How to Grow Dictamnus Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Burning Bush, Gas Plant, and False Dittany

Dictamnus plants are hardy perennials. They are ideal to use in the middle of a border as they are about 90 cm (3 feet) in height.

They usually come into bloom from the end of spring to the summer. When they carry star shaped pink or white flowers.

Dictamnus albus
Dictamnus albus Photograph by Nuu..ul, CC.

Dictamnus has fragrant green leaves. Some of the common names for members of the Dictamnus genus include Gas Plant, False dittany, and Burning bush.

Gas Plant
Gas Plant by magnolia1000, CC.

Dictamnus Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Burning Bush, False Dittany, White Dittany, Fraxinella, Gas Plant.
Life Cycle: Hardy perennial.
Height: 24 to 36 inches (60 to 90 cm).
Native: Southern Europe, North Africa, Asia
Family: Rutaceae.

Growing Region: Zones 3 to 8.
Flowers: Late spring through to summer.
Flower Details: White, pink, pale purple. Striped. Star-shaped. Terminal spikes.
Foliage: Herbaceous. Green. Glossy. Ash-like. Fragrant; lemon smell.

Sow Outside: Cover seed. Autumn. Spacing 24 to 36 inches (60 to 90 cm).
Sow Inside: Germination time: one to six months. May require several rounds of refrigeration. Seeds should first be sown into flats, next wrap in a plastic bag, then stratify by refrigeration for four to six weeks.  Next bring to a temperature of 60 to 65°F (16 to 18°C). Hopefully seedlings should emerge within two months, if not then place back into the fridge for a further four to six weeks, before returning to the higher temperature. If seedlings emerge before the second round of refrigeration is over then remove the flat from the fridge. Transplant outdoors following the last frost or in autumn. Dig deep hole and add in lots of compost.

Requirements and care: Full sunlight or partial shade. Soil pH 5.5 to 7.0. Can survive in rich, dry soils. Poor soil if moist. Regular watering to keep poor soils moist. Prune following flowering in hot areas. In autumn cut back stems. Supply a winter mulch. Propagate: from seed.
Miscellaneous: The Dictamnus plant produces flammable oils that have a very volatile nature. This means that they and the surrounding air sets fire very easily, hence the common name of Burning Bush.

How to Grow Burning Bush and Gas Plant (Dictamnus)

It is best to sow Dictamnus seeds in the autumn. Locate in either a sunny or lightly shaded part of the garden. thios should have a moist and slightly acidic to neutral (pH 5.5 to 7).

The seeds should be sown (in triplicate) with a spacing of about 40 to 60 cm (16 to 24 inches) apart, and lightly covered with topsoil.

If first growing gas plants (Dictamnus) indoors, then the seeds should be imbibed by placing the seeds (within soil) in a black plastic bag. This should then be left for a fortnight at 16°C (61°F), then placed in the fridge for four to six weeks.

The germination should then proceed at a temperature of 16 to 17°C (61 to 63°F). It may be necessary to have cycles of refrigeration and warmth for germination to occur.

Seedlings of Dictamnus should then be planted out in deep holes at the end of autumn.

Caring for Dictamnus in the Garden

It will typically take about four years until Gas plant, or other Dictamnus plants, will flower. Dictamnus should be cut back at the stems every autumn.

Common Questions

How many members does the Dictamnus genus have?

The Dictamnus genus contains only one species.

Do members of Dictamnus make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Dictamnus albus can be a unique addition to a garden with its interesting foliage and seed pods.

Which Dictamnus species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

The only species in this genus, Dictamnus albus (Burning Bush), is the one grown by gardeners.

Are members of the Dictamnus plant genus fragrant?

Yes, Dictamnus albus has fragrant flowers and leaves, especially in the evening.

What is the perfect location to grow Dictamnus?

Dictamnus albus prefers a location with full sun and well-drained soil.

Is Dictamnus invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Currently, Dictamnus albus is not known to be invasive in the USA.

How do I remove Dictamnus plants from my garden?

To remove Dictamnus albus, dig up the entire plant, including roots, to prevent regrowth.


The Dictamnus genus, often referred to as Gas Plant or Burning Bush, consists of only one species: Dictamnus albus. This perennial plant is native to Eurasia and is admired for its leathery, aromatic leaves and showy spikes of star-shaped flowers.

Dictamnus grows best in full sun or light shade, in well-drained soil. It is a slow-growing plant and may take several years to flower from seed, but once established, it is long-lived and requires little care. As the common name suggests, the plant's oils can vaporize on hot days, creating a flammable gas that can ignite if met with a spark or flame, hence it should be kept away from open flames.

I hope that you found this guide on how to grow Dictamnus plants in your garden. You may also enjoy my gardening guides on how to grow Zanthoxylum fagara, Zanthoxylum clava herculis, and Zanthoxylum simulans plants.