How to Grow Chinese Toon (Toona sinensis) from Seed

Chinese Toon (Toona sinensis)

Toona Sinensis is also known as Chinese toon and Chinese mahogany. It is a fast-growing deciduous tree, growing up to 25 m tall with a trunk up to 70 cm diameter. It is a source of valuable hardwood, similar to mahogany.

Toona Sinensis Sprouts

At the seedling stage, the fresh young leaves and shoots are edible, highly nutritious. It’s a popular aromatic vegetable in China. Chinese toon shoots and leaves are excellent in stir-fries, especially with egg, and for pickling and seasoning. The flavour resembles onions with rich aromatic overtones. In China, there is a large industry growing this ‘tree vegetable’ in greenhouses and tunnels year-round. Also suitable for sprouts and micro herb production. In Chinese medicine, the fruit, bark, and leaves are used for diarrhea, dysentery, flatulence, and various other uses.

Below you can find the instructions on how to sprout the seeds.

How to Grow Toona Sinensis

Chinese toon is hardy in zones 6-9. Seeds are best sown in the spring or fall. Sow the seeds once the last frost has passed. It prefers full sun but will tolerate some shade. Chinese toon prefers rich, moist, well-draining soil with a pH of 5.5-8.0.

The optimal germination temperature for Toona Sinensis is 25 C°. Soaking the seeds for 24 hours in room temperature water will significantly help with germination.  The seeds can be started in pots or with moist paper towels.

Starting with Pots: Fill pots with sterilized potting soil. Sow the seeds no more than 1/4 inch deep. Keep the soil continuously moist, and never let it dry out.

Using Towels: You can use cloth or paper towels. Soak the towel and squeeze out the excess water; the sheets need to be damp and moist. Then spread the seeds evenly over the towel and cover over to wrap the seeds in the towel. Keep at room temperature and use a mister to keep the towels moist. Germination takes 6-14 days. When the seedlings have at least two sets of leaves, they can be transplanted outside. Continue to water them just enough to keep them in moist soil.


  1. Hello,
    I am just learning how grow Microgreens any information you can give me is very much appreciated.Since I am new to growing Microgreens.I am not sure I understand the purpose of the towels. Will the towels get wet and need to be replaced with clean dry towels? Because you also say
    towels need to be moist. Thank You

    • Hi Kathy,

      The towels should be wet; the moisture triggers the germination of the seeds. You only need to replace the towels if they look mouldy. You can use a spray bottle to keep the towels wet because if the seeds dry out, they will die.

  2. Hi Joel,

    I have a chinese mahogany plant that is several years old now and it’s getting tall. I would like to keep it small but am unsure how to cut them without hurting the new growth process. Do you have any tips or links that show how to keep them trimmed?

    Also, mine doesn’t get light pink in the spring, it’s more dark burgundy & green. Are there different varieties or does it just depend on the zone I’m in. I live in southern California.

    Thank you so much!


Leave a Reply