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How to Grow Chinese Pistache Plants

The Pistacia chinensis, is commonly called the Chinese Pistache or Chinese pistachio in English. It is a small tree that is native to the western and central parts of China.

Belonging to the cashew family it is quite sturdy in nature. It can stand tall even through the worst of conditions and soils. Its durable wood helps keep both insects and diseases away.

Chinese Pistache Growing guide
Pistacia chinensis plant by K-State Research and Extension; photograph under creative commons license.

Tips on How to Grow Pistacia chinensis

When planting your Pistache tree find a sunny location and well-drained soil. Planting in the spring or fall is recommended. You want to be sure you are a good 15 feet from any buildings or other obstacles so that any stretching branches can easily open without obstruction. Chinese Pistache trees have very long roots, so you want to be sure they can comfortably stretch out. You should prepare a hole three to five times as wide as the base of your root ball, and spread the roots around the hole when you place it in the ground.

Chinese Pistache Tree Care

Be sure to water thoroughly and spread some mulch around the base of the tree. Be careful not to place mulch against trunk, as this will help keep unwanted pests away. Now that your Chinese pistache tree is planted you want to be sure to water at least two times a week for the following four weeks. Then just keep an on-going soil check to ensure it does not dry completely out. Also make sure your soil never gets too soggy.

Once your tree is firmly set you may still want to stake it during growing. Place small wooden stakes on either side of the tree and use very soft ties made of cloth, or even stockings, to tie around the tree and keep it stable. Allowing it to move around a little will help aid in the growing process, but you want to tie it tight enough to keep it from toppling over.

Chinese pistache growth rate is normally about two to three feet per year. The tree will give you spectacular colors in the autumn and provides wonderful shade in the hot summer months. The female tree will bloom in the springtime, producing red berries that the birds just love!

Quick Growing and Care Guide

  • Scientific name: Pistacia chinensis
  • Common Name (s): Chinese Pistachio, Chinese Pistache
  • Growing Zone (USA / UK Hardiness): 6 to 9 / H3

Plant Details

  • Life Cycle/Type: Deciduous tree
  • Plant Height: 30 to 60 feet (9 to 18 m)
  • Plant Spread: 20 to 25 feet (6 to 7.5 m)
  • Blooms: Early Spring
  • Flower Details: Green panicles
  • Leaf Foliage Details: Aromatic. Pinnate, with lance-like leaflets. Dark green. 10 inches (25 cm) in length. Leaves turn to red, orange, or yellow in the autumn.
  • Fruit: Showy. Spericle. Red turning to blue as they ripen. Fruits are not edible: Pistachio nuts come from the closely related species Pistacia vera; Fruits attract birds.

Growing Conditions

  • Best Light Conditions: Full sunlight for best results; light shade
  • Suitable Soil Types: Rich and organic provides the best results. Tolerates most soils.
  • Soil Moisture: Moist for best results; but tolerant to droughts
  • Sowing, planting, and Propagation:
    Early winter in a cold frame. First soak seeds for a few days in warm water. Transfer seedlings to pots. Bring indoors to the greenhouse for their first winter. transplant the sapling to final location in the summer. Protect from frost when young.
    Propagate; half-rip cuttings in mid-summer.
  • Care: Extensive structural Pruning when young to create shape. Occasional watering in very dry conditions.

Further Information

  • Best used for: Chinese style gardens, Street tree, Providing Shade, Growing in polluted areas, Landscape.
  • Miscellaneous : Drought tolerant, Classic Chinese garden plant. Genus named after William Piso.
  • Family: Anacardiaceae, the Cashew nut family

Gardening Resources and tips on growing Pistacia chinensis

1) Selectree

2) MBG


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Common Garden Species
Index – P

Passiflora incarnata

Petunia hybrids

Pieris japonica

Pistacia chinensis

Portulaca oleracea

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