Michelia, Michelia, every where

Aamar(UK Manchester)February 14, 2005

Hello all,

IÂve been browsing the fragrant plants forum for a long time and have yearned for a Michelia. It came as a surprise to me that Michelia are available in the UK, and whatÂs more amazing there a whole load of different varieties, so the problem is which do I choose. The ideal plant should be foremost decorative and be able to grow in a pot the selection available is:

alba, exquisitely fragrant white star-shaped flowers APR, £22.50

cavaleriei, a species from Sichvan and Yunnas in China with smallish yellow flowers and greyish-yellow stamens MAR-APR, £20.00

'doltsopa' one of the most stunning and scented trees. MAR-MAY, £17.50

'Silver Cloud', vigorous habit with heavily felted brown undersides to the leaves and plentiful creamy-white scented flowers APR-MAY, £47.50

'figo', small dark glossy green leaves and brownish-purple flowers which smell of pear drops MAY-JUN, £15.00

x foggii 'All Spice'', a hybrid between M. doltsopa and M. figo. Strong spicy white flowers tinged purplish pink at the edge MAY-JUN, £47.50

'foveolata', fragrant pale yellow-green flowers MAR-MAY, £20.00

fulgens' large, showy, fragrant white cup-shaped flowers in early spring MAR-APR

£20.00

'macclurei', large evergreen tree with leathery leaves and fragrant creamy white flowers FEB-MAR, £20.00

martinii', long dark green leathery leaves and smallish yellow scented flowers followed by long panicles of seed pods FEB-MAR, £20.00

'maudiae', flowers are used in traditional Chinese medicine. Pure white 9 petalled flowers followed by pendulous follicles of red seeds APR-MAY, £22.50

'platypetala' thick, leathery leaves and fragrant white flowers APR , £20.00

yunnanensis', strongly fragrant rare species with white flowers from velvety buds. Small young leaves are brown with hairy undersides MAR-APR, £20.00

So am I lucky or what! So which one it is to be, I would really appreciate your advice and opinions.

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risingpower1(Essex, UK)

That looks surprisingly like the list from burncoose nurseries. The alba I'm after, but i've got a figo and maudiae. Alba is probably one of the nicest, their maudiae is seriously overpriced. I can also recommend you look at www.plantsman.com. The figo is in bud so i'm expecting some flowers soon, the maudiae one bud had sort of opened but not flowered yet. The alba is by far the rarest of that lot, figo you can find fairly easily, as with the maudiae. All michelias will happily grow in a pot. However, I wouldn't stop at michelias, I'd have an artabotrys hexapetalus (ylang ylang vine) from plantsman.com

    Bookmark   February 14, 2005 at 3:28PM
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happ(SoCA 11(USDA))

Can't go wrong with michelia. I especially like the alba due to its incredible fragrance. The champaca is also wonderful. Both grow fast if put in the ground and do well in pots also.

Have fun.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2005 at 8:38PM
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davegtiuk(Essex, England)

Aamar and RisingPower1,
I have a Michelia Alba. If either of you know how to propogate it (perhaps air layering), let me know. If I'm successful, perhaps I could swap you a rooted cutting of Alba for another one you have or something else fragrant?

    Bookmark   February 15, 2005 at 5:47AM
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jimshy

Consensus around here is the alba is the best for fragrance -- m. maudiae and yunnanensis are the best of the semi-tender varieties, probably hardy in England, and also get high marks for fragrance. doltsopa, figo and hybrids are definitely hardy. Why settle for just one!?

Jim

    Bookmark   February 15, 2005 at 9:41AM
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risingpower1(Essex, UK)

I think one of the ways to propagate the alba is to graft it onto another tree. Are there any plants you're after in particular?

    Bookmark   February 15, 2005 at 1:47PM
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Clare_CA

I have the Michelia x alba and highly recommend it. I also have several forms of M. figo and love those flowers too. I also have Michelia chapensis, but it has not flowered for me yet. I also have M. champaca, and I'm still getting used to that fragrance.

