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Hello to you all! I live in AZ and this plant is thriving in a container on my patio for one and half years. I feed slow release(acidic) granules. I have not seen any blooms. What can I do to make it bloom? Any help is appreciated.
Some Michelias need to get to a certain age and/or size before they bloom, and I'm pretty sure alba is one of the ones in that category. If you want one that blooms when it's younger/smaller, I have Michelia x foggii 'Allspice' and it's bloomed for me two years in a row, even though it's only a few feet tall and still in a 1 gal pot.
I got it from Sonoma Horticultural Nursery (in Sonoma, CA)--unfortunately I don't think they do mail order. There are probably other sources too, if you can't find one through mail order you could always talk to a local nursery and see if they could order one for you.
Ive had one of mine now for over two years now and still no blooms either, I got mine at toptropicals.com and contacted them about it, He told me that they can be tempermental, should bloom ion second yeay at least but if its not blooming try soom bloom feed if its still not blooming then its just not ready, so its one of those hurry up and wait situations.
Thank you Neil for the advice. I also got it last year from TT who claim that it is 'blooming size'. All of last year---I was looking at leafbuds thinking that they are flower buds only to find out that they are leafbuds.
Mine is covered at the moment with those plump buds and they only seem to have tiny leaflets coming out of them so far, but they have remained round even as the leaf emerges, unlike the long slender ones im used to seeing that peel back like a banana as the leaf emerges.
Hurry up and wait again,
I have another I got before the TT one, listed as the same tree but both have different growth habits and leaf texture and respond different to temps and water supply.
lovestropics-I called her to ask about the ylang ylang and she told me over the phone about the smaller one @ $19.00. Its not listed on the website-only the bigger size. All the plants I got from her were very nice size and the shipping was very cheap as are the prices.
I got some pictures today if you are interested, its a bid hard to make them out with all the foilage behind. This one is a picture of my first Michelia that I got from mgonline.com.
Notice the upright symetrical growth of this one and the leaves have a tiny soft hairs that collect the humidity at night time they appear much paler and matt than my more recent one, I got about a year and a half ago 9 its been through 3 hurricanes) and it was tiny then only about six leaves so I would say almost 2 years old.
Heres a picture of my Alba , which definately has less symetrical growth and the leaves are a glossy brighter green, this one does much better in full tropical sun than the champaca, got this about a year ago and was pretty small sized .
This is a picture of the new pods, The one at the end is the leaf pod that I usualy see which develops at the end of the branch and peels back to reveal the new leaf but further back you can see the new plump one like yours
I was hoping that they would pop open with flowers , but so far just more leaves.
Thanks for posting the pictures Neil. I like your pots. Blue is one of my favourite colors. I think you are very close to getting the flowers. Some of the buds are looking pretty straight to me. One of my buds is turning light cream color(without the banana peel).Let's keep our fingers crossed. I will post a picture if and when it blooms.
PS: I have got a cold. so I am sure my fragrant flowers will bloom since I can't smell them.
I guess I got the right one from TT as I bought it a month ago, stuck it in the ground and just got our first blossoms. They smell great! But, it is a big one (4') as I live nearby and could pick it up... Hang in there - it's worth it! (sorry, no camera)
Neil, it smells like the alba I know. You have to be close to it to smell but it does not fill up my patio yet. I was in Maui visiting a nursery----smelled something like champaca and followed by nose to find alba. In india I am familiar with champaca but not alba. It is worth the wait.
PS: the bud shape is same for flowers and leaves. Flower bud will change the color to cream from green. Then you know you have a flower bud. I am sure your's is next to bloom. please make sure you put up a picture when that happens.HTH
LT - Congrats! Champaca (yellow) is preferred in India while the alba is preferred in Thailand (they call it champaca though). I spent 18 years in Thailand and my wife is Thai so we are really happy to have one now. Both smell great...
My michelia alba is also blooming! Wonderful fragrance. I bought the plant last winter so this is my first bloom. I also have michelia champaca, which is a larger plant, but no blooms. I understand the champaca does not bloom until it's a little older. I have michelia figo and michelia maudia (sp), neither of which are blooming, but I'm hoping... My figo bloomed this past spring.
Lovetropics, I have artabotrys in a pot and it's growing pretty well, but no blooms.
It's a artabotrys hexapetalus and I got it from Aloha Tropicals, I believe. It's about a foot tall. I love tropicals but am experimenting with them as this is the first year I've grown most of them. Am waiting to see how they do this summer. Most were very unhappy during the winter...I only lost a couple though, notably my ylang ylang plant, which broke my heart...
Just sayw your alba picture on the ranking thread, very nice . Mine is just covered at the moment I bought a little wheel set to go under the pot so I could move it over closer to the door of the house,
Do you know anything about collecting seeds ?, are they worth collecting ?, and which part are they?
Ive been collecting all the fallen petals and bring them inside in a glass bowl.
alba is sterile. so don't bother with seeds. I am thinking about putting the petals in oil ...I think if you want to propagate alba, air layering is the best--- I will try in fall when our temps are below 3 digits!!
