Tips On Chinese Perfume Plant Care

Aglaia odorata [ah-GLAY-uh, oh-dor-AH-tuh] is a large shrub belonging to the Meliaceae or mahogany family. 

This pretty, fragrant perennial plant hails from:

  • Cambodia
  • Indonesia
  • Myanmar
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam
  • Taiwan
  • China
  • Laos
Flowering Chinese Perfume Plant (Aglaia Odorata)Pin

The plant’s genus name, Aglaia, comes from Greek mythology. 

Aglaia was one of three graces or goddesses of beauty, charm, and grace. 

The genus name is a reference to the plants’ sweetly scented flowers. 

The specific epithet, odorata, also refers to the flowers’ delicious scent.

Common names include:

  • Chinese Fisheye Jasmine
  • Chinese Perfume Plant
  • Chinese Rice Plant
  • Mock Lemon
  • Chu Lan Tree
  • Mei Sui Lan

Chinese Perfume Plant Care

Size & Growth

Chinese Perfume Tree is accurately described as either a large shrub or a small tree. 

In the wild, it can grow to be 20′ feet high, but when kept indoors in a container, it tops out at about 4′ feet. 

If kept outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 10 through 11, it can reach about 10′ feet high.

The evergreen leaves of the Mock Lemon plant are yellowish-green in color. 

The elliptical leaflets grow on pinnate compound leaf clusters ranging in length from 2″ to 5″ inches. 

Each leaf may be 3″ or 4″ inches long.

Flowering & Fragrance

Chinese Rice Plant produces tiny, round, yellow, deeply scented blooms about the size of a grain of rice. 

The round, yellow flowers do not open or have petals. 

Instead, they appear in attractive, subtle sprays more noticeable for their scent and their appearance. 

The flowers have a lemony scent, which accounts for the common name, Mock Lemon.

Chu Lan Tree is a dioecious plant producing male and female blooms on different plants. 

For this reason, fruiting is rare because only female flowers that have been pollinated are able to transition into fruit.

When fruit does appear, it is in the form of oblong berries, each containing a single seed.

Light & Temperature

When kept as a houseplant, Chinese Fisheye Jasmine should be positioned very near a bright and sunny window. 

The plant does well with light exposure ranging from shade to full sun, with some direct sunlight.

When kept indoors, the Chinese Rice Plant can tolerate temperatures down to 35° degrees Fahrenheit (2° C). 

A consistent temperature of 60° degrees Fahrenheit (15° degrees Celsius) is preferred.

In USDA hardiness zones 10 through 11, it’s possible to grow Chinese Perfume Plant outdoors year-round. 

Choose an area receiving partial shade to full sun. 

Some shading during the hottest part of the day is recommended. 

Be sure the soil is well-draining.

Watering & Feeding

For both indoor and outdoor plants, allow the soil to dry almost completely before providing a thorough watering.

Fertilize weakly, weekly throughout the spring and summer with bloom stimulating fertilizer (e.g., 7 – 9 – 5). 

During the winter, fertilize only once a month with a balanced fertilizer (e.g., 15 – 15 – 15).

Soil & Transplanting

Well-draining soil is essential for Mei Sui Lan plants. 

A standard potting soil/sand mixture is advised.

Keep container plants in terra-cotta pots for good air circulation and drainage.

Grooming & Maintenance

These lovely, exotic plants need surprisingly little maintenance. 

Simply trim or pinch back the branch tips of young plants to encourage a fuller and bushier appearance.

How To Propagate Aglaia Odorata

Mock Lemon plants can grow from cuttings or by using the air layering method. 

Even if your plant does produce seed, growing from seed is not recommended because the offspring will not grow true to the parent plant.

Aglaia Odorata Pest or Disease Problems

These hardy plants are naturally disease-resistant and produce their natural pest repellent. 

Plants overwatered, overcrowded, or otherwise poorly maintained may occasionally be bothered by scale or mealybugs.

Is The Aglaia Plant Toxic Or Poisonous?

The leaves of Aglaia odorata produce a natural pest repellent. 

A bioherbicide has been developed using these extracts.

Is Th Chinese Perfume Aglaia Plant Invasive?

The Chinese perfume plant is listed as “near threatened.“ 

It is considered at very low risk for invasiveness, even in Hawaii where conditions most resemble its native habitat.

Suggested Chinese Perfume Plant Uses 

Depending on your climate, Mock Lemon makes an excellent potted plant or specimen tree. 

In areas where it is grown outside year-round, it is a lovely hedge and is used for both privacy and fragrance around your patio, deck, or pool.

In Hawaii, the flowers are used as hair ornaments or to make leis.

In cold climates, the small shrubs can grow entirely in terra-cotta containers to be taken outdoors during the warm months and brought indoors to enjoy as houseplants during the winter.

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