Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: 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)

5 vendors have this plant for sale.

34 members have or want this plant for trade.


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:
Flowers are fragrant
Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

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

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There are a total of 11 photos.
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6 positives
3 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive smileclick 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.

Neutral LovesScent 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, :)

Positive islandgirl37 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 everyone to enjoy it's heavenly perfume.

One of the most difficult things about this plant is locating one that is a decent size. I finally got a fairly nice one, 30" tall and full, on Ebay but I paid plenty for it with shipping. The shipping was almost as much as the plant.

Recently when I was getting some potting soil at local nursery I happened to ask if they had ever had any. She wasn't sure, but thought she did. I figured for sure she was thinking of something else but she went and got one and then looked up her orders and lo and behold she hah several BIG ones. Bigger than my so called 'big' one from Ebay and no shipping fees and half the price. So I got 3 more.

I put my first and smallest plant from Ebay in a small decorative pot and I bring it inside when company comes of put it on my desk so I can enjoy all of it's loveliness while work. I'm trying to train this one as a Bonsai.

Positive gondwanan 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.

Neutral plemons 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

Positive Ispahan 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 unobtrusively on the surrounding air. A gardenia might wow you until you learn about its temper tantrums after trying to live with one for a while, but Aglaia odorata is one of those plants that will never fail to please. When it comes to house plants, slow, steady and congenial will win the race every time. And if it happens to have one of the prettiest and most unusually addictive scents in the floral kingdom, so much the better.

Neutral htop 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.

Positive sdfordham 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.

Positive Heavinscent 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.


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

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