I would do some research on the Michelias you mean to purchase because some get quite large and will not be happy in a container for very long. I think the M. doltsopa, for example, can reach huge proportions.

I am currently trying to root a branch of my M. x alba by layering. It is my understanding that these are usually rooted by grafting or by air-layering. I have a feeling that propagation is not easily accomplished either way.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2005 at 6:37PM
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happ(SoCA 11(USDA))

Clare

My champaca is almost as tall as the nearby street light and only 6 years old. I can't believe how well it holds up in high winds. Plus it is in full sun in inland LA with rather hot summers and, if well-watered, is fine. I like the fragrance of champaca but alba is even better.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2005 at 11:14PM
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Clare_CA

Happ, yes, mine needs a lot of water too, especially in the summer, to keep those leaves looking good. I agree the M. x alba flowers are sweeter.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2005 at 4:58PM
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kasiec

Happ - thank you for sharing this info. I'm going to put the M. Champaka into the ground. I spend my weekends in the "Inland Empire" aka Riverside County. It gets hot in the summer and where I am, it gets pretty high wind around noon. My husband installed drip irrigation all over the property so watering will not be a problem.

Kasie

    Bookmark   February 28, 2005 at 12:26AM
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garden_nerd(UK Central)

I've been lusting after a Michelia as well! I'm sure I saw one at Mulu nurseries in Somerset last April for about £10. Goodness knows why I didn't buy it - I think it was rather small and I was short of cash at the time.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2005 at 5:04AM
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happ(SoCA 11(USDA))

Kasie

A good choice for the 'Inland Empire' but may need some protection from all-day summer sun. Lots of watering especially during hot santa ana events. Experienced 40mph wind gusts with no injury to the tree.

happ

    Bookmark   March 1, 2005 at 5:26PM
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kasiec

Garden Nerd - you are talking about the M. alba, correct? If so, go for it. The scent is so wonderful. More so than the M. Champaka (yellowish/orange blossoms).

Happ - I have absoultely no shade at the house. In fact a huge cottonwood tree was removed due to the close proximity to the septic tank. I am hoping that I can grow the M. Champaka to be the "shade tree" for some future planting.

Kasie

    Bookmark   March 1, 2005 at 8:04PM
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happ(SoCA 11(USDA))

Kasie

Good luck with the champaca but my experience with this tree is that it can tolerate quite a bit a heat/sun even though I understand that it prefers more shade. I did notice that early heat waves last spring burned some leaves but even long periods of high heat during summer didn't hurt the tree so long as I watered regularly. Now the champaca provides shade for tender plants. If you want lots of shade I'd plant several michelia. Can you image the fragrance of several alba or champaca trees? There are several nearby nurseries that sell michelia; the sweet odor of the flowers is wonderful.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2005 at 10:47PM
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garden_nerd(UK Central)

For British readers, I got the nursery wrong. It was KobaKoba in Somerset, though it's not on their list this year. Mulu is in Warks. near Evesham.

Kasie, I can't remember what type it was , but I'd be glad to get my hands on any Michelia at all!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2005 at 2:35PM
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risingpower1(Essex, UK)

Burncoose have plenty, the maudiae is very easy to find, and the figo is rarer than the maudiae but still more than one place has it. I'd be ordering a michelia alba from burncoose.co.uk IF i had space for it.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2005 at 2:48PM
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Ron_B

According to the Magnolia Society it's properly Magnolia, Magnolia. See their web site.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2005 at 6:35PM
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Clare_CA

Well, the Magnolia Society can change their nomenclature, but I think they are eventually going to realize that most people will continue to refer to Michelias as Michelias. I don't think they are going to be able to change the name successfully, especially since the rest of the world refers to them and recognizes them as Michelias.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2005 at 4:09PM
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Ron_B

