Chinese fringe tree (Chionanthus retusus) profile

Written by Maggie

Chinese Fringe Tree (Chionanthus retusus Lindl. Et Paxt.) is a deciduous shrub or tree. Chinese Fringe Tree is tall and graceful with lush branches and leaves. In early summer, the tree is covered with white flowers, such as frost and snow, which is pleasant and pleasant.  

Chinese fringe tree picture

Chinese fringe tree info

Botanical Name Loropetalum chinense
Common Names Chinese fringe flower, loropetalum, strap flower
Plant Type Shrub
Sun Full Sun, Partial Shade
Hardiness Zones 7, 8, 9
Flower color Pink, red, white, yellow-white
Native Area China, Japan
Mature size 15' tall (depending on the variety)

Morphological characteristics of Chinese fringe tree


Chinese Fringe Tree is a deciduous shrub or tree with a height of up to 20 m. Branchlets are grayish-brown or black-gray, cylindrical, spreading, glabrous, young branches pale yellow or brown, sparsely or densely pubescent.


Chinese fringe tree leaves are leathery or heavy leather qualitative, oblong, elliptic, or rounded, sometimes ovate or obovate to ovoid lanceolate, 3-12 cm long, 2-6.5 cm wide, apex obtuse, sometimes recessed or sharp pointed, base rounded or broadly cuneate to cuneate, thin shallow cordate, margin entire or have small serrated, margin slightly revolute, childhood along veins pilose above, below is dense or hydrophobic pilose, margin with eyelash, age above, covered with soft hairs along veins, along veins densely pilose below, rare puberulous, the rest of the sparsely pilose or nearly glabrous, midrib above recess, raised below, Lateral veins of chinese fringe tree are 3-5 pairs, convex or concave on both sides, veinlets often distinctly convex on both sides; Petiole is 0.5-2 cm long, densely yellow curly pubescent.


Chinese fringe tree is a cymose panicle, 3 -- 12 cm long, terminal at branch tips, nearly glabrous; Bracts are linear, 2-10 mm long, sparsely or densely pubescent, flowers 1.2-2.5 cm long, unisexual and dioecious or bisexual; Pedicels are 0.5-2 cm long, slender, glabrous; Calyx is 1 -- 3 mm long, 4-lobed, lobes apiculate triangular or lanceolate, 0.5 -- 2.5 mm long; Corolla is white, 4-lobed, lobes linear-oblanceolate, (1-) 1.5 -- 2.5 cm long, 0.5 -- 3.5 mm wide, corolla tubes short, 1.5 -- 4 mm long; Stamens of Chinese fringe tree concealed in tubes or slightly protruding, filaments below 0.5 mm, anthers ovate, 1.5 -- 2 mm long, connective protruding; Ovary is ovate, 1.5-2 mm long, stigma globose, slightly 2-lobed.


Fruit of Chinese fringe tree is elliptic, pinkish, 1 -- 1.5 cm long, 6 -- 10 mm in diameter, bluish-black or black.

Ecological habits of Chinese fringe tree

Chinese fringe trees like light, shade, not resistant to cold, resistant to early, avoid water, slower growth rate, long life, resistance or poor, and the soil is relaxed, but to grow in the fertile, good permeability in silty loam best. Chinese fringe tree has certain salt-tolerance, in pH8.7, salt content, 0.2% of mild saline soils can be normal growth, did not see any adverse reaction.Like light, also more tolerant to shade.  Chinese fringe tree likes a warm climate, but also quite cold.

Chinese Fringe Tree prefers neutral and slightly acidic soils, tolerant of drought and barren, and not tolerant of waterlogging. Growing below 3000 meters above sea level in the sparse mixed forest or shrub, or hillside, river. It is cultivated everywhere.

How to grow and care for Chinese fringe tree


Grow chinese fringe trees in a bright, sunny location that receives partial shade throughout the day. Ideally, these shrubs are protected from intense midday rays but receive dappled morning sun. However, they can tolerate growing in sunny to part-shady conditions. 


Chinese fringe trees require well-draining, acidic soil that is rich in organic matter. A soil pH between 4.5 to 6.5 is best. To help retain moisture and suppress weeds, mulch around the root ball of a Chinese fringe tree with 2-3 inches of compost, straw, or aged wood chips. 


Once established, Chinese fringe trees are relatively drought tolerant. However, they grow best when the soil is kept consistently moist. During periods of extreme heat or abnormally long dry spells, Chinese fringe trees should be watered more frequently. 

Temperature and humidity 

Chinese fringe trees grow best in USDA zones 7 to 9, tolerating winter temperatures as low as 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-17.8 degrees Celsius). However, in regions that experience cold winters, it is recommended that Chinese fringe flowers are planted in areas that protect them from cold winter winds. 


