Care of Chinese Perfume Plant

Overview

The sweet fragrance and tiny yellow blooms of the Chinese perfume plant, (Aglaia odorata), make it a popular landscape plant that will thrive either in-ground or planted in a patio container. In the landscape, the Chinese perfume plant can be pruned to act as a hedge, or it can be allowed to grow into a small tree with a maximum height of 12 to 15 feet. Because of its lemony scent, the Chinese perfume plant is sometimes called "Mock Lemon."

Step 1

Plant the Chinese perfume plant in well-drained soil. If rain puddles in the area for more than four to five hours, choose a place with better drainage. The Chinese perfume plant should be located where it can take advantage of morning sunlight and afternoon shade. Chinese perfume plants grown in containers will do better in clay pots that will provide air circulation to the roots.

Step 2

Water the Chinese perfume plant moderately, as the plant won't tolerate wet roots. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Containerized plants should be checked daily, as Chinese perfume plants grown in containers will dry out quickly.

Step 3

Fertilize the Chinese perfume plant monthly during the growing season, using a general-purpose fertilizer. Containerized Chinese perfume plants should be fertilized every other week during spring and summer, using a water-soluble houseplant fertilizer diluted to half the strength indicated on the package label.

Step 4

Trim the Chinese perfume plant as needed in early spring, before new growth appears. Prune any dead or damaged shoots, and trim the plant to the desired shape and size. Pinch the tips of the stems occasionally to encourage the Chinese perfume plant to grow in a bushy shape, and to prevent it from becoming leggy.

Step 5

Bring containerized Chinese perfume plants indoors for the winter if you live in a climate where the nighttime temperatures fall below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Place Chinese perfume plants in a sunny window.

Things You'll Need

  • Clay pot
  • General-purpose fertilizer or water-soluble houseplant fertilizer
  • Garden pruners

References

  • Desert Tropicals: Mock Lemon, Chinese Perfume Plant
  • Gardino Nursery Corp: Aglaia Odorata, Chinese Perfume Tree
  • University of Florida: Adding Daytime Fragrance to Your Miami-Dade Landscape
Keywords: Chinese perfume plant, mock lemon, lemony scent

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.