How to trim Michelia Alba

May888October 12, 2013

Hello,

I'm fairly new to Michelia Alba. I bought about eight Michelia Alba plant about 3 months ago, but I gave away three to friends.

Most of them were about 4 ft. tall when I bought them. I noticed that they are producing a lot of leafs. It is now over 5 ft. tall and bushy.

My question is: Do I need to remove some of the leafs? The leafs are getting heavy so I tied them to the center branch. I'm trying to make the horizontal branch go upward with the center branch.

When should I remove extra leafs, if necessary? If so, then when is the best time to start trimming it down?

Should I just let the leafs grow as natural and not remove them?

Are there any do and don't in taking care of the Michelia Alba?

Here are pictures of the 5 ft tree and 8 ft tree.

Thanks in advance. Any comments or suggestions are much appreciated.

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meyermike_1micha(5)

Let me just tell you that you are so lucky to have trees do that well for you and look that bushy!

I could only wish mine woull look like yours. Where do you live that they can grow that nice for you?
Nice!!!

You are asking the wrong person for advice here..Since I would let mine grow as big as they could if I could leave them outside...And because I have to bring them in for the winter, I cut them back before I bring them in or as they start to grow or during summer..So basically I cut them back when I need to or feel like it and they always do well.

Have you had a flowers yet? What zone do you live in?
Do you feed yours? Are they all in pots?

I am assuming you are in a warm climate since you get them that big!

MIke

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 2:09PM
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May888

Thanks for the response.

I live in the Bay Area California. I'm not sure what zone I'm in.

I started out in buying a bunch of 4 ft. When I visited the nursery, I saw new plants in display that I had to bring home. The next thing I know, I had tons of them in the backyard. As seen in the picture above, I put them behind a guava tree for the shade, high wind, high heat. The nursery gave me some fertilizer that I used (every month) for about 2 months now. Also, I water it with seaweed extract once or twice a week, depending on the weather or when I see the leafs drooping down. Yes, they're already flowering now. The funny thing is that my 3ft plant has more flowers than the 5 ft plant. I do recall the nursery telling me not to fertilize it in the winter.

As for the 8ft plant, it has over 50 flowers so far.

I couldn't find any place locally that sell 8 ft plant so I picked them up from Southern California. When I was down there, I saw them and fell in love. I drove three 8 ft plant 500 miles back home :) We had to wrap the the leafs together with each plant and put a tarp over it. The majority of the leafs were burnt (brown color) from the heat. Fortunately, they are doing okay now.

All the plants are in pot at the moment.

Just like you, i think I need to bring all the 5ft plant inside the garage during winter. It'll be my first winter with them. I pray that the 8ft plant survive through the winter.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 3:57PM
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savy4

Hi May,

I wish mine would look like yours. I bought mine about a year ago it was five tall and now it is still the same. So, now I brought it inside the house next year I hope it'll get bigger and maybe I will try the seaweed extract like you. Thanks for your pictures of the albas. I really like the plants.

Savy

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 12:42PM
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May888

Savy,

After a year, your plant should have grown larger. My plants are under full shade. Since winter is coming, don't expect to see much changes.

I was feeding them the following product below once a week when brought it home. Search it on amazon. I mix it with water.

Maxicrop Liquid Seaweed (Kelp Extract) in soluble powder

Also, i was giving them fertilizer that the nursery gave me. They told me to stop fertilizing them in the winter. They said to start again in March time frame.

I have a friend who bought the same plant from the same nursery. I saw his plant several weeks ago, and it is still 4 ft tall. And it's not bushy as mine. He put it outside with 50/50 sunlight. I don't think it likes too much sun with its current size.

I hope that helps.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 1:42PM
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savy4

Hi May,

Thank you for the info. I will try to order that next year. But the fertilizer that the nursery gave you what was it? Because you've mention the seaweed extract but not the other one. I was just curious that's all. Because I want mine to grow like yours.
Thanks,
Savy

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 11:05AM
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savy4

Hi May,

Thank you for the info. I will try to order that next year. But the fertilizer that the nursery gave you what was it? Because you've mention the seaweed extract but not the other one. I was just curious that's all. Because I want mine to grow like yours.
Thanks,
Savy

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 11:06AM
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May888

savy4,

here is a picture of the fertilizer. Unfortunately, I do not know the name of them.

