The billowing, wispy, white flower clusters of Chinese fringe tree bring a magnificent touch to the spring landscape. Native to eastern China, Korea and Japan, this deciduous plant grows as a shrub naturally but can be trained as a small tree if lower branches are removed. Taking a while for new spring leaves to emerge, the bright green oval foliage has slightly lighter colored undersides that can be hairy.
Plants are either male or female, with fruits forming only from female blossoms, although individual trees may have flowers of the other gender in low numbers. After pollination by bees, loose clusters of blackish blue fruits dangle from the branch ends, and are a treat for songbirds. By the start of summer, the leaves are a deeper green, and some plants may have leaves of more leather-like texture. The fall foliage is yellow, and in warmer regions, the leaves may not turn as yellow while remaining until the winter solstice. The bark is gray and exfoliating and with age the plant's bark becomes corky with furrows in gray and brown.
Grow the Chinese fringe tree in full sun to partial shade in any average soil with decent drainage, regardless of pH. This is a remarkably easy-to-grow plant and is a breathtaking plant for the garden either as a mounding shrub or picturesque, aged small tree. In coldest reaches of its hardiness zone, it will grow more slowly, likely remaining in a shrub form, and in mild winter regions, expect it to be a bit faster and larger in habit. Use it as a focal plant for a corner of a building, in the mixed border, in an open wooded area, or next to a patio where its fragrance can be enjoyed from nearby. (source: Learn2Grow.com)
Genus - Chionanthus
Species - Retusus
Common name - Chinese Fringetree
Pre-Treatment - Required
Hardiness zones - 4 - 9
Height - 15'-22' / 4.6m - 6.7m
Spread - 10'-20' / 3.0m - 6.1m
Plant type - Tree
Vegetation type - Ornamental deciduous
Exposure - Full Sun, Partial Shade
Growth rate - Medium
Soil PH - Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline
Soil type - Clay, Loam, Well drained
Water requirements - Average Water
Landscape uses - Feature Plant, Foundation, Hedges, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall, Topiary / Bonsai / Espalier
Germination rate - 79%
Bloom season - Spring
Leaf / Flower color - Green / White
|1. Soak the fringe tree seed in a bowl of water for 24 hours. This will help to soften the tough outer coat of the seed, preparatory to germination.
2. Moisten the peat moss and wring out any excess moisture. You will need enough peat to completely envelop the seed, generally twice the seed's volume.
3. Wrap the seed in the peat and place it in a plastic bag. Place the plastic bag in a warm area, at least 68 degrees F, for 60 days. This process is known as warm stratification. The seed's radicle (the part of the embryo that will eventually develop into the root) will develop during this period.
4. Check the moisture content of the peat periodically. If it begins to dry, spray it with a misting bottle so that it is moist, but not soggy.
5. Place the bagged seed in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator and allow it to sit for 60 days. This is a common seed germination technique, used to break a seed's dormancy, known as cold-moist stratification.
6. Fill a planting pot with a mixture of equal parts of perlite, sand and compost. Water the soil and allow the excess water to drain from the bottom of the pot.
7. Plant the seed 1/2 inch deep and cover it with soil. Place the pot in an area that receives light, but not direct sun.
8. Water the soil to maintain a moist environment for the seed. Using the misting bottle to mist the soil will help you to keep from overwatering it. Allow the sapling to develop. Never let the soil become soggy.
9. Choose a sunny area of the yard in which to plant your fringe tree, and wait until after your last frost to put it into the ground.
10. Dig a hole the same depth and twice the width as the pot in which the sapling has been growing. Place the sapling's roots into the hole and backfill with soil. Water the soil until the water puddles.
11. Water the fringe tree when the top two inches of soil become dry.
Info source: eHow.com