What happened to my michelia alba???

savy4November 5, 2011

HELP! I purchased a michelia alba plant from the California last July. When it was first shipped to me, it was a healthy plant. It was doing very until I overwatered it.I decided to transplant it into a new pot which is smaller then the old one. After transplanting into the new pot, the plant did not seem to have changed. I transplanted it in September when it getting ready to cool at night. To me, it looks like the plant is at a stand still. It has been about 5 weeks now since I transplant it. All I see is bare branches, but it is still green, yet it has no new growth. It does not same like the same plant when I first got it and put it into a pot I would see all new growth within a few weeks. I don't know maybe back then because of warmer months or what. Anyone out there know how to care for this plant? Please give me some advice on how to care for this plant. Because right now the plant is indoor facing the east window. But I don't know if it will survive during the winter months. Right now I don't give it any water at all I only watered once it was first transplant. I used to have this plant one time and it died during the winter months because I don't know how to care for it. Please help I don't want it to die at all. Thank you.

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tomatoman(9B E Cen Fl)
    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 4:29PM
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I'm not sure where you live but my guess is it will not make it indoors for the winter.

I have planted many michelia alba over the years and I will say they either thrive or die. There really is no in between in my experience. they really don't like getting dry so keep in moist not wet and hope for the best.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 9:40PM
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The key is to making sure it is a proper mix that dries out rather quickly and yet retains moisture.
Your mix should be very porous and allow you to water frequently without fear of root rot any time of the year.

Keeping it in an east window will be ok, but I would watch out the your mix does not dry out to the point of wilt and does not take a long time to dry out.

I would give it a chance since you still have green in the branches and see what happens. Just watch your watering practices and provide a very porous mix:-)


    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 7:36AM
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Hi Mike it seems like my michelia alba branches is drying out. So I watered it yesterday. Do you think its gonna make it during this winter months.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 10:48AM
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Let me ask you a few questions first,k?

How big is this plant?
Have you got in a well fast draining mix?
Do you have access to wooden dowels, shop sticks, or barbecue wooden sticks?
Can you place in a warm room?
Can you place it in a sunny window or one that gets lots of sunlight?

That is a great start, because if so, yes it might just make it. But I also have one other suggestion for you if you are up to it?


    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 3:31PM
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yellowthumb(5a Ontario)

If you want to keep it indoors, find a warm room and supplement the light with a fluorescent light. Do everything suggested by Mike regarding the mix. Then it will live. Alba doesn't mind low humidity in my experience. They do mind cold and wet and die very quickly from it. Even faster than a Gardenia.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 8:14PM
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musaboru(Inland Calif.)

I'm not sure what to advise on, but good luck with your plant Savy4. Would you able to post a picture of the plant? I'm curious to see what condition it is in and what the potting medium looks like.

Mines puts out new growth every so often but even then I notice a branch or two that turns kind yellowish then brown and I snap them off. I am not sure what causes this, if this is natural dieback for 'hidden' branches or some sort of fungus/viral attack? But it happens...

Good luck,

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 8:36AM
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Mike the plant is about 3ft tall. And yes I did all that you've mentioned. So, what is the other option in order to save this plant. Because I see some branches are dieing.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 1:27PM
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Hi, Dar how do I post the picture? Because I really want you to see it.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 2:33PM
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musaboru(Inland Calif.)

Simply upload your image file to an image upload service such as Photobucket.com by or Tinypic.com

At Tinypic click on choose and select your image file. There is also an option to resize the image as it uploads. Select the size for message boards click Upload Now.

You will see a selection for codes. copy the HTML code and paste it here into the message field and you can preview to see if it works.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 4:44PM
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Hi Savy!

If you have it in a very fast draining and porous mix in a warm location in a bright room, the only other thing that would give it much more hope just for teh time being is 'humidity'.

You can increase the humidity by taking the whole plant and putting it into a plastic see through bag making like a dome over it. It will give increased humidity and encourage new leaf growth all the while keeping the plant hydrated while the roots repair themselves.
You could also use a humidifier, but the plastic bag method is much easier.
You can get one at a nursery, the dry cleaners, or anywhere you know sells large clear plastic bags.

I wish you all the best. Remember these plants do not like wet roots, but not dry either, evenly moist is more like it which only a very porous mix can provide. The roots will breath and they will grow much healthier. It will also encourage 'fine root' growth, which do all the bull work to keeping your tree happy. I have the feeling you have lost all those for some reason:-(


    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 8:52AM
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Hi Mike,

I have checked the soil then I took out the plant to see if the root system is rotting. And it did a little bit but more than half of the roots are not yet rotting because there are a small roots and a big roots and the big roots is still okay. So, think I still have hope the soil is moist but not very moist.
Thanks savy4

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 6:22PM
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That is great. All you need to do is provide all teh above and them very fine fiberous roots we are looking for will be bound to come back.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 5:27PM
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