Chu-lan Tree (Aglaia Odorata)

Plant: Table of Contents

The Beautiful Chu-Lan Tree (Aglaia Odorata)

Chu-lan trees, scientifically known as Aglaia odorata, are renowned for their exquisite fragrant flowers and glossy foliage. Belonging to the Meliaceae family, this evergreen plant is native to Southeast Asia and is commonly found in countries like China, Taiwan, and Vietnam. The Chu-lan tree is highly valued for its cultural significance, uses in traditional medicine, and its role in landscaping and gardening. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the various aspects of caring for and cultivating Aglaia odorata, commonly known as the Chu-lan tree.

What is the Chu-Lan Tree (Aglaia Odorata)?

The Chu-lan tree, or Aglaia odorata, is a species of flowering plant in the mahogany family. It is a small to medium-sized tree that can reach heights of up to 25 feet. The plant is characterized by its dense, glossy, dark green foliage and clusters of small, aromatic flowers that emit a sweet and alluring fragrance. These fragrant flowers make the Chu-lan tree a popular choice for gardens and landscaping, as they add a delightful scent to outdoor spaces.

Key Takeaways – Chu-Lan Tree (Aglaia Odorata)

Before delving into the specifics of caring for and cultivating Chu-lan trees, let’s take a look at the key takeaways related to this remarkable plant:

  • Scientific Name: Aglaia odorata
  • Common Name: Chu-lan Tree
  • Family: Meliaceae
  • Native Habitat: Southeast Asia
  • Characteristics: Fragrant flowers, glossy foliage

Now that we have an overview of the Chu-lan tree, let’s explore its cultural significance, uses, and the essential elements required for its optimal growth.

Cultural Significance of Chu-Lan Trees

The Chu-lan tree holds significant cultural value in its native regions. The fragrant flowers of Aglaia odorata are commonly used in traditional ceremonies, religious rituals, and cultural festivals. In addition to its ornamental value, the plant’s flowers are also used for their aromatic properties and are often incorporated into perfumes, essential oils, and other aromatic products.

Uses of Chu-Lan Trees

The uses of Aglaia odorata extend beyond its ornamental and aromatic characteristics. The plant has been traditionally utilized for various purposes, including:

  • Traditional Medicine: In traditional medicine practices, parts of the Chu-lan tree, such as the bark and leaves, are used to prepare herbal remedies for a range of ailments.
  • Aromatic Products: The fragrant flowers of the Chu-lan tree are used to create perfumes, scented oils, and other aromatic products.
  • Landscaping: Due to its beautiful foliage and aromatic flowers, the Chu-lan tree is widely used in landscaping and gardening, adding both visual appeal and delightful fragrances to outdoor spaces.

With a deeper understanding of the cultural significance and uses of the Chu-lan tree, let’s now explore the key factors that are essential for its growth and care.

The Essential Elements for Growing Chu-Lan Trees

Caring for any plant, including the Chu-lan tree, requires attention to several critical factors. From water and sunlight requirements to soil composition and pest control, each aspect plays a vital role in ensuring the optimal growth and health of Aglaia odorata. Let’s explore these essential elements in detail:


Proper watering is essential for the health and vitality of Chu-lan trees. It is important to maintain a balance and avoid both over-watering and under-watering the plant. Here are some key points to consider regarding watering the Chu-lan tree:

  • Watering Needs: Chu-lan trees generally require regular watering, especially during the growing season. Ensure that the soil is consistently moist but well-drained to prevent waterlogging.
  • Drought Tolerance: While Aglaia odorata prefers moist soil, it also exhibits some level of drought tolerance once established. However, prolonged periods of dryness can adversely affect the plant’s health and flowering.


Proper sunlight is crucial for the overall growth and flowering of the Chu-lan tree. Consider the following aspects related to sunlight requirements:

  • Sun Exposure: Aglaia odorata thrives in partial to full sunlight. Ensure that the plant receives adequate sunlight to support healthy growth and abundant flowering.
  • Indoor Cultivation: When grown indoors, ensure that the Chu-lan tree is placed in a location with bright, indirect sunlight to mimic its natural outdoor environment.


