fbpx Chinese leptodermis | The Morton Arboretum

Chinese leptodermis

Chinese leptodermis in flower.

Chinese leptodermis is a tidy, dwarf, 1- to 2-foot-high, mounding shrub used at the front of the border or in a  rock garden. The showy clusters of violet tubular flowers are fragrant and bloom late spring and intermittent into fall. May be difficult to find in nurseries.

Botanical name:

Leptodermis oblonga

All common names:

Chinese leptodermis, leptodermis

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Shrub

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Landscape Uses:

  • Container,
  • Massing,
  • Mixed border,
  • Patio/sidewalk

Size Range:

  • Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet),
  • Medium plant (12-24 inches)

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7

Soil Preference:

  • Alkaline soil,
  • Moist, well-drained soil


  • Occasional drought,
  • Alkaline soil

Seasons of Interest:

  • late spring,
  • early summer,
  • midsummer,
  • late summer

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Fragrant,
  • Purple

Shape or Form:

  • Mounded

Growth Rate:

  • Slow

More Information:

Size & Form

A low mounded shrub reaching 1 to 2 feet high.

Tree & Plant Care

Best in full sun to part shade in well drained soil, pH soil adaptable.
Water in dry periods
Slow to break dormancy in the spring so wait for new growth before removing dead stems

Disease, pests, and problems

No serious insect and diseases.

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Deer resistant

Native geographic location and habitat

Northern China

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife

Flowrs attract butterflies and bees

Bark color and texture 

Thin, tannish brown

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Alternate, glassy, ovate to oblong 3/4 inch long, medium green, yellow fall color

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Fragrant, violet tubular flowers and tips of branches. Grows on new wood.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Insignificant dry seed capsule


Location of Leptodermis oblonga (Chinese leptodermis) at the Arboretum