A Guide to Chinese Garden Plants

This is a list of plants that are well-known in China and often seen in Chinese gardens.

The above list isn’t comprehensive, but it does give you a good idea of what some of the most well-known Chinese garden plants are. Many of them grow outside of China, so you can always try growing some in your own garden if they aren’t native to your area.

A beautiful shrub that flowers in the spring

The Cherry Blossom Tree

This beautiful shrub flowers in the spring, offering a stunning display of pink flowers. The tree’s fragrant blooms usually appear between March and April. Since it’s able to grow up to 10 meters high, you can use the cherry blossom as a centerpiece tree in your garden. You could also keep it as a bonsai tree – it grows just as well when kept small.

There are several different types of cherry trees you can choose from, but all will thrive similarly in your garden. They like wet climate, full sun and loamy soil so if you live in a rainy area, these plants might be perfect for you!

A graceful tree with showy flowers that bloom in summer or fall.

Branches of this deciduous tree are graceful, with showy flowers that bloom in summer or fall. They’re white, red or yellow. It’s an ornamental tree native to China, Korea and Japan. It is cold hardy and prefers full sun.

A mythical creature that is used as a protective talisman to keep away evil spirits.

The dragon is a mythical creature used in Chinese culture as a protective talisman to keep away evil spirits. It is considered a symbol of power and strength, and is therefore the imperial symbol of the ruling Emperor of China. The dragons depicted in Chinese culture are very different from those found in Western cultures. In Western cultures, dragons tend to be terrifying serpent-like creatures that breath fire and destroy cities. In Chinese culture, however, dragons are wise and benevolent beings that control the elements such as water, wind and rain.

A hardwood tree that produces fragrant springtime blooms

One of the most beloved and well-known garden plants in China, Osmanthus fragrans is a small hardwood tree that bears fragrant flowers in spring. Native to Asia (China included), this plant grows best in temperate to tropical climates and can be found as far north as USDA hardiness zone 7. For those of you unfamiliar with hardiness zones, generally speaking, any area of the country above the Mason-Dixon line will not yield a blooming Osmanthus fragrans.

Typical growth for this plant is between 20 and 30 feet high with a dense canopy at maturity. Flowers may be white or yellow and bloom from late April until mid May.

The peony is an herbaceous perennial plant.

The peony is an herbaceous perennial plant that’s native to Asia, Southern Europe, and Western North America. They have large, often fragrant flowers that bloom in the spring. The peony is known as the flower of riches and honor. It’s also seen as a symbol of beauty and love. Peonies are common in Chinese gardens.

With its bright, red berries and early spring flowers, this plant is often used for bonsai gardening.

The Ruyi tree is one of the most popular plants used in Chinese gardens. It is a small tree with bright red berries and early spring flowers, and has a very distinctive shape. The fragrance of its flowers is also often enjoyed by gardeners, making it an ideal choice for any garden.

Ruyi trees are found all over China, but they can be grown anywhere there is soil and sunlight. The tree can grow up to 10 feet tall, but most people prefer to keep their trees smaller because they look better when planted near other plants.

With its bright red berries and early spring flowers, this plant is often used for bonsai gardening as well. However, if you don’t want to use it as a bonsai tree then that’s OK too because the berries themselves have been used in Chinese medicine for centuries to treat everything from fevers to colds and flu symptoms.

The chrysanthemum was first cultivated in China as a flowering herb as far back as the 15th century BC.

You may have never heard of the chrysanthemum, but it is one of the most widely cultivated flowers in the world. This plant has been associated with Chinese culture for millennia, and you can view examples of its application at any Chinese garden.

The chrysanthemum was first cultivated in China as a flowering herb as far back as the 15th century BC. The Chinese name for these flowers is “ju” (菊), which translates to “the many” or “the numerous.”

Sacred to both the Buddhists and Taoists, this plant is often included in arrangements meant to promote good luck and fortune.