Fertilization plays a vital role in providing essential nutrients for the Chu-lan tree’s growth and development. Here are some key points to consider regarding fertilizing Aglaia odorata:

  • Fertilizer Types: Use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer formulated for ornamental plants to provide the necessary nutrients for the Chu-lan tree. Ensure that the fertilizer includes micronutrients essential for healthy foliage and flowering.
  • Application Frequency: Apply fertilizer during the plant’s active growing season, typically in spring and summer. Avoid excessive fertilization, as it can lead to nutrient imbalances and potential damage to the plant.


The soil composition and quality significantly impact the growth and health of Aglaia odorata. Consider the following guidelines when selecting and preparing the soil for Chu-lan trees:

  • Well-Draining Soil: Choose well-draining, loamy soil with good aeration to prevent waterlogging and root rot. A slightly acidic to neutral pH soil is optimal for the Chu-lan tree.
  • Organic Matter: Incorporate organic matter, such as compost or peat moss, into the soil to improve its fertility and structure, providing a favorable environment for the plant’s root system.


Proper pruning is essential for shaping the Chu-lan tree, promoting flowering, and maintaining its overall health. Consider the following aspects related to pruning Aglaia odorata:

  • Pruning Frequency: Regular pruning, especially after the flowering period, helps maintain the desired shape and size of the Chu-lan tree. Remove any dead or diseased branches to encourage new growth.
  • Pruning Techniques: Use clean, sharp pruning tools to make precise cuts. Avoid excessive pruning, especially during the dormant season, as it can inhibit flowering in the following season.


The propagation of Chu-lan trees can be achieved through various methods, including cuttings and seeds. Consider the following propagation techniques for Aglaia odorata:

  • Propagation from Cuttings: Select healthy stem cuttings with at least two nodes and remove any leaves from the lower portion. Dip the cut end in a rooting hormone and plant the cutting in a well-draining growing medium. Provide adequate humidity and warmth to promote root development.
  • Propagation from Seeds: Collect mature seeds from the Chu-lan tree and sow them in a well-prepared seed-starting mix. Maintain consistent moisture and warmth to support germination.

With a focus on these essential elements, we can ensure the optimal growth and health of Chu-lan trees in our gardens and landscapes. However, like all plants, Aglaia odorata is susceptible to certain diseases and pests, which require attention and appropriate measures for control and prevention.

Common Diseases and Disease Diagnosis

While Chu-lan trees are relatively resistant to diseases, they can still be affected by certain fungal infections and other common plant ailments. Here are some key diseases that may affect Aglaia odorata:

  • Anthracnose: This fungal disease can cause dark, sunken lesions on the leaves and stems of the Chu-lan tree, leading to defoliation and reduced plant vigor.
  • Powdery Mildew: Powdery mildew can manifest as a white, powdery coating on the foliage of Aglaia odorata, affecting its overall appearance and potentially inhibiting flowering.

Common Pests

Various pests may pose a threat to the health and vitality of Chu-lan trees. Identifying and addressing these pests is essential to protect the plant from potential damage. Here are some common pests that may affect Aglaia odorata:

  • Aphids: These tiny, sap-sucking insects can infest the foliage of Chu-lan trees, leading to distorted growth and the formation of honeydew.
  • Scale Insects: Scale insects can attach themselves to the stems and leaves of the plant, feeding on its sap and potentially causing weakening and yellowing of the foliage.

Addressing common diseases and pests, and implementing appropriate measures for their control, is an essential aspect of caring for Aglaia odorata and ensuring its long-term health and beauty.

