, cream, or white. Pothos is wonderfully.
Ivy is one of the most common houseplants around. A classic favorite, it's been loved for generations because ivy is easy to grow as an indoor plant. It tolerates low light, inconsistent watering, and continues to grow. Plus, because ivy is a vine.
Nerve plant (also known as Fittonia albivenis) is a wonderful tropical houseplant for tabletops, hanging baskets, and terrariums. It adds a.
Peperomia is a delightful, easy-to-grow houseplant that's been around for years and it's still popular. Part of the reason for peperomia's popularity is that it's such an easy indoor plant. Plus, it's one of the better small houseplants, so you.
Philodendron is a classic, and practically no-fail houseplant because it's so easy to grow. Happily, this makes it a pretty common indoor plant to find at your local garden center. The philodendron family is a pretty big one, too -- so you can find.
Succulents are some of the trendiest plants around. You often see them featured in magazines, blogs, and everywhere else (including Pinterest). It's no wonder why: Succulents offer a wonderful array of colors and textures. Plus, they're easy to.
If you're looking for an easy-care houseplant, you can't do much better than snake plant. This hardy indoor is still popular today -- generations of gardeners have called it a favorite -- because of how adaptable it is to a wide range of growing.
Beautiful Desert Gems cacti add an easy-care burst of color to any room.
21800 SW 162ND Ave. Miami, Florida 33170 | (800) 327-7074
© 2021 Costa Farms, LLC. All Rights Reserved
This is a common question, and an important one to answer! Being a member of the Aracaeae family, the zz plant contains calcium oxalate, which is toxic to pets.
To remove any risk, simply keep them in an area that’s inaccessible to your pets! And even if a pet does nibble on it, you’ll rest easy knowing it’s not a fatal poison. It will cause diarrhea and potentially vomiting if ingested, so keep a watchful eye.
Q. A branch broke off of my ZZ plant…can I use it to propagate a new plant?
A. The answer is YES, but it takes a long time. The best way to propagate is to root the branch in water or damp soil. Make sure you have ample light and warm temperatures…but be prepared to wait. It can take a long time for the zz plant to set out new roots.
Q. My Zamioculcas Zamiifolia has stems that keep drooping over, but I’m not over or under watering. What’s wrong?
A. Although zz plants don’t need fertilizer often, if you’ve had the plant a while it may be time for a light dose of fertilizer. The other issue could be a lack of light. In extreme shade, zz plants like to droop a bit. Try moving it to a sunnier spot.