Ramie, Chinese Silk Plant, China Grass

Boehmeria nivea

Family: Urticaceae
Genus: Boehmeria (boh-MEER-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: nivea (NIV-ee-uh) (Info)




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade



Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall


Grown for foliage



Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

4.6 to 5.0 (highly acidic)

5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From seed; direct sow after last frost

By air layering

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

El Cajon, California (2 reports)

Kurtistown, Hawaii

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Shreveport, Louisiana

Raleigh, North Carolina

Blacklick, Ohio

Cincinnati, Ohio

Salem, Oregon

Hallettsville, Texas

Mansfield, Texas

Manvel, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 8, 2010, herbs501 from Hallettsville, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I really like this plant. I like the feel of the rough leaves and how care free it is.

I grow it in the shade here in South Central Texas and it makes a large, lush mound. During the drought last year, I couldn't give it enough water, and it looked quite poor, but when the rains came in the fall, it bounced right back. Then, it froze to the ground, and now I see new growth from the crown.

It will send out runners, but I haven't found it to be a pest. I just dig up the new plants when I want to give one to someone who admires the big plant.


On Jan 18, 2010, Oxytone from Marina, CA wrote:

Ah, I'm not sure where you're getting that Ramie is softer than silk, as the fiber is considered stiff and brittle. It does not hold up to repeated flexing in the same spot and is usually used in fibre blends. It's poor in handling abrasion, and in general it's only main advantage is its strength when wet, making it good for nets. It is only more expensive than silk due to the requirements of processing (de-gumming the fibre is not as easy as boiling it, as you can do with silk)

That said, the plant is beautiful in form and quite an attractive foliage plant.


On Jan 9, 2007, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Ramie, Chinese Silk Plant, China Grass Boehmeria nivea is Naturalized in Texas and other States.


On Sep 9, 2003, henryr10 from Cincinnati, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

Ramie has the longest fibers of any plant used for thread production, 7 times stronger than silk and 8 times stronger than cotton.

The fibers when raw spun resemble burlap or raw cotton in texture and is used in work clothing. When processed is softer than silk and much more durable. Also much more expensive.

The plant is also an excellent feed for about all livestock, cattle, pigs, chickens, etc. The VERY unusual leaf shape make it a standout in the garden.