Caring Michelia Alba

CTGarde(5a)August 9, 2013


I am new to grow a michelia alba. I started to grow it since last spring and I have read many threads from this forum as I try to learn about this flower plant.

It seems that my m. alba does not pick up since the transplantation. I notice that there are some small brown dots on the leaves. And the leaves are curled, have dead spots and have white spots on them. I include below some photos to show you.

I would appreciate any comments and advices.


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Hello CTGarde,

Looking at your photos i would say its a deficiency of some sort more then any fungus etc, a deficiency in one of the trace elements if its mostly the old leaves that are getting the irregular brown spots it could be manganese but then it could be one or a few trace elements its lacking i noticed a few leaves look abit yellow
what fertilizers do you use? i now use on all my michelias doffs citrus & mediterranean which contains micro-nutrients feed as a foliage spray once or twice a week you can not really over feed with a foliage spray but use common sense and i also alternate between a seaweed feed and a banana peel feed on the base of the plant.
hope that helps in some way
Regards Brian
p.s may i ask what compost you are growing your michelia Alba in?

    Bookmark   August 9, 2013 at 5:20PM
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Thank you Brian for your advice.

I grow my michelia alba in a Miracle Gro Pro Potting mix where I add more perlite for a better drainage. I use all-purpose fertilizer combined with seaweed extract every two weeks. I know my potting soil is not perfect, but when I planted it, it bloomed 16 flowers with heavenly scent and our neighbors were so surprised. It just showed sign of weakness about 2 weeks ago. I will try to re-pot in 511 mix.

I haven't sprayed anything on the leaves except water. I will try to find similar product as mentioned earlier. I read in another thread about the benefit of fish emulsion. Would it be good to use it alternately with seaweed extract?


    Bookmark   August 9, 2013 at 9:44PM
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Looking at your first picture. I think I am almost certain it is SPIDER MITES problem. My michelia looks like that sometimes and I will find really really thin spider webby stuff on the stems...look closely and see if there is any? If there is, spray with a common insecticide or a light horticulture oil and kill the bugs and the plant will be fine!

Spider mites probably won't cause the plant to die...but weaken and looks bad. It will be serious if it is a serious infestation. From yours, I don't think it looks that serious yet. So fix the problem early!

I still may be wrong about the problem. But when my michelia has those tiny brown spots, it is almost certain a spider mite problem!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 9:41PM
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I too think that that is past spider mite damage...

I would do the most important thing you can do that can correct most damage and avoid any damage...

Plant that tree into a good 5.1.1 mix or a mix that has mostly bark and a bit of perlite, peat, or anything that provides moisture evenly through out the bark. This keeps your mix very porous, stays evenly moist, and allows you to water as often as you like without worrying about rot or fine root damage, which is a problem with these....

Mine is blooming for the thrid time this year and I have had to cut it back 3 times..Goodness, I wish there was a way to root these cuttings..

has anyone ever successfully rooted cuttings before? I wonder...


    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 5:36PM
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I could be wrong just never had any problems with spider mites on my michelias and never this time of year spider mite always tends to be a indoor problem
But having said that there is no harm in checking for it

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 1:33PM
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Hey, did you ever figure out what is was? Is your tree still alive or dead now?

I am starting to loose some branches thanks to my leaves falling off after getting tons of brow spot under the leaves..They start to grow fine and before they mature, the brown spots appear curling up the whole leaf then they fall..Very frustrating.


    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 7:27PM
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The plant is doing OK. I did have the spider mites problem and I'm still having it right now. They prove to be very difficult to eradicate. I manage to keep the population down with neem oil, but they are still popping up.

My m. alba shred a lot of leaves when I brought it into the house in October. and it went into a stagnant stage. I was really worried. However, it starts growing new shoots in the past few weeks, and as a rewards, with two flower buds.

The burning tip of the leaves are caused, in my case, from over fertilizing. I think you cannot fertilize very two weeks as stated on the package.

What form are the brown spots and where on the leaves are they? they might be leaf fungus. If you have magnifying glass, try to take a loot. If you live in zone 5, then you have the same weather as me. Does your m. alba expose to the sun? Mine get exposed from 6am to 4pm whenever it comes out. I also have three 50-watts halogen light bulbs on it.


    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 9:04PM
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