How to Prune a China Doll Plant

The China Doll (Radermachera sinica) is a compact shrub that grows well outdoors in zones 9 and 10 on the U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zone Map. In other regions, it is a popular houseplant. China Doll has an upright growing habit with glossy green foliage. It needs bright light, whether grown indoors or out. As the China Doll matures, it has a tendency to stretch out, with wayward stems and a generally leggy habit. If you grow China Doll outdoors, prune it in spring or summer. Prune the indoor-grown China Dolls anytime.

Step 1

Prune stems that have no foliage -- or sparse foliage -- back to a main branch.

Step 2

Remove any dead stems by cutting them completely off.

Step 3

Cut the China Doll to the height you desire by clipping tall stems back to 1/2 inch above a leaf. The plant will produce new growth from this point. If you want the plant to grow thicker, cut back to an inward-pointing leaf. If you want it to grow wider, choose an outward-growing leaf. Safely cut the entire plant to 12 inches in height.

Step 4

Fill in bare spots toward the bottom of the China Doll by pruning bottom stems back to a leaf. Even the removal of 1 inch of stem will encourage the plant to produce new growth.

Step 5

Cut the amount of water you give the China Doll in half until you see new growth. Because of the decreased amount of foliage the plant requires less water.

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