The rest of the World includes nursery catalogs and botanical institutions that adopted the name changes some time ago. Did you read the discussion? Michelia and Manglietia have the DNA of magnolias. Not much room for argument there.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2005 at 5:48PM
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risingpower1(Essex, UK)

Magnolias don't have buds on the leaf axils though, michelias do. That still leaves some area for discussion.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2005 at 7:44PM
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Ron_B

Actually, they are borne on short branchlike stems, not down in the axils on flower stalks.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2005 at 1:40PM
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risingpower1(Essex, UK)

Michelias also prefer different growing conditions to magnolias, reclassifying them again as magnolias wouldn't be justified, even though they have the same dna. It's like saying you should rename encyclias back to anacheilium or prosthechea. The splitting of plants into different groups by different characteristics they have is necessary.

It seems the magnolia society change names for michelias and magnolias every 10 seconds, so who will accept those names as fact, when every book states there are a michelia and magnoliacae group?

    Bookmark   March 4, 2005 at 2:14PM
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Ron_B

Huh?

    Bookmark   March 4, 2005 at 4:31PM
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Clare_CA

I agree with you, RisingPower. I think the Magnolia Society is losing credibility quickly with this miscalculation. When one does an Internet search on Michelia alba or Michelia champaca, he gets back quite a few web sites. This shows that the Michelia classification has been accepted and adopted. This is not true of Magnolia alba and Magnolia champaca, nor do I think it will happen in the future. You are right about the splitting of plants. It would be like putting brugmansias back into the Datura classification when it was separated from that group long ago based on completely different characteristics. Cistus Nursery has a huge selection of Michelias, and I doubt very much that they are going to change their list now. I doubt growers in Thailand will either. There will be some that will surely view the Magnolia Society as the ultimate authority, but I think there will be many who don't.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2005 at 4:47PM
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risingpower1(Essex, UK)

I was talking about flower buds not leaf buds. Magnolias have them on the ends of branches, not axils, michelias have them on the axils. But yes, the leaf buds do come out on separate branches with michelias.

I have never seen flower buds come out anywhere but on the leaf axils with a michelia, got some buds on my figo right now on the leaf axils.

One species I remember which was part of this confusion was magnolia coco/michelia coco, still not sure which group it fits into.

Either way all of this is splitting hairs, both the magnoliacae family and the michelia genus have some fantastic plants in their groups.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2005 at 7:16PM
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risingpower1(Essex, UK)

My bad, just noticed one bud coming off a very small stem opposite a leaf axil. I take that comment back about the leaf axils. Magnolias have them at the end of the branch everytime I've seen them in comparison.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2005 at 7:24PM
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Clare_CA

But the point is they do have different flowering characteristics among other differences, and I think it is just wrong to lump Michelias back in with Magnolias. There is a long explanation on their web site which attempts to justify this action, but I don't think they are going to get much cooperation from growers.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2005 at 1:06AM
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shadowlover(7B)

Sorry to change the subject for a minute, but are there any other Michelias besides Figo and Skinneria I can grow in 7B (reclassified now as 8) ?

Thanks! Can't help it, I'm in love.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2005 at 11:51PM
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jimshy

M. maudiae and yunnanensis (You decide what it stands for ;>) should be hardy in zone 8, but they'll definitely need winter protection for a few years -- wrapping in burlap will protect the big leaves from winter wind and sun, and a good mulch will help with the roots. I'm afraid I've lost all my buds on my yunnanensis for this spring, but I've heard the flowers are very fragrant and plentiful.

