Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Ramie, Chinese Silk Plant, China Grass
Boehmeria nivea

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

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

5 members have or want this plant for trade.


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
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

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

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There are a total of 9 photos.
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2 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive herbs501 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.

Neutral Oxytone 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.

Neutral frostweed 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.

Positive henryr10 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.


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

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