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China doll plant

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by Lea Irina Bulb on April 05, 2006 05:09 PM

I have three China dolls (Radermachia sinica, I believe) which are growing leggy despite regular prunings. As well, their older leaves are yellowing at the tips and margins. These small plants (5" pots) are located in bright light with a few hours of direct sun each day and, except for the occasional lapse, are watered when the soil surface dries.

I know China dolls have a reputation of being difficult to grow indoors, however previous attempts with this species have been successful. Is it possible my plants are receiving too much light? Any insights into the cause of the yellowing leaves and legginess is much appreciated.

by JV on April 05, 2006 05:38 PM
Lea I can't help you but someone will be along that can. Just wanted to give you a Texas welcome to the garden helper. I live between Dallas and Fort Worth. Hope you enjoy here as much as I have. Come to Banter Hall and shoot the Bull some times.

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by Will Creed on April 06, 2006 03:38 AM
Welcome Lea!

Do you say your China dolls are leggy because they have lost many lower leaf stems or because the internodes (space between the leaf stems) are elongated? A photo would help.

How do you prune them?

The leaf discoloration may be due to those occasional lapses in watering. Even a single lapse can cause that symptom and, of course, it never corrects itself. Hard water and over-fertilizing can also cause this leaf discoloration.

Will Creed
by Lea Irina Bulb on April 06, 2006 04:33 AM
Thanks for the warm Texas welcome, Jimmy.

Will, if you will be so kind as to provide instructions for posting them, I will gladly accomodate your request for photos.

Recently, the China dolls are losing lower leaves and have elongated internodes as well. About every couple months I prune all the stem tips to encourage branching and trim renegade lengthy stems as needed.

None of my other plants, including those known to be sensitive to hard water, show symptoms of excess mineral buildup, however, as my water source has not been tested for mineral content, I don't dismiss the possibility.

I admit to not having much faith in the necessity of fertilizers for indoor plants and rarely fertilize my tropicals.

If memory serves, the leaf yellowing began shortly after one of those watering lapses. If the problem cannot be remedied, perhaps I should start anew. Small China dolls are inexpensively replaced.

Many thanks for your assistance.

by Lea Irina Bulb on April 11, 2006 11:37 AM
Will, I thought to PM you a follow up to my post, however assume from the absent appropriate icon next to your name that you do not accept PM's. Clueless how to post photos to this board, I wonder if you have an email address to which can be sent photos of the China dolls in question. Many thanks for your assistance.

by packisnumber1 on April 11, 2006 10:34 PM
I am no expert at any of this, but I recently bought a china doll plant. It was in a very little pot, so I repotted it in a bigger one when I got it. As for watering regimine, I usually water it once a week along with the rest of my houseplants, and it seems to be doing fine. I've never trimmed or pruned mine, I didn't know it was something that was done on these plants. I do give it liquid fertilizer every other watering. I don't know if this helps you at all, but maybe it will. Good luck! [Smile]

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