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House Plants/China Doll Plant


Someone gave me a china doll plant a few months ago.  I have it sitting in front of a patio door which I open the blinds on every morning.  It has done well until this past month.  I was out of town a couple of days, and when we returned, it looked like it was dying.  I have tried watering it, not watering it, even moved it outside, but it still looks bad.  Leaves are drying up.  What should I do to "revive" it?  Thanks.

Hi Monette,

China Doll's are lovely plants, but very unforgiving of any lapses in their care. If they are allowed to get too dry or kept moist for too long, they fall apart very quickly.

I don't know what happened with yours, but it may be related to your going away. Perhaps it got dried out or perhaps it went several days with the blinds closed.

Whatever leaves have dried up or discolored will not revive and should be removed. Any stems that have lost all or most of their leaves should be pruned back to a height several inches above the soil.

Otherwise, provide the light you have in the past and pay close attention to the watering. It is best to allow the top half-inch of soil to dry before watering enough that it reaches that same level of dryness again in about a week.

Do NOT repot it or fertilize it. You must be patient with it as it recovers slowly while getting proper light and water. There are no quick fixes.

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.

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I am the only expert in this category with professional hands-on experience and knowledge of all indoor plants. I can answer questions regarding light, water, fertilizer, repotting, pruning and humidity and temperature requirements. I can identify plant pests and provide information on safe, effective treatments. My answers are based on 35 years of professional experience and scientific research and are clear and easy to understand. I do NOT use search engines to find answers to your questions. If you read my previous posts here, you will get a good idea as to how thorough and professional my answers are.


I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

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