Chimonanthus nitens, a native of China and Japan, is an evergreen shrub or small tree that will reach 10-15 feet in height with a 6-8 foot spread. The opposite leaves are dark green above and lighter underneath. Selective pruning and pot size easily control its overall size.
Blooming Time: In winter. The white flowers are solitary in the axils of leaves; they are distinctive and slightly fragrant.
Culture: Chimonanthus nitens need full sun to partial shade. Even though they are hardy in Oklahoma they need shading from the hot afternoon summer sun. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts peat moss to 2 parts loam to 1 part sand or perlite. The plants are kept moist and do not withstand drought very well -- especially in pots. Plants are very slow growing and should be fertilized on a weekly basis. Temperature should be drop to 50° F in winter for the formation of flower buds. After flowering, they should be trimmed back hard to help in controlling size.
Propagation: Chimonanthus nitens are propagated by cutting of new wood in spring or by layers and by seed. Seeds require a 5-8 week cold stratification, are surface sown and should germinate in 60-90 days 50-60° F.
Chimonanthus nitens was featured as Plant of the Week January 11-17, 2002.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.