Jim

    Bookmark   March 8, 2005 at 8:47AM
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longriver(SF Bay Area)

It is also every in Botanical Garden in Kunming, Yunnan. I just came back from one month visit in China. I have seen numerous kinds of Michelia there. Most them are big tall old trees. They all have fragrant flowers as I know. They grow So many Magnolias and Michelias plants which are beyond me. I am not a botanist. If I understand correctly that Michelias group belongs to part of Magnolias family.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2005 at 2:55AM
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alba-mickey(San Francisco)

Yes, you are talking the Michelia Alba tree. I have a Michelia Alba tree for about 19 year and it is as tall as 25 feet. Each year it has about 2000 flowers and they are very fragant. I grow it in the backyark of my homein San Francisco,Ca. United States of America. Good luck. Want to see the pictures of the Michelia Alba, email to me.

alba-mickey

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 7:46PM
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tropical_philippines

alba-mickey,

Do post photos of your 19-year old, 25 ft. michelia alba tree here. I'm sure many are interested in seeing your fully grown michelia alba plant in all its fragrant splendor and beauty.

tropical

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 12:23AM
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alba-mickey(San Francisco)

Tropical: Please go into Gardenweb on the Photo Gallery on the topical paradise the third images is the Michelia Alba. Enjoy.

Aalba-mickey

    Bookmark   August 8, 2008 at 4:41AM
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tropical_philippines

Just sharing with you a 'Michelia alba' photo sent by alba-mickey. The tree is about 25ft tall and is already 19 years old. The plant is in alba-mickey's San Francisco, California backyard.

I wonder how this michelia alba survived the occasional frosts in a zone 9/10 climate...

tropical

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 10:35PM
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alba-mickey(San Francisco)

It is a blessing that I have the Michelia Alba tree for more 19 years and grow to more 25 feet tall. In San Francisco a lot of people had the tree and planted them into the ground, but most of them died right-a-way. May be they planed on the wrong time. To me the best month to put the tree into ground is around March or April after all the frost sessions. Hope you enjoy the three.
Alba-Mickey

    Bookmark   August 19, 2008 at 4:39AM
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alba-mickey(San Francisco)

Hi, by the way, does any one know what is the name of the flowers in the forfront of the Michelia Abla? I got the plant from Hawaii. It bears flowers every year. They are still in the pot. Can I plant them into the ground and when is the best month for planting into the ground in San FRancisco? Thank you for any help. See the picture that posted by topical.
alba-mickey

    Bookmark   August 19, 2008 at 1:25PM
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marlene_9ca(9 CA)

The two plants are plumerias. They produce fragrant flowers used for leis. I found them very hard to grow, and they go dormant in the winter months. Not sure if you can place them in the ground in SF.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2008 at 7:20PM
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alba-mickey(San Francisco)

Marlene: Thank you for providing the name of the two plants in the front of the photo. I had the plumerias for about 5 or 6 years. They had flowers for about three years already. But this year they do not have that many flowers and not that good either. Isn't it time for me to transplant them to the ground? I am worry about the weather and the cold and the rain on winter time in San Francisco. Any advises? Thank you. Alba-mickey

    Bookmark   September 7, 2008 at 12:08PM
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michelia_mickey

Yes, you can grow Michelia Alba tree anywhere in the world, but you just have to know how to care it. Get a lot inf. how to grow the michelia alba tree before you purchase it. I have my michelia alba tree grow in my San Francco backyard for more thatn 26 years and it is almost 30 feet tall, and it blooms a lot of very fragrant flowers. Here is the direct link to photobucket on my michelia alba tree album, enjoy!

http://s1060.photobucket.com/albums/t459/MickeytheKwok/

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 2:25PM
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olympia_gardener(5)

OMG, I have never known ther eare so many Michelia out there. mind spinning.

That is a huge tree! I bet the air smells heavenly when it is in blooming. I wish I could live in zone 10 .

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 1:49PM
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michelia_mickey

The above picture is my michelia alba tree when it was transplanted into my backyard about 25 or 39 years ago in San Francisco. It was so small, but now it is such a huge tree. Here is a direct link to my photobuck on my michelia alba. Enjoy!!! If you need to open with the passwords, here it is feelfree

http://s1060.photobucket.com/albums/t459/MickeytheKwok

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 7:27PM
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