If they are planted in the right soil, Chinese fringe trees require little to no supplemental fertilizer once they are established. If desired, established they can benefit from annual fertilizing in early spring with a slow-release, all-purpose fertilizer - or one that is specially formulated for shrubs. However, Chinese fringe flowers that are planted in soil that is nutrient-poor will require additional feeding. Amend the soil regularly with organic matter such as compost, grass and leaf clippings, and manure (composted).


Chinese fringe trees are extremely tolerant of heavy pruning, and many gardeners use them for hedging or topiaries. However, Chinese fringe trees do not require this type of pruning, and they grow into a naturally graceful shape that many appreciate. The flowers of Chinese fringe tree bloom on old wood, so when pruning Chinese fringe trees it is best to wait until after the blooming period in the summer to early fall. 

Varieties of Chinese fringe tree 

There are many different varieties of Chinese fringe tree. Popular varieties include: Loropetalum chinense ‘Rubrum’ Loropetalum chinense ‘Pizazz’ Loropetalum chinense var. Rubrum 'Burgundy’ Loropetalum chinense ‘Carolina Moonlight’ Loropetalum chinense ‘Snowdance’ Loropetalum chinense ‘Emerald Snow’

The propagation mode of Chinese fringe tree

Chinese Fringe Tree can be propagated by sowing, cutting and grafting, etc. Sowing propagation and cutting propagation are simple and easy, and a large number of seedlings can be obtained at one time, so they are the most commonly used. 

Seed propagation

In autumn, the fruits of Chinese fringe trees are blue and purple. At this time, the mother plants with strong growth, good tree shape and no diseases and pests should be selected for seed collection. Select the full, the same size of the seeds soaked in water for 2 days, remove the dry in a cool and ventilated place. After 3 days, wet sand was used for storage, with a sand-seed ratio of 3:1, and a sack was covered for moisture preservation. Seed storage period, every half a month for sprinkling over a mix.It is better to spray water with sand wet, too much water easily leads to seed decay.

Cutting propagation

Cutting propagation of Chinese fringe tree is generally carried out in summer. Semi-lignified branches of that year are selected and cut into 300px-375px cuttings. The upper cuttings are flat and the lower cuttings are horseshoe-shaped. Matrix choose silty loam, nitrobenzene chloride with five disinfected before use, make a flood irrigation after disinfection, to the substrate is much quantity, can be cutting, cutting cuttings before touching ABT rooting agent, plant spacing is 250 px by 500 px, cutting every 7 days after pouring a permeable, morning and evening on a spray, 9 to 18 PM to shade, before winter in soil with a horses and cattle dung, water drenched the freezing water, set-up tunnel with plastic film, to facilitate its safety overwintering. The second year to strengthen the management of water and fertilizer, the third spring can be transplanted.

Disease & pest control of Chinese fringe tree

Pest control

Chinese Fringe-tree seedlings are the biggest pests and diseases. After seedlings are raised, when the seedlings grow out, it will be in May, the roots will be bitten off. The common prevention and control methods are to fill the roots with phoxem solution, add 2 jin of water per acre, or spray trichon 1000× liquid leaves to control the adult insects. In the early stage of larval development, 20% insecticide suspension agent 7000 times solution or 25% hyperosmotic phenoxycarb WP 300 times solution can be sprayed to kill the moth, and the adults can be killed by light trap.

Disease control

A common disease of Chinese Fringe Tree is brown spot, which is caused by semi-known fungi and is extremely prone to occur during high temperature and humidity.Multiple small brown spots at the blade, with the development of the illness, disease spot can gradually expand together, eventually the whole leaf dry and fall off.If brown spot occurs, in addition to strengthening water and fertilizer management attention to ventilation and light, 75% chlorothalonil wettable powder 800 times liquid or 50% carbendazim wettable powder 500 times liquid control, once every ten days, can effectively control the disease.

Distribution area of Chinese fringe tree

Chinese Fringe tree is grown in Gansu, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Hebei, Henan to Yunnan, Sichuan, Guangdong, Fujian and Taiwan.

Chinese Fringe Tree is also distributed in North Korea and Japan.

Chinese fringe tree uses

Landscape use of Chinese fringe tree

Chinese Fringe Tree has strong adaptability and long life span. The adult trees are tall and graceful with luxuriant branches and leaves. The flowering period is like snow trees, and the flowers are fine, beautiful and lovely, and the smell is fragrant. It can also be planted in several clusters in the lawn; Chinese fringe tree is also suitable for roadside, forest edge, riverside, around the building scattered planting. Chinese Fringe Tree grows slowly and is pleasant in size. Cultivated into single-stem seedlings, it can also be used as a street tree for small roads.Suitable for setting off the evergreen tree background, the effect is better.Bonsai lovers can also carry out bonsai and make bonsai.

Economic value

Chinese Fringe Tree flowers and tender leaves can be dried as a substitute for tea, which tastes fragrant. Fruits can be squeezed aromatic oil; Wood can be made into utensils. Young leaves can be substituted for tea as a drink. The fruit is rich in oil and can be pressed for industrial use. Wood is strong and meticulous, and can be used to make appliances.