The one of the left was given to me when I bought the 4ft size while the one on the right was from another nursery. The one of the right, I see a writing of "13-13-13" on it. I have used both of them.

Here is a picture of my 3 ft plant that my aunt gave me from her nursery. When I got it, the leafs were yellowish. After putting it in the shade and feeding it with the fertilizer on the right that she gave me, it started growing and became more green. This little guy gave me about 6 flowers already.

Here is a picture of my other 8 ft that I planted on the ground. For some reason, I have not seen a flower from this tree. I'm hoping it is taking some time to settle in with the ground. I'm just happy that it survived.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 12:31PM
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May888

Savy4,

Good news. I found the fertilizer name.

Search for:

Nutricote. Timed Release Fertilizer. 13-13-13

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 12:37PM
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savy4

Hi May,

Thank you so much for all your help. I will try to find them online and in the store. So, you use seaweed extract once a week. Then use the Nutricote. And you also mentioned place the plant under the shade. It is so hard to find a completed shade around my house. Most I have sun in the morning or sun around about 1p.m until dark. So which location would best. I have east side too. And as for right now no fertilizer because it's winter is that right.

Thanks,
Savy

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 4:41PM
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May888

I see ebay and amazon selling the Nutricote fertilizer.

Yes, I use seaweed extract once a week. And I replace the seaweed extract with plain water once a month. For example, seaweed extract (SE), SE, SE, water, SE, SE, SE, water, etc. With my current weather (about 80 degree), I find myself watering it every 5th day.

When I added the Nutricote, I just use water. Do NOT over fertilizer the plant. You can kill it. Read the instruction, it depends on the size of your plant/pot. I only give it about 1 tablespoon in a 7 gallon pot.

Correct, I have been told not to give it fertilizer after October. It should be resumed after March.

Yes, several nursery said morning sun is okay, but that's about it with my current size. Sometime, the morning shade can get up to 85+ degree. That's why I prefer to keep it under shade constantly. If you have a 4 ft plant, then it's not mature enough to handle the sun and frost winter. For now, you have to babysit it a little bit.

You have several options...

1. Build your own shade cover. It's very simple.
2. Your house should create shade somewhere. My backyard has a shade created from the building structure after 11AM everyday. Once you find the shade, then that's where you should put it.

Also, if it's windy, then take it inside or find a way to protect it against the wind.

Keep in mind that I'm not an expert. I just started this summer :). I'm learning from listening to several nursery advices. I'm sure other owners have their own methods in taking care of the plant.

Good luck and keep us updated.

Let me know if you want to see more close up pictures...

This post was edited by May888 on Sat, Oct 19, 13 at 19:19

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 7:17PM
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savy4

Hi May,

Thank you so much for your info. I will try to do that next year in the spring.

Savy

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 10:53AM
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azmom

Hello May,

Thank you for sharing the information. You have super green thumb, your plants are doing amazingly well.

I posted the problems I have with my Michelia Alba, the leaves are turning pale green. After following the advices I received here feeding the plants with miracle Gro, the leaves do not get much greener, but the new flower bulbs are very green. I have no idea what is going on, I will definitely try the fertilizer you are using.

Do you mind also share the name of the fertilizer on the right in the photo you posted? If it is hard to find, could you please share the name of the nursery from where you get it?

Thank you again.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 7:40AM
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savy4

Hi May,

I have a question about my alba? I have an alba about 3 feet tall. I had transplant it back in May of this year. And it never take off all I have a is just tigs it never grow any leaves on it from May, up until now . It does't grow at all it is at a stand still. It's not dieing and it's not growing. Can you tell me what's wrong with it. I will post the picture tomorrow if I get a hold to my camera.

Thanks,
Saveth

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 12:42PM
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