Chinese Perfume Plant, Chinese Rice Flower, Mock Lemon

Aglaia odorata

Family: Meliaceae (me-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Aglaia (ah-GLAY-uh) (Info)
Species: odorata (oh-dor-AY-tuh) (Info)




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are fragrant

Water Requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)


8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)


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:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:

Blooms all year

Blooms repeatedly



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From semi-hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


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


Fullerton, California

Santa Ana, California

Cape Coral, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Lake Wales, Florida

Lake Worth, Florida

Marathon, Florida

Marathon Shores, Florida

Miami, Florida

Palm Bay, Florida

Port Charlotte, Florida

Ainaloa, Hawaii

Hawaiian Paradise Park, Hawaii

Chicago, Illinois

Lake Charles, Louisiana

Pikesville, Maryland

Linwood, North Carolina

Rockport, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Mar 16, 2015, smileclick from Sydney
Australia wrote:

I found this plant most fragrant when the soil is moist and the flowers are in full sun for at least 6 hours during the day. I have a small 12"/30cm tall potted plant in partly shaded location and can smell the clean citrus fragrance tonight about 4"/10cm away from the new flowers (temperature 22C/72F). In the sun, with moist soil it can be smelt about 8"/20cm away. So if you had a large shrub on a warm, still day in full sun with moist soil, I would suspect it would be the most fragrant.
I read that "the flowers may be used to scent tea, refined to an essential oil, or made into sticks of incense. The mock lemon is very easy to grow, as long as the soil is kept fertile. It can grow and thrive whether exposed to the sun for half days or full days, so it is commonly grown as a hedg... read more


On Oct 7, 2011, LovesScent from Aventura, FL wrote:

Hi everyone, I purchased this plant, and its growing nicely in my backyard and showing intermittent little yellow far so good except for one thing, there's no scent, nothing at all. I'm wondering if it needs some extra something to bring out the aroma? I'm new to gardening, :)


On Jul 23, 2011, islandgirl37 from Marathon, FL (Zone 11) wrote:

I adore this this plant and I don't think I could possibly give it a better tribute that Ispahan did above. The fragrance is so pure and so beautiful. It's very easy to grow down here in full sun, part sun or part shade. It blooms more with at least 6 hours of sun a day and if in full sun all day, it likes plenty of water. It will drop leaves if it dries out. I add lots of peat to the potting mix to help it stay moist. The leaves are a much paler green if you grow in full sun but you can green it up in a week by putting it in the shade for a week or so.

I grow mine in part shade, but I have one on a patio that only gets bright, Southern exposure light in the summer and it still blooms. Once a week I put it in the sun for a day, then back beside the seating arrangements for e... read more


On Apr 16, 2011, gondwanan from Lake Wales, FL wrote:

Growing for four years now against a protected south wall in 9b, Lake Wales, FL, Aglaia odorata has been an exemplary plant. Formal and refined, with no apparent pest or cultural problems, and a heavenly scent which accords with it's common name, it is very amenable to pruning and/or shearing. Like a more elegant boxwood with repeat blooming and scent to die for, why is it so rare in commerce? Tenderness would appear to be it's only demerit; It has suffered some from a hard freeze but bounced back admirably. Definitely needs some shelter or protection in 9b but worth the trouble or careful siting.


On Jul 27, 2010, plemons from Linwood, NC wrote:

im getting a perfume plant zone 7 how well will it do outdoors is it cold tolerant


On Nov 4, 2009, Ispahan from Chicago, IL (Zone 6a) wrote:

A quietly beautiful shrub with a sweet, delicate, refined and elusive yet far-reaching fragrance. This plant is very easy to grow, and yet I lost my original specimen (growing in a smallish clay pot) when it was not watered while I was away for more than a month. My bad. Otherwise, it will bloom regularly and grow healthily (albeit slowly) in the poorest light, the driest air and the coldest/warmest indoor temperatures you can throw at it. To my nose, the fragrance is not as heady or spectacular as a gardenia or a jasmine, but it is so pure, clean and lemony-floral-spicy-tea sweet that it seems to refresh and brighten the atmosphere of any room it is placed in. It is truly one of my all-time favorite smells since there are never any off notes and it floats lightly yet unobtrusive... read more


On Jan 26, 2008, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have not grown this plant. Chinese Perfume Plant, Chinese Rice Flower, Mock Lemon (Aglaia odorata) is a native plant in China. It appears to grow well in the Hawaiian Islands.


On Apr 29, 2006, sdfordham from Santa Ana, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

I have had four Aglaia's for five years. One of the best plants I have. Fertilized or unfertilized, boggy mud or hard clay, shade or sun, they always look (and smell) wonderful. No pests either. Added benefit - holds up well to dog urine.


On Jan 5, 2006, Heavinscent from South West, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

I keep it as an indoor plant so it can fill my house with its lovely scent! Its not much to look at, kind of like a boxwood shrub but oh the smell! The flowers are small and not very showy but they make up for it in scent.