Can I Grow Michelia Alba or Michelia Champaca Indoors?

just_me_6(WV 6 - West Virginia-Tri State)December 28, 2007

I would like to find a Michelia Alba plant and/or a Michelia Champaca plant. I live in Zone 6 so I know I cannot grow this plant outdoors. Does anyone have any advice for growing these plants indoors? If it IS possible to grow this plant as an indoor plant, how can I give them enough humidity in the winter when the heating system dries the indoor air?

Bonus question: Anyone have an inexpensive source for these plants?

Thanks for your help!

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I have had a m.alba for a year now. I actually find it less fussy than my gardenia. To accommodate this plant, I bought a little humidifier, which I only have on during winter months when the central heating is on. It has flowered almost continuously for me - at one point I counted 12 blooms at once. I was cautioned by the nursery owner against overwatering, so I give it a good long drink once soil dries out a bit. I keep the room quite cool too. The only thing I've added to the soil so far is coffee grounds, which I believe produced the latest heavy flush of buds. Also, in the warmer months, I find it droops a bit if standing in direct sunlight (it's a west-facing window) so I shade the windows with sheers.

Sorry - haven't been able to find an inexpensive source myself. I really splurged on this plant!

    Bookmark   December 30, 2007 at 4:13AM
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This plant seems to be really hard to find. I have yet to see any mail order source at all. It seems to be mainly available from some retail nurseries in California.

Does it grow from seeds?

    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 10:42AM
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jeelli(5/6 CT)

There is a greenhouse here in CT that specializes in exotic greenhouse plants- try They have had Michelia in the past. They only ship when the weather permits, though.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 11:21PM
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If the question is, can you grow it, I've been growing a michelia for 3 years indoors, outside for the summers. But I have yet to see blossoms, and after comparing the leaves with other michelias, I'm not even sure I've got a champaca or something else!

I got mine from bloomin' good gardens, which no longer does mail order, but poke around other South Florida nurseries like Gardino and the "nursery which dare not speak its name" around here (first word, opposite of "bottom" and second word another name for warm climate plants) and you should be able to find one, but shipping on a good sized plant these days will make a pricey plant even pricier.

I wouldn't try these guys from seed unless you're ok with waiting 10 years for your first flowers.

I don't have anything to add on growing tips because I'm still trying to figure out how to keep mine happy!

However, michelia lovers might consider michelia yunnanensis, now called magnolia dianica, which is much hardier, tough, and blooms faster -- I got one this year and it bloomed at about 1 foot high, excellent fragrance!


    Bookmark   January 2, 2008 at 10:18PM
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jeelli(5/6 CT)

I wouldn't buy from that place Jimshy mentioned- not if you have to ship. Not unless you want dead plants.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2008 at 11:31AM
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jeelli(5/6 CT)

What I meant in my previous post is don't buy from the nursery which dare not speak it's name- " (opposite of "bottom" and second word another name for warm climate plants) " Not a good experience when all three plants I ordered were dead within days, and they offer no guarantees or any recourse- their policy is that you're s.o.l. if anything happens.
I had a great experience with Aloha Tropicals- imagine shipping plants from California clear across the country, and they arrive in excellent condition! I am planning on ordering two varieties of Michelia from them when we warm up a bit. (They offer three)

    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 12:36PM
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try michelia figo skinneriana, the scent is fantastic-I like it much better than alba and regular champac and its much more cold hardy and easy to grow.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2008 at 6:21PM
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ermazi(z6, NJ.)

M. alba is not hard to handle. I have it for years.
Putting it in a pot, outside in summer and indoor in winter.

Two things should be provided. One is the PH that keeps it green, the other is the P that keeps it flowering.

My M.alba has a lot flowers every summer.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2008 at 2:01PM
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Funny, I posted in response and it got deleted; I must've fallen foul of the forbidden business censors.

Anyway, Jeeli speaks from experience; I've only purchased seeds from the above-mentioned business, and above all I should've said never order from anyplace without checking here and other sites to get some feedback from folks who have actually ordered from a business. Especially with shipping costs rising so much, it's just not worth paying for a rare plant that's not well grown.

FYI, I actually had poor experiences with the other place Jeeli mentioned, but that was 5+ years ago; it's nice to hear businesses can improve, but always check first!

Still waiting for a bud on my michelia . . . .


    Bookmark   January 12, 2008 at 9:21PM
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in Gilroy California has quality M. Alba @ reasonable prices.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 12:46PM
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kaihui(Z7 VA)

but South Pacific orchid does no mail order.


    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 10:28AM
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alba-mickey(San Francisco)

Yes, you can grow it in door if you keep it in the container. Move it out during daytime and move indoor at night with some window open for air. I have a Michelia Alba tree for 19 years old and as tall a 25 feet. I plant it out door on my back yard in San Francisco. Each year it blooms at least 2000 flowers. It also beared seeds couple time. alba-mickey

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 6:57PM
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Yes u can even from seed. Good place to buy plant is a nursery called 9green box. Sells for 49.99.
Or plant from seed Good place to purchase seeds is called Hirts Garden. 5 seeds for $1.40 and many others you'll have to have at their prices.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 6:02PM
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Help! I bought a michelia alba plant from Calfornia back in July. They shipped it to me, now it's with me in the midwest, and it was doing very well. Until in the beginning of October, the plant started dropping leaves. So, I decided transplant it into a smalller pot because I thought that I had over watered it. And after it has been transplanted, it seems like nothing is growing at all. All I see now is just branches. Every time the new leaves comes out the leaves started to die. I don't know what's wrong with it. It has been four weeks already since I've transplant into the new pot. Can someone out there give me some advice on how to care for this plant because I had one before and it died and this is my second one. I don't want it to died at all. Is there any way that I can save the plant? Because I don't think it died yet because everything is still green but only the branches left. Now the plant is indoors facing the east window. Please help me because this is an expensive plant.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 6:48PM
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Michelia alba does not have viable seed! If any website says they have seeds for them I would not do business with them. They are produced by grafting the alba wood onto the orange champac root stock. If it is not grafted I would not buy it.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 9:49PM
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Michelia alba does bear or produce seeds, but it is so hard to have it to grow. I have my michelia alba tree in my San Francisco backyard for more than 25 years and it is about 30 feet tall. A few year back it had couple seeds, but I tried plant them, but not successful. If you want to grow or buy some michelia alba tree, buy the one grafted!!! It will bloom faster!!!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 1:50PM
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I've heard that some of the michelias are more fragrant than others. I smelled one variety in Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina and it smelled magnificent! I wish I knew which michelia it was.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 11:40AM
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Really? There are soem more fragrant than others?

Do you remember the color of the flowers? It must of smelled heavenly!


    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 12:32PM
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