Skip to Content

Is The Chinese Fringe Tree Evergreen?

Chinese fringe trees are notable for their fragrant, white flowers that bloom in the spring. These flowers are accompanied by dark green leaves. But do these leaves remain green throughout the year? We did the research and found the answer!

The Chinese fringe tree is not evergreen. It's a deciduous tree with dark, round leaves, and white flowers during the blooming season. These leaves turn yellow in the fall before they drop.

To keep the tree's signature white, fragrant flowers and lush leaves, it's essential to give them ample care and maintenance. In this post, we'll discuss the difference between deciduous and evergreen, the Chinese fringe tree's life cycle, and tips for keeping the tree happy and healthy. That said, let's dive into the topic!

Is The Chinese Fringe Tree Evergreen Or Deciduous?

White flowers of Chinese Fringe tree

As we mentioned above, the Chinese fringe tree isn't evergreen. Two things make this tree a deciduous tree.

First, the leaves are dark green in the spring when the flowers blossom. The dark green leaves contrast significantly with the white flowers, but they will all turn yellow during the fall. Second, once the leaves turn yellow, they will eventually drop. 

On the other hand, evergreen trees retain their green leaves all year. These trees only shed a few leaves during the fall.

The same goes for the American fringe tree, another type of fringe tree native to the eastern United States. The American fringe tree is one of the last trees to drop its leaves in the fall, and its leaves turn from green to a clear yellow.

Whether you have a Chinese or American fringe tree in your garden, neither one is evergreen.

Chinese and American Fringe Trees: What Are Their Differences?

Maple ash-leaved silvery and motley in the park

The main differences between the two fringe trees are their physical forms. The bark of the  American fringe tree is light gray and smooth. The Chinese variant has bark that is dark brown with furrows.

The American fringe tree, also known as the white fringe, grows 12 to 20 feet tall and wide. The tree was once useful to Native Americans. The bark was used to treat skin inflammations. The crushed bark also served as a treatment for wounds and sores.

On the other hand, the Chinese fringe tree is taller than the white fringe. It grows 15 to 25 feet tall and wide. In its native China, the leaves were used to make tea. The taste and fragrance are similar to green tea.

Alternatives To Chinese And American Fringe Trees

Blooming pink Loropetalum Chinese fringe flowers foreground of trees in spring garden

If you want an alternative to a Chinese fringe evergreen, you should grow a Chinese fringe flower. The plant is both evergreen and deciduous, depending on its location.

The fringe flower grows evergreen in warm areas and deciduous in colder areas. It has the same white flowers that can also turn red and pink. If you're located somewhere sunny, this is the plant you're looking for.

Another huge bonus is that the fringe flower doesn't shed all of its leaves, so it's a perfect privacy shrub. It's a short shrub compared to its tree counterpart. The Chinese fringe flower may be 10 to 15 feet tall and wide.

Many types of Chinese fringe flowers come in a variety of colors. Popular varieties such as Rubrum and Burgundy have reddish-purple leaves that bloom red and pink flowers, respectively.

The Snow Dance and Emerald Snow's trademark has white flowers.

Before deciding to plant this shrub, ask what type it is, or you might be surprised to see its bright colors.

How To Care For Chinese Fringe Trees

Pink Chinese fringe flower with leaves

Whether it's a Chinese or white fringe tree, both have the same needs and require the same maintenance.

Maintaining fringe trees isn't difficult. They're low-maintenance, but they still need a little care. Here's how you keep your fringe tree healthy for many years.

Fringe trees grow well in moist, well-drained soil under direct sunlight. Planting them in the sun or in partial shade wouldn't be any different. Planting them in full sun, however, will result in more flowers.

When planting fringe trees, dig a hole three times larger than the root ball to allow it to breathe. Fringe trees do not like compacted soil. Do not let the soil of your plant become extremely dry. Keep it well hydrated but don't overwater it to avoid rot.

If you want to use a fertilizer, use a general fertilizer before it grows in the spring. Fringe trees aren't at risk of diseases, infections, and pests.

Fringe trees do not need much pruning. Only prune the tree after it flowers or during winter. If the foliage grows thick and the air circulation around it isn't ideal, you should prune the tree.

Check out these pruning shears on Amazon.

How To Take Care Of Chinese Fringe Flowers

The Chinese fringe flower is a beautiful alternative to both fringe tree counterparts. If you want to give this evergreen shrub a try, here are some helpful tips for growing and taking care of it.

The Chinese fringe flower prefers well-drained, acidic soil. It requires soil rich in organic matter and compost. The flowers will thrive in soil with a pH level between 4.5 and 6.5

Like its tree counterpart, the fringe flower is drought tolerant. But it's best not to leave the soil too dry; make a habit of regularly checking the soil for dryness. Keep the soil moist for better growth.

Fringe flowers also love sunny areas with the right balance of partial shade. Fringe flowers aren't prone to disease and pest growth, they also don't require a lot of nutrients to grow, so it's not necessary to introduce them to fertilizers.

How Fast Do Fringe Trees Grow?

A Chinese fringe tree flower, Is The Chinese Fringe Tree Evergreen?

Fringe trees grow at a very slow pace. When grown in the right conditions, with moist soil and sunshine, they usually grow 6 to 10 inches per year. 

Fringe flowers grow faster. Surprisingly, they grow 1 to 2 feet tall every year.

Do Fringe Trees Bare Fruit?

Yes, female fringe trees bear fruit if there are male trees nearby. Male trees do not bear fruit, and you won't be able to identify a female or a male tree when you purchase one. It's only a matter of chance. But if you only have one tree, it won't be able to bear fruit.

This fruit is dark blue, small, and olive-shaped (fun fact: fringe trees are related to olives!). When the fruit ripens in early fall, birds consume them.

But are they edible? You're probably thinking of making a pie out of the fruit. The quick answer is, yes, they are edible. But consuming them won't give you any pleasure in terms of taste. The fruit is astringent and not very tasty.

According to the FDA, the fruit is safe to consume. Read this post, "Are Fringe Tree Berries Edible?" to learn more about this topic.

How Hardy Is A Fringe Tree?

Fringe trees generally grow in USDA zones 4 to 9. But the Chinese fringe tree is hardy in USDA zones 6 to 8.

Although the trees grow very slowly, you don't need to pay attention to them as much as other flowering trees. Just give the trees what they need to thrive, and they will flower and bear fruit in season.

In Conclusion

If you have ever thought of growing a Chinese fringe tree in your yard or garden, it will be worth it! 

Even though the tree isn't evergreen, it has a lot to offer. The tree doesn't require much maintenance and will deliver fragrant, beautiful flowers in the spring!

Remember that the Chinese fringe flower is an excellent alternative if you want an evergreen version of the tree!

Made it to the end of the post? Check out these posts:

9 Flowering Trees For Zone 5

15 Low Maintenance Shrubs For Full Sun