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The Plant Guide

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Chinese fringetree

Chionanthus retusus

This species is grown for its billowy clusters of fragrant white blossoms, which appear in May or June. The erect clusters are more substantial than C. virginicus , and open at the same time as the leaves. Female specimens produce blue-black fruits in autumn.

Noteworthy CharacteristicsChionanthus make sublime specimens in the landscape. There is great variability in the individual form—some are wide and spreading, others form single-stemmed, small trees.

CareGrow in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun.

PropagationSow seed in a cold frame in fall; germination can take 18 months.


  • Genus : Chionanthus
  • Plant Height : 15 to 30 feet
  • Plant Width : 15 to 30 feet
  • Zones : 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
  • Bloom Time : Early Summer, Late Summer, Summer
  • Characteristics : Fragrant Flowers, Showy Fruit
  • Light : Full Sun
  • Maintenance : Low
  • Moisture : Medium Moisture
  • Growth Rate : Moderate
  • Uses : Shade
  • Plant Type : Shrubs
  • Plant Seasonal Interest : Spring Interest
  • Flower Color : White

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