Got my Michelia alba!

Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)May 10, 2013

30 inches tall. Top part looks awesome. The tiny amount of what's left of the trimmed roots not so much.

The seller on eBay said it was a grafted plant however it's clearly been air-layered (has the lower stem and sphagnum moss between the stem and the roots).

Anyone know if an air-layered M. alba blooms sooner than a grafted plant or does it matter?

Hopefully this summer I'll finally be able to sniff what everyone has been raving about! :)

-Robert

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fragrant2008

Many congratulations you have finally joined the club :)
Hope it brings you many days and nights of heavenly fragrance :)

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 6:34PM
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kemistry(8 - Oregon)

Looks grafted to me Robert. Check where the main trunk n the branch joined. Anyways it looks good :) even with just some roots it will be just fine.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 7:24PM
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Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)

I should have snapped a pic of the black stem shooting down between the roots.
Pretty sure you'd agree with me, Kemistry. :)

Anyway looked again and I'm still going with air-layered.

-Robert

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 7:51PM
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No-Clue(So Cal Zone 9)

Wow Robert that was fast! Your plant looks great by the way. I too hope you will experience the heavenly fragrance this summer. :)

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 1:24AM
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kemistry(8 - Oregon)

Yeah from this angle it doesn't look like a grafted plant. Strange. N'ways, grafted or not I don't think it matters as far as blooming time is concerned.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 5:15AM
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Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)

Thanks everyone! I've officially joined the club. :)

Kemistry,

Was flipping through the latest Logee's catalog and they state they sell grafted M. alba plants which according to them bloom sooner.

So that's how that little bit of info got stuck in my head! ;)

Doesn't matter at this point. She's my baby and I ain't sending her back!

-Robert

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 8:31AM
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musaboru(Inland Calif.)

Yay! Congrats on your new baby Robert. Welcome to the club. :3 And I am anticipating to hear your verdict.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 12:30PM
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fenius(9)

well done robert!! (Now you just need a champaca)

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 3:10PM
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botaniphile(9b Tampa)

Congrats Robert!

I am so jealous :). One of these days I will get one (once I repot all my other plants!). Can't wait to join the club someday!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 6:18PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

Congrats! I finally got a new router to be able to come back and say this! I love it and it is grafted which will bloom probably this summer! You will love it Robert!

Hello all:-) Mine is flowering now.

Mike

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 8:04PM
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No-Clue(So Cal Zone 9)

She's so cute Robert! Very nice looking too! Where did you buy it? I want to buy one for my mom but she's out of state. I don't thinking can ship an eight foot tree from here. Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 1:18AM
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Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)

I wish my tree would hurry up and bloom already (kidding...I'm not THAT crazy). ;)

I would love to eventually find a source for a grafted M. champaca. If it anyone knows let us know, please! :)

No-Clue,

Here's the eBay source for my tree. I'm still going with mine being air-layered and not grafted like the seller states. Just FYI.

-Robert

Here is a link that might be useful: My eBay source for my M. alba

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 9:37AM
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jeff_al

i agree that it is grafted. air layering is a method to propagate by wounding a branch/stem , surrounding the wound with moist spaghnum moss wraped in flexible plastic wrap and a covering of foil or similar. after roots have formed inside the protective coverings, the stem is trimmed from the parent plant and planted directly into the soil on its own roots.

i should try one of those outdoors here. my m. figo is about 12' tall but that one is likely more cold-hardy than m. alba.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 4:07PM
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Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)

Thanks, Jeff.

Why, oh, why didn't I snap a pic of the roots with the sphagnum moss packed between the roots and the black stem coming out from them for everyone to see! Laugh.

I'm not digging it up at this point since it seems to be acclimating better than I thought it would. :)

-Robert

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 4:25PM
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roseyd(6)

Roberto, I'm jealous.

If I could win tonight's lottery - I'd get a place with bigger windows and one of these trees. :)

I've already been peeking at houses... there's a lake house with lots of windows with my name on it ... just waiting for that winning ticket. :D

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 5:04PM
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Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)

Ha! If you're gonna win the lottery then dream of a lakehouse with a huge greenhouse next to it! Laugh.
Imagine all the wonderous, fragrant beauties we could grow in a large heated greenhouse. :)

-Robert

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 5:22PM
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roseyd(6)

well no winner this time. ... guess I'm still living vicariously through you, Robert. :) Yes, a greenhouse ... I should get a logees size place and grow trees in there. :)

I have to buy another ticket for friday and saturday's lottery. I only have to win big once... am I asking much? :)

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 6:14AM
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Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)

Big thanks to Phoebe for contacting the eBay seller I bought my M. alba from and confirming with the seller that his trees are air-layered and not grafted.

