This beautiful native of China is most often grown as a houseplant, but when planted outdoors in South Texas or central or southern Florida, it grows quickly into a small, graceful tree about 25 ft. tall and 1012 ft. wide. Prized for its handsome, glossy, rich green leaves, which are divided into many 2-in. leaflets. Hardy to about 20F. Airy, layered branches and symmetrical, upright form are reminiscent of chinaberry (Melia). Mature plants bloom in summer, bearing at their branch tips clusters of powerfully fragrant, 3-in. blossoms in pure white to sulphur-yellow. The flowers open at night and drop from the branches the next day. 'Crystal Doll' is a slower-growing selection with striking yellow-and-green variegated leaves.
Indoors, place in a very bright window (but be sure to protect from hottest afternoon sun). Insufficient light results in leggy growth. Provide evenly moist, well-drained soil; do not let soil dry out, or plant will drop leaves. Fertilize every other week in spring and summer and once a month in fall and winter with a general-purpose liquid houseplant fertilizer. Spider mites and aphids are frequent pests; control them with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. Plants grown outdoors have fewer problems; they thrive in fertile, well-drained soil.