China has similar climates to the U.S. and twice the number of native plants, but until commerce with the West opened in the 1980s, there were few plants from China available in America, according to a 2005 Washington Post article. While some varieties of fruit trees, hollies and viburnum have roots in Asia and are widely available in the U.S., there are many other plants that are newly available in the U.S. These plants can add a new dimension to home landscapes.
Other varieties of Clethra have long been available in the U.S., including C. alnifolia, commonly known as summersweet or sweet pepperbush, but this newest variety from China is a mountain shrub that produces white blooms in summer. C. delavayi is more commonly known as Delavay summersweet, and it has shiny dark green foliage. Plants in the Clethra genus thrive in partial shade and require ample water. Plant in moist, slightly acidic soil. It is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Plant Hardiness Zones 7 to 9.
Many varieties of Cotoneaster are commonly available in the U.S. This genus of cold-hardy shrubs requires little maintenance and tolerates poor soil and drought while producing small rose-like blooms that give way to small clusters of berries. The C. glabratus variety from China goes a step further as it produces maroon shoots and is evergreen in most climates. C. glabratus has shiny green foliage on woody stems and it may be used as hedge.
E. pinnatum is a shade-loving ground cover from China that may be used in place of or in addition to more common ground covers, such as vinca or English ivy. E. pinnatum grow to about 2 inches and thrives in moist soil. Starry white flowers bloom throughout the summer. It is hardy in zones 7 to 9.