The Chinese Soapberry is a deciduous tree with large, pinnate leaves and globose fruits. The fruits contain saponins which are chemicals that produce a natural lather in water. Hence, the fruits are used to make soap. They also have a number of medicinal uses and are used in traditional Asian medicine. The Chinese soapberry has mid green, pinnate leaves with elliptic leaflets. Small, white flowers that are in large clusters at the twig ends bloom in the spring. The flowers are followed by subglobose, globose orange or brownish-orange fruits that mature in the summer and autumn. The fruits contain a large, black seed. It is native to subtropical and tropical regions of Asia. Grows up to 40 feet in height. It has a fast growth rate and is tolerant of poor soils. Often cultivated around temples, in gardens and in villages. Hardy in zones 9-12.
- Scarify the seeds by nicking or sanding the seed coat.
- Soak the seed in water for 24 hours.
- The seeds like moist, well-drained soil. Prepare a mixture of half potting soil and half sand, perlite or vermiculite. Put the soil in a pot. Water the mixture so that it is moist but not wet.
- Put the seeds on the soil.
- Cover the seeds with a layer of soil about 1 inch thick.
- Water the seeds.
- Place the pots in an area with warm temperatures in full sun or part shade.
- When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.