The sacred lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) is not native to China, but it was introduced from Japan and became popular during the Tang Dynasty in ancient China. The plant is associated with the sun and summer. Sacred lotuses are often used in Taoist and Buddhist temples as offerings to deities and ancestors. It symbolizes purity, purity of heart, mind and spirit, constancy of purpose, perseverance through adversity, self-development, spiritual growth and enlightenment. The lotus is also a symbol of long life: its white flowers represent birth; its green leaves represent life; its red fruits represent death; when you put them together you get life after death.

With its bright yellow leaves, this plant symbolizes joy and happiness, and is said to chase away bad luck and spirits.

Forsythia is a plant that brings happiness and joy. It’s bright yellow leaves symbolize happiness and it is said to chase away bad luck and spirits. Forsythia is often used in Chinese gardens to attract joy, so you should consider planting one in your garden if you are looking for more joy in your life.

These plants can be grown in Chinese style gardens as long you have the right climate for them

Chinese gardens are known for their use of many different plants, flowers, and trees. These may be used for decoration, ornamentation, or for the food, medicine, or religious ceremonies that can be derived from them. While some of the plants in Chinese gardens are indigenous to China only and cannot flourish anywhere else in the world (such as most of the bamboo species), there are plenty of others which can grow outside China if given proper care and attention. Many Chinese garden owners would like to have authentic Chinese plants growing in their gardens but are unable to do so due to climate restrictions; while this is frustrating and often disappointing, it is not an insurmountable obstacle!

  • If you live in a region with a temperate climate that has sufficient rainfall or irrigation to provide adequate water for your garden (but not too much) and a fairly mild winter season (that isn’t too cold or too dry), you can create an authentic-looking Chinese style garden using many different types of native plant species that exist outside China itself: tree peonies (Paeonia suffruticosa) are one example — they’re often grown from cuttings taken off larger trees at nurseries because these types tend more readily produce flowers than those started by seedlings; however both methods work well depending on conditions where you live so experiment with both before deciding which works best for your area’s weather patterns.

What are the most popular plants used in Chinese gardens?

The answer to this question is, honestly, a bit complicated. As we all know, China is a country with an incredible diversity of climate and terrain. This means that the best way to answer the question is by looking at where you are—or more importantly, where your garden will be.

To help you identify which plants will work best for you, let’s start by taking a look at some of the most common regions and their respective climates:

Northern China: The northeastern part of China experiences cold winters and warm summers with low humidity. Southern China: A subtropical climate exists throughout much of southern China and this area experiences mild winters and hot, wet summers. Central/Western China: The central and western areas of China tend to be dry and experience significant differences in temperature between winter and summer. Eastern China: The east experiences humid summers and cold winters with moderate rainfall year-round. Based on these climates, here are some of our favorite plants that can help you get started on your garden journey: Northern China: Winter Jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) – It’s not uncommon to see winter jasmine used as ground cover in gardens throughout northern China. This hard

In Chinese gardens, plants are often used in specific ways. Each plant serves a dual purpose, with its visual beauty serving as a symbol for a deeper, more abstract idea. Here are some of the most common plants to find in Chinese gardens and their symbolic meanings:


Beauty: Bamboo is tall and sturdy, yet soft and flexible. It’s one of the most resilient plants out there, and it’s also beautiful.

Symbolism: Tenacity, resilience, adaptability. Bamboo stands for strength and endurance in the face of any obstacle.


Beauty: With its long cascading purple blooms, wisteria can be an absolutely breathtaking plant to behold when it’s in full bloom. It’s easy to see why it would be so popular among gardeners!

Symbolism: Welcome and reunion. Wisteria is planted on either side of the front door as a way of welcoming guests into your home or garden. It also symbolizes reunions between family members or friends who have been separated for awhile.


Beauty: The azalea’s bright red flowers are known for signaling the end of winter and the beginning of spring. They’re bright, beautiful

Chinese gardens are known for their beauty and elegance. They typically feature stone sculptures, rare plants, and lots of moving water. The plants are often used to help bring balance and harmony to the garden, and to symbolize life lessons or growth.