I knew I wasn't wrong! :)

-Robert

Here is a link that might be useful: My eBay M. alba is air-layered

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 3:08PM
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kemistry(8 - Oregon)

Lol Robert. Post pic when yours bloom. : )

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 3:40PM
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Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)

Will do, Kemistry.

Now the real question is how long will I have to wait for an air-layered Michelia alba to bloom? :)

-Robert

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 4:23PM
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kemistry(8 - Oregon)

Air layered plants are just like grafted so I'm sure by this Summer you will get some blooms. I personally prefer air layered or rooted cutting because some plants have very ugly graft union. See mine! (They still grow fine though...)

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 4:51PM
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Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)

That is one freaky graft, Kemistry!

Yea. I'm just thrilled that it hasn't dropped any leaves and I actually see young leaves sprouting along the trunk so I think you are right.
M. albas are pretty tough plants! :)

I'll just have to be patient and wait for some blooms.

-Robert

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 5:06PM
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true_blue (MTL CAN Z4)(Mtl Can Zone 4b)

Robert did yours finally bloom?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 5:08PM
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kemistry(8 - Oregon)

Robert didn't care for the mellon scent of M. alba so he threw it out. Lol. :))

Wow looking back at my picture, that was one ugly graft. But here is an update pic a year later, you can tell the graft part really fused in and is looking much better.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 5:40PM
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Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)

How funny! I visited my friend in OKC today who I gave my plant to and it's freaking huge! No way I could've kept it over the winter and yes, Kem's right. Didn't care for the melon like scent. :)

-Robert

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 12:30AM
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true_blue (MTL CAN Z4)(Mtl Can Zone 4b)

Kem your graft looks much better, so Robert threw it out all the way to his friend ;-)
It's ironic, you yearn for a plant for years and when you get it, you realize you don't like it.

So Robert, you haven't got any other Michelias?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 8:59AM
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Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)

Ha ha. So true. I blame this forum for wanting me to sniff every plant on the planet. Laugh.
I presently don't own any michelias though I must say I am tempted by Allspice Michelia (Michelia x foggii 'Allspice') after reading about it here!

I presently don't care for banana or melon scented flowers.
I say presently because I know my tastes can change. :)

I used to find the scent of Jasminum polyanthum too cloying but now I adore it. Could be since I was deprived of fragrant flowers through much of this harsh winter. ;)

-Robert

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 10:16AM
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true_blue (MTL CAN Z4)(Mtl Can Zone 4b)

I'm sure it has to do with long and harsh winters!
There are still piles of snow on the garden, some parts around 6 feet, and it's -10 C / 14 F. I'm not mentioning the -5F windchill though ;-)

That's easy enough to make one like anything smelly within reason I hope. lol.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 10:33AM
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musaboru(Inland Calif.)

Robert I am kinda disconcerted to read that as this scent is so lovely to me and I couldn't imagine being without this plant but to each their own right. I have read that people who didnt care for Michelia alba tend to prefer Michelia champaca instead (but this was coming from folks who arent fragrant plant fanatics like us). It's as if they're on opposite sides of the scent spectrum even though one of them is a hybrid of the other.

This post was edited by musaboru on Mon, Mar 17, 14 at 10:45

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 10:44AM
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true_blue (MTL CAN Z4)(Mtl Can Zone 4b)

I don't know about Robert, musaboru but I was tempted ordering one of the Michelia's (Alba, Champaca (orange or yellow)/ figo). But once I saw how they big they become, I said to myself "forget about it!" And all this thanks to this forum :-)

Maybe one day, if I have a house (or even better greenhouse!) which can accommodate plants with that stature, I might give it a try. But for now, I'll smell a banana cake or have some melon ice cream ;-)

This post was edited by true-blue on Mon, Mar 17, 14 at 11:58

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 11:43AM
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Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)

Ha ha. Yes. It's true. I didn't really care for the scent though I will admit it's a very complex scent which is hard to describe (much like Neofinetia falcata's scent is hard to describe).
So coupled with the fact that they're trees I just gave it to my friend who does have a greenhouse so it can survive the winters. :)

I almost snapped a photo of the beast just to share with you guys saying that I made the right decision!

