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Native Plants of China

By Barbara Dunlap ; Updated September 21, 2017

China has a tremendous number of native plants--more than 30,000 species. Gardeners in the United States are able to grow many of them because the two nations share the same latitude and the same kind of climate in many areas. Chinese native plants are available in some local nurseries and through many websites.

Chinese Cobra Lily

Consider Chinese cobra lilies (Arisaema consanguineum) if you live in zone 5 to zone 10. These tall, slender plants have mottled stems, scarlet berries and elegant purple-brown spathes. They enjoy a shady location and soil that drains well. They're easy to grow, as long as you remember to keep them moist all the time.

Chinese Abelia

Try Chinese abelia (Abelia chinensis) in zones 6 through 9. Gardeners love the look and scent of the small, white flowers that grow in clusters on its many branches. It can do well in full sun or partial shade, and it likes well-draining soil. Give it plenty of space when you plant this abelia--it can grow 6 feet up and 6 feet out--and be sure to keep it moist.

Chinese Flowering Chestnut

For best results in zones 4 through 8, plant Chinese flowering chestnuts (Xanthoceras sorbifolium) at least six feet apart in a spot that gets full sun. This tall shrub or tree features white and chartreuse flowers shaped like stars that usually make their appearance in late spring. Offer them well-drained soil and regular watering, but be careful not to soak them.

Chinese Ground Orchid

Plant the easy-to-grow Chinese ground orchid (Bletilla striata) in zones 5 through 10. This orchid grows up to 2 feet tall and blooms about six weeks, usually starting in spring. It features magenta and white blossoms that complement its smooth, veined leaves. It likes well-drained soil and continuous moisture, but not overwatering.


About the Author


Barbara Dunlap is a freelance writer in Oregon. She was a garden editor at "The San Francisco Chronicle" and she currently specializes in travel and active lifestyle topics like golf and fitness. She received a master's degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia and has been a Knight Foundation Fellow.