Here’s a guide to some of the most common plants you’ll find in a Chinese garden:

Chrysanthemums (菊花) are used in Chinese gardens because they represent autumn, symbolizing youthfulness. Chrysanthemums are also believed to ward off evil spirits. In many traditions, they’re used as offerings during festivals where people pray for their ancestors.

Peonies (牡丹) have long been seen as a symbol of prosperity and wealth in China. Peonies are also often used in wedding ceremonies because they are thought to be good luck for newlyweds.

Bamboos (竹子) are believed to bring good fortune because they grow quickly and easily—as fast as your money will! Bamboo is also an important part of Chinese culture because it’s used in papermaking, construction materials, food dishes like noodles, and even instruments like flutes or guitars. In gardens, bamboo is typically planted alongside rocks or other plants that grow well with little water

Chinese gardens are a traditional place of refuge, relaxation, and reflection. They are often densely planted with a variety of beautiful plants, including many that are native to China. These plants serve multiple functions in the gardens: they provide shading, they are easy to shape into fun decorative shapes, and they showcase the natural beauty of China on a small scale. The following is a guide to some of the most common plants found in Chinese gardens today.


Bamboo is a large grass native to Asia. It can grow up to several feet per day! There are many varieties of bamboo, but one thing that they all have in common is their use as a natural fence or wall. Bamboo is also used for making furniture and other household items such as chopsticks and baskets.

Pagoda Tree (Sophora japonica)

The pagoda tree is a type of flowering tree native to China, Japan and Korea. Its flowers are small and white or yellowish-white with five petals each. The fruit is red with black seeds inside. This plant has been used since ancient times as an ornamental garden plant because it’s easy to grow and requires little care or maintenance. It’s also known by its Latin name, Sophora

Chinese gardens may seem intimidating to the uninitiated, but there are a few key plants that you can look out for to help orient yourself. The first is the bamboo plant. Bamboo is used in many Chinese gardens as part of the overall design—it’s also a symbol of longevity, strength and resilience.

Of course, bamboo wouldn’t be complete without its cousin: the bonsai tree. Though bonsai trees originated in Japan, they are popular all over the world today, and have been a staple at Chinese gardens for centuries. If you see tiny trees with carefully pruned branches and leaves, you’re likely looking at a bonsai tree or two.

The third most common plant in Chinese gardens is lotus. Lotus plants grow in water and are commonly associated with purity due to their growth cycle and their beautiful blossoms. In much of East Asian art and culture, the lotus represents enlightenment due to its roots growing in muddy water and its blooms growing above it without any trace of mud on them whatsoever.

Chinese gardens are an exquisite combination of the natural and the man-made. They feature a balance between horticulture and hardscape, plants, and rock formations. Plants have been a part of these gardens for thousands of years, playing vital roles in their history, design, and symbolism. Contemplative spaces designed to inspire reflection on nature, Chinese gardens are also places for entertaining guests, practicing martial arts, and creating art.

Their plants were often chosen to fulfill specific purposes: to create shade or coolness in a hot climate, to provide food for the family or ingredients for medicine, or to create a tranquil atmosphere. Many plants were chosen because they had symbolic meaning in Chinese culture. The peony is China’s national flower and is thought to bring prosperity. Bamboo symbolizes virtue and integrity. Chrysanthemums are associated with autumn and with youthfulness because the Chinese word for “chrysanthemum” (juhua) sounds like the word for “youth.”

Below is a list of some of the most common plants in Chinese gardens:

Peony**Paeonia suffruticosa**: China’s national flower. Represents prosperity and royalty.

Lotus**Nelumbo nucifera**: Represents

In the West, we tend to think of gardens as places for relaxation and contemplation. Not so in China! The Chinese garden is a place for fun, play, and celebration with family, friends, and neighbors. It’s also a place to show off your wealth and good taste. And it’s also a place to build community!

The standard Chinese garden contains plants that are not only beautiful, but also useful. In fact, many of the plants are edible and/or medicinal. Here are some common plants you’ll find in a Chinese garden:

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* Tree name

* Botanical name

* Description

* Uses (edible parts)

* Medicinal Properties

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