Oh, and of course someday I want to sniff M. champaca but once again they're trees. ;)

-Robert

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 11:54AM
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kemistry(8 - Oregon)

You guys.. my local nursery has a michelia yunnanensis 'inspiration' . It is hard to resist!! Musaboru, have you smelled a michelia yunnanensis before? how's the scent, i wonder?

The magnolia are blooming right now and some of them do smell pretty darn good. :))

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 12:32PM
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Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)

My friend was kind enough to snap a pic for me.
It got so big she had to cut it back before moving it to her greenhouse!

It still hasn't bloomed for her so I'm hoping surely it will this year for her since it bloomed for me.
Hoping she likes the scent! :)

-Robert

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 6:59PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

Robert..It absolutley BEAUTIFUL in every way! I wish you had given me one like that.

How in the world did you ever get it into shape like that? MInes is bare twiged to almost the ends and lond stems..It's getting out of control..Not bushy as so..

Mine did get a disease in which the leaves kept turning brown and falling off..I finally nipped that in the bud!

Mike

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 7:48PM
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Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)

Thanks, Mike!
I'll thank the 5:1:1 mix it's in, the Dynamite and Dyna-Gro, the filtered sun it grew in and of course the Oklahoma heat! Laugh.

-Robert

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 9:05PM
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kandhi(z7VA)

Robert, your plant looks so healthy. The one I bought last summer has grew 4ft tall and bloomed once. The only problem I noticed is it is a spider mite magnet. This is the only plant that gets spider mites problem more than any other tropical plants in my greenhouse. At this growth rate, my michelia alba plant grows as big as yours by next summer. I am not sure how to handle spider mites problems on big plants,seems like high maintenance..

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 9:29PM
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Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)

Thanks, Kandhi! It's no longer my plant though. :)
I don't know if my friend had any problems with spider mites on it in her greenhouse or not. Hopefully yours will make it until it gets warm enough where you can spray the undersides of the leaves with the hose outside.
I know I've been battling the spider mites on my passifloras and it's no fun. Sorry. :(

-Robert

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 9:49AM
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true_blue (MTL CAN Z4)(Mtl Can Zone 4b)

That's a lovely plant Robert. However, I understand why you had to get rid of it. Unless you had a green house or a glass extension that plant takes major real estate space :-)

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 10:06AM
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musaboru(Inland Calif.)

Kem, if by M. yunnanensis you mean M. laevifolia then yes. I have smelled just one variety. According to some literature there are varying accounts of the scent on this species depending on the cultivar. Unfortunately this species is bred more for cold hardiness and little focus goes towards the scent.

This one I have came from Cistus and it was mislabled as M. crassipes (suppose to be a dark red figo variety basically, darker than Portwine type) but apparently it is actually a M. laevifolia that is commonly misapplied as M. crassipes in the nursery industry. Seems like it was perpetuated by the SF Aboretum?

Anyways this one is blooming now and it isnt spectacular. Flowers have a very light spicy scent with a hint of rubber to my nose...it was being over powered by a regular M figo in the background. It blooms for about 2 weeks and thats it for the year. I'll instead recommend other Magnolia sieboldii cultivars like Michiko Renge or Colossus which have more attractive flowers and better scent.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 11:33AM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

You know everybody???

I love this plant soooooooooo much and it was the nicest fragrance I enjoyed all spring, but mine is getting bigger too because I ghot lazt about cutting it back..

What about keeping it smaller. sort of like an oversized Bonsai plant by cutting back hard at the end of each winter or flowering?

The trunck on mine gets thicker but still preforms well when I trim the roots and trim back the extended growth..

Just an idea!

You all make all the variations of Michelia so inviting..I think I want more now..Laugh!

MIke

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 1:00PM
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kemistry(8 - Oregon)

Good information, musa! The label says michelia yun "inspiration" ... I think the word "yun" is short for yunnanensis which is now classified as laevifolia. Too bad yours doesn't have much of a scent. :\

Hm, I need to go back and find the name of this beautiful yellow magnolia that they have. That one smells pretty good.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 6:13PM
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musaboru(Inland Calif.)

Kem I think some of the deciduous magnolias have really good scents too, like 'Jane'. I really think they are underappreciated for their scent as a class. Mark Jury mentions that he selects his M. laevifolia hybrids for that big burst of flowers like the deciduous types are known for.

M. laevifolia sets seeds readily ( as Ive noticed myself too) and so there are many different cultivars or unnamed varieties. Hosi bought me one called Free Spirit but Ive yet to smell it, if the scent is nice I will surely let you know. :)

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 6:51PM
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