The Chionanthus virginianus is a shrub, or small tree, with deciduous leaves, native to North America, which can reach 6-7 meters in height.
The trunk is erect, often slightly twisted, sometimes consisting of 2-3 close stems, well branched, to form a roundish crown; the bark is light brown, with the age of the plant it tends to flake, remaining always quite smooth.
The leaves are large, waxy, thick, dark green; in late spring it produces many white flowers, with linear petals, which hang from the plant gathered in small groups on long stems; the chionanthus flowers are very fragrant and persist for a long time on the plant; in late summer on the female plants the flowers give way to small oval fruits, similar to olives, which become black-blue when ripe.
C. retusus is native to Asia, has very showy flowers, larger than those of the North American species.
The Chionanthus virginianus prefer to be planted in half-shade, even if they can develop even in full sun or in areas with little light.
They do not fear the cold and are very resistant to weather and pollution. Thanks to their easy adaptability they do not require special care and can resist even if placed in positions different from those that represent their natural habitat.
They can also be grown in pots without special care so that they can be used even by those who do not have a large garden available; the cultivation in pots does not present particularity as this shrub has a good adaptability and a slow growth.
the young specimens need to be watered regularly; long-standing plants are generally satisfied with the rains, as they can also withstand short periods of drought. These plants have a better development if placed near the water courses, or in any case in regularly irrigated areas.
The Chionanthus virginianus prefer rich, very well drained and slightly acid soils. In spring and autumn it is advisable to bury well-ripe organic fertilizer at the foot of the plant. If they are planted in the garden they can withstand heavy soils, but they are always well drained. If you want to grow them in pots, choose a universal soil that will prove effective for the development of this particular plant. Planting in pots is possible thanks to the slowness of growth that this variety presents.
The multiplication of Chionanthus virginianus generally occurs by cuttings; it is advisable to prepare numerous, as they are difficult to root. If desired, these plants can also be propagated by seed, but they grow very slowly, and it takes a few years before obtaining a suitable specimen to be placed in the garden.
Chionanthus virginianus: Pests and diseases
Generally these plants fear the attack of the aphids, which ruin the flowers, and of the larvae minatrici, that ruin the big leaves. Sometimes it can be affected by scab and white mal. They are however rather resistant and adaptable shrubs, so much so that it is difficult to be hit by pests and diseases that can lead them to dry up.