China Doll

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

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Radermachera sinica

How to keep them thriving indoors in Melbourne!

Please Note: The information below is specific to this particular variety. For more detailed notes on the general growing conditions required for all Indoor Plants, check out our ‘Growing Indoor Plants Successfully’ factsheet.

Lovely glossy mid-green divided lacy leaves give an airy elegant feel to this houseplant. This plant is not for the novice. It does have definite requirements, but if these are met, can grow incredibly quickly and is fairly trouble free.


In the warmer months, water after the top of the potting mix has dried out. In the cooler months, or in cool air-conditioned environment, water less often. Water until water runs out of the base, then make sure all water has drained away and the pot is not sitting in water. Over watering will make it rot.


Bright indirect or filtered light all year round. Will not tolerate a dark position.

Temperature and humidity

What they don’t like is large fluctuations in temperature. They prefer consistency and sulk if moved. Prefer temperatures between 18 and 24C. Intolerant of draughts or cold spots like cold windows. Not fussy about humidity.


Fertilise monthly in spring and summer with an indoor plant fertiliser at half strength. Only fertilise every second month over winter and once in autumn. Once a year, flush out any salts that may have accumulated by watering thoroughly and deeply with clean water.


Nursery grown plants are frequently treated with Gibberellic Acid to make it more compact. In the home, over time the plants will become more open and leggy – can look quite elegant and airy, but if you want a more compact plant, prune the branches back regularly.


Being pot bound suits it, so avoid repotting for as long as possible. If you do re-pot it will almost certainly sulk, drop leaves and turn all temperamental. It will come good, be patient, trim branches back by one third to a half and wait it out.


Leaf Drop

o Happens if plant has been moved
o Change in temperature
o Change in watering regime
o Repotting.

Mealy bug, aphids, spider mite

• Spray with white oil or pest oil, or push a confidor tablet into the soil. For spidermite, spray with natrasoap and increase humidity slightly.

Leaf Spot

Try to avoid getting the leaves wet when watering. Good air circulation and perfect drainage helps prevent this problem. Use a fungal spray.