Botanist’s Tips for Healthy Chu-Lan Tree Growth

In addition to the essential care elements and management of diseases and pests, here are some additional tips from botanists and horticulturists to promote the healthy growth of Chu-lan trees:

  • Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of the Chu-lan tree to conserve soil moisture, suppress weed growth, and provide insulation to the root system.
  • Proper Drainage: Ensure that the planting site and containers for Aglaia odorata provide proper drainage to prevent waterlogging and root rot.
  • Regular Monitoring: Keep a watchful eye on the health of the Chu-lan tree, regularly inspecting the foliage for signs of disease, pests, or nutrient deficiencies.

Fun Facts About Aglaia Odorata

  • The fragrance of Aglaia odorata is reminiscent of lilacs and sweet violets, creating a delightful olfactory experience in gardens and outdoor spaces.
  • Aglaia odorata is often referred to as the “Chinese Rice Flower” due to its association with traditional Chinese culture and the use of its fragrant flowers in various ceremonies and rituals.

With a deeper understanding of the cultural significance, uses, and essential care elements for the Chu-lan tree, it’s time to explore additional resources and further expand our knowledge of Aglaia odorata.

Links to External Resources

For further information and insights into the care and cultivation of Chu-lan trees, consider exploring the following external resources:

By consulting these external resources, enthusiasts and horticulturalists can gain valuable insights, practical guidelines, and further expand their knowledge of Aglaia odorata and its cultivation.

In conclusion, the Chu-lan tree (Aglaia odorata) stands as a remarkable plant, cherished for its fragrant flowers, glossy foliage, and cultural significance. By understanding its cultural uses, essential care elements, and addressing common diseases and pests, we can ensure the continued beauty and vitality of Aglaia odorata in gardens, landscapes, and horticultural settings. Whether grown for its aromatic allure, traditional medicinal uses, or ornamental value, the Chu-lan tree remains a captivating and cherished plant in the world of horticulture.

Remember to embrace the joyful fragrance and visual splendor of the Chu-lan tree, and nurture its growth with care and appreciation for its remarkable contributions to our natural and cultural landscapes.

Keywords: chu-lan tree care, benefits of Aglaia odorata, growing chu-lan tree, Aglaia odorata plant, how to propagate chu-lan tree, common problems with Aglaia odorata, best soil for chu-lan tree, Aglaia odorata pruning tips, watering needs for chu-lan tree, disease-resistant chu-lan tree varieties, Aglaia odorata flower characteristics, growing Aglaia odorata indoors, sunlight requirements for chu-lan tree, pests affecting Aglaia odorata, chu-lan tree companion plants, Aglaia odorata fragrance, winter care for chu-lan tree, Aglaia odorata medicinal uses, propagating Aglaia odorata from cuttings, chu-lan tree varieties, Aglaia odorata toxicity, ideal temperature for growing chu-lan tree, Aglaia odorata in traditional medicine, chu-lan tree landscaping ideas, Aglaia odorata flower arrangement, container gardening with chu-lan tree, Aglaia odorata essential oil, pruning techniques for chu-lan tree, Aglaia odorata seed germination, chu-lan tree edible parts, Aglaia odorata root system, growing chu-lan tree from seeds, Aglaia odorata climatic requirements, chu-lan tree for urban gardening, Aglaia odorata in perfumery, tips for healthy chu-lan tree growth, Aglaia odorata as an air purifier, chu-lan tree foliar fertilizer, Aglaia odorata in herbal remedies, companion planting with chu-lan tree, Aglaia odorata for outdoor landscaping, chu-lan tree propagation techniques, Aglaia odorata for attracting pollinators, chu-lan tree autumn care, Aglaia odorata as a shade tree, chu-lan tree pests control, Aglaia odorata pruned form, chu-lan tree for small gardens, growing Aglaia odorata from cuttings, chu-lan tree water requirements

Picture of Peter Taylors

Peter Taylors

Expert botanist who loves plants. His expertise spans taxonomy, plant ecology, and ethnobotany. An advocate for plant conservation, he mentors and educates future botanists, leaving a lasting impact on the field.