The Vernicia fordii (Tung Oil Tree ) is a tree, reaching a height between 10 and 20 feet, with a wide-spreading canopy of dark green leaves. The tree prefers full sun and requires moderate water. During spring and summer, the tree produces clusters of pink flowers, turning white and off-white as the season progresses.
While the Vernicia fordii is known for its beauty, it can also be an irritation. The sap of the tree contains an irritant substance, so caution should be taken when handling. The Vernicia fordii is also a deciduous tree, so it loses its leaves in the winter. Mature plants are cold hardy down to at least mid-20s F for a short time.
The Vernicia fordii can be grown in USDA Zones 8-11. In colder regions, the tree can be grown indoors or in a pot and can be brought indoors during the winter months. When planting in a pot, use a well draining soil mix and make sure the pot has enough drainage holes. Be sure to water regularly and fertilize every two to three months. When bringing the tree indoors for the winter, place it in a sunny location and prune in the spring to keep it in a desired shape.