Plants Native to China

From the majestic Himalayas to the Gobi desert, China encompasses a diverse landscape that is hospitable to plant species of many different temperaments. Because China contains so many different climates, including temperate and subtropical, there are plants native to China that can be cultivated in many other locations in the world.

Chinese Wisteria

A member of the bean family, Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) is a deciduous vine that can be cultivated with a little extra effort into a small tree. The plant is known for its clusters of hanging, almost grape-like blooms, which are heavily scented and available in colors ranging from purple to lilac or creamy white. Chinese wisteria is fast growing and low maintenance and will grow in either full shade or full sun, though it will produce more blossoms in sunlight. The plant grows best in a rich, moist soil in USDA Zones 3 to 9. Chinese wisteria is invasive in some states, so be sure to check an invasive plant list before growing the plant.

Chinese Hibiscus

Chinese hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) is a tropical hibiscus shrub that produces showy flowers in a range of colors, though the plant is typically associated with red flowers. The shrub has broad, flat, green foliage and silky flowers accented by a protruding stamen. Chinese hibiscus grows best in USDA Zones 9B to 11A, in a range of different soil types. The plant will grow in well-drained, slightly alkaline, acidic or neutral soils, even tolerating heavier clays. Chinese hibiscus is moderately drought tolerant and needs only be watered when needed. Plant Chinese hibiscus in full sun or partial shade, and watch as the plant attracts butterflies and birds throughout the spring and summer.

Chinese Mahonia

Chinese mahonia (Mahonia fortunei) is an evergreen shrub native to China that sports fern-like greenish-yellow leaves. The plant is quite compact and easy to control. Chinese mahonia can also be grown as a low maintenance house plant. It does best in USDA Zones 7 to 10; in full sunlight in Zones 7 and 8 and in partial sunlight in Zones 9 and 10. A member of the barberry family, the plant produces blackish-purple berries, though this is somewhat rare in cultivation. The plant isn't terribly picky about soil and is drought tolerant enough to require only the occasional watering during the summer.

Keywords: Chinese plants, native China, plant types

About this Author

Michelle Wishhart is a writer based out of Astoria, Ore. She has been writing professionally for five years, starting with her position as a staff arts writer for an alternative weekly paper in Santa Cruz. She has a B.A. in fine arts from the University of California in Santa Cruz and a minor in English literature.