How to propagate Michelia Champaca, and Alba from seeds?

lchiangAugust 15, 2008

I have both mature Micheila Champaca and Micheila Alba trees. They both produce fruits and seeds. Any one tried propagating them by seeds? Any tips?

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My understanding is that neither are commonly propagated from seed -- germination is slow and difficult,the seedlings take years to flower, and when they do they may not have the full size and fragrance of the parent. Sorry to give bad news -- have you considered taking cuttings or air layering instead?


    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 7:18PM
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alba-mickey(San Francisco)

jimshy: I have a micheilia alba tree for 19 years. I have it grounded in my backyard in San Francisco. It is about 25 feet tall and have a a lot flowers. This month I noticed that my michelia alba tree has a seed. I would like to know how to propagated from seed. Do you know how the prepare the seed for germination? Need your advices. Thank you. My email :

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 2:02AM
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longriver(SF Bay Area)

jimshy's suggestion is sound. I know it is not an easy seed germinating like bean sprout. I tried air layering. It will show strong callus but little root( possible due to temperature condition). The best way for me is still Approach Graft. I used to order understock 'Magnolia kobus' from wholesale grower from Oregon.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 10:50AM
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M. alba I believe is normally propagated by grafting (onto M. champaca I think). Don't know whether this is due to the difficulty of propagating from seed or growing from cuttings, or whether the alba doesn't come true from seed. Possibly all of the above.

M. champaca is grown on its own rootstock and is not too difficult to grow from seed, provided the seed is fresh enough and the temperature is warm enough. I tried numerous times to grow it from ebay-bought seed but had always sowed them in spring or early summer, when nights can still occasionally be fresh. (I don't have a heat mat.) It was only when I sowed seed in mid-summer, when night temperatures hover around 20-20 deg C (about 70 deg F) that they germinated. So they need 24-hour warmth (ie no cool nights), and humidity (I misted them with water and covered with plastic) to germinate. I believe that the champaca DOES come true from seed. Unless, perhaps, there are other species of michelia in the vicinity with which it has hybridised ...

    Bookmark   November 15, 2008 at 2:20AM
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I want to share my experience with M. Champaca seeds.I have ordered some seeds from India over a year ago. Last year, I tried to germinate over potting soil without success. This Year I tried to give the seeds a little help. I used a very sharp knife to remove the hard shells from the seeds, then I have them soaked in very hot water for 30 minutes. This will help to drive out the air in the seeds, so water could get inside. Next I put the seeds in a piece of wet paper towels. Then in a plastic bag and put them over a small florescent light over my aquarium. In 2 days, they germinate.Try this and see it works for you or not.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 12:10PM
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hello albertt91007, am thinking of buy m. champaca seeds from a seller on ebay. this seller lives in florida. hopefully the seeds are fresh. i have a heating mat and a greenhouse. thanks for the sowing tip.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 1:42PM
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Thank you so much for the tips on how to propagate the michelia alba seed. But I never try it before. I live in San Francisco the weather is not that hot at night. At spring the weather is only around 55 to 60 degree and summer time only around 65 to 70 degree. Can the seed germinate at that kind of weather? In the spring or summer to let the seed to geminate? Need your advice. Here is a picture of my michela alba seed from my tree.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 1:15PM
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