Hi Guys, I have a Michelia x alba, Michelia champaca, Michelia figo, Michelia figo var. skinneriana, and a Michelia chapensis. The Michelia x alba flowers nearly year 'round here. The Michelia x alba seeds are sterile, as Lovetropics said, and so they are propagated by airlayering mostly and sometimes by grafting so they will bloom at a very small size. I bought my M. x alba when it was two feet tall and in bloom. The Michelia champaca, on the other hand, is propagated by seeds and needs to reach a level of maturity before blooming. This level of maturity usually happens at around five years old. Mine started blooming when it was eight feet tall with a sizable trunk and was at least a few years old. It was six feet tall when I bought it from a local nursery. The Michelia champaca always looks terrible in winter, and even though it is supposed to be evergreen, it is actually semi-deciduous. Here is a good article about Michelias if you are interested: http://faq.gardenweb.com/faq/lists/fragrant/2005034256008093.html My good friend, Kukiat, who lives in Thailand has a collection of them in his yard. Here is his picture:
Still no sign of buds on my champaca, i guess it'll be another year of waiting. It really should be repotted but i don't have a pot big enough. Its potted pretty low down in its pot right now. What would you think about taking it out and putting more soil in the base to move it up about 4 inches, Is it worth the trouble? and will it appreciate it, I've read they don't like to be disturbed.
Here's my alba, it's a little lopsided and uneven after a rough summer and a couple of weeks with no water during the hottest months. But its blooming again and smells amazing. Unfortunately it has forked at the top and i really would have prefered a single trunk.
Celt, yes, I would do that in the spring or summer when it is warm. It will not shock if you are careful not to break too many roots. You'll have to do it when the root ball is not wet. I actually planted a big one and then dug it up about six months later and put it back into a container, and it did fine. Now, it is back in the ground again. Here is a pic of the blooms.
I know this is an old post...just wondering if anyone every had this on their Michelia alba leaves? Its only the odd leaves that seem old, just before they turn yellow and fall off...the new leaves are bright green and dont seem to have this patchy brown stuff on the backs of them. I don't see any bugs except a tiny tiny grasshopper type thing which is so small I couldn't take a picture of it. I purchased this from Top Tropicals last year, it seems to really like where it is, even though it is in bright shade but I'm wondering if I need to move into more sun to get blooms, so far nothing. It seems to be grafted so I was hoping I'd have blooms this year.
Astcgirl, I would definitely put it in more sun. That could be mildew or something from being damp and not having good air circulation from being against the house. Both my Michelia x alba and Michelia champaca are planted in full sun and do just fine in it. Your trunk and branch girth seem a little thin, and your tree probably needs a little more growth to flower well. Michelia x albas are usually always grafted as they are impossible to propagate any othe way, and the scions are taken from flowering trees so they can flower at any stage. I think a little more sun and air circulation will fix your problem. It looks harmless in any case.
Just to be safe I'd also take a look around for any signs of aphids or scale--sooty mold will form on the honeydew that they secrete, and it can look similar, although it very well could be just poor air circulation as Clare said. The sooty mold itself isn't harmful (unless you let it cover the leaves completely to the point where the plant can't photosynthesize anymore), just wash it off with some soapy water. But the bugs that are the original root cause can harm the plant so I'd definitely try and get rid of them if that's what you have.
Ecrane, my Michelias don't seem to be susceptible to aphids or scale, but you are right that sooty mold does have that appearance. It also has the appearance of a virus. A plumeria with a virus will have that look to a leaf here and there. Since this is occurring on leaves that are falling off naturally, I'm thinking that it could also just be cell decay before leaf drop. I know my Michelia champaca leaves look positively hideous before they drop. Thank goodness for the new pretty ones, or I would have panicked a long time ago.
HI Ecrane...Thanks for the suggestions, I'll take another look. I used to get the sooty mold on my gardenia's before because of aphids and ants...I have to wash them down every couple of days when it's the season for aphids here or they get out of control. I don't think the leaf has the sooty mold though as i can't scrape it off or wash it off...I even tried taking a leaf inside and washing it with soap...it's as if it's within the leaf if that makes sense...the cell decay like Clare said seems like it could be that as it's usually the old leaves before they fall off...the aphids on my gardenias usually attack new leaves and my new leaves on my alba are untouched. It is such a pretty plant with those leaves...hopefully oneday I'll get flowers.
Hi Chantell! They are all trees, Magnolias, that get to be 30 feet or taller so they really all belong in the ground. Michelia champaca, when grown from seed, won't even flower until it is around 8-10 feet tall and a few years old. Michelia x alba can be grown in a container for about five years as long as it is transplanted to bigger and bigger containers when becoming rootbound. Here's one of my favorite pictures. It shows a six-year-old Michelia x alba in the ground in Miami, Florida.
Well then...I will have to just love them thru ya'lls descriptions!!! BTW (OT) I think my plumies heard me...after NO blooms last summer...one of my smaller NOID (red or pink - not sure) has an inflo...yipeee
I tried champaca once in a container and it didn't do really well. I've had decent luck with M. figo in containers, and also M. x foggii (both of these are also less tropical than alba/champaca, although I think x foggii is still zone 9)
Congrats on your inflo, Chantell! Yes, Ecrane is right. M. figo seems to do very well in containers, but it too eventually gets big and rootbound. I had to finally put mine in the ground. I wanted to keep my Michelias in containers because I rent where I am and wanted to take them with me when I leave, but they just got too huge to move so they belong to the landlord now. I still have two huge lilacs in containers. Those are coming with me. They are more wide than tall at this point.
i have m.figo ,bloomed this year and smelled just like juicey fruit chewing gum. it'll be going in the ground this next week.ecrane, you advised me last year on my michelia alba. just want you to know it fell off the deck and broke the tip on the main stem. not to cry because it put out all those little leaf buds that were just sitting there and doing nothing. sure is looking like a little tree now .the pale leaf spots i was so worried about were just normal for that plant.i guess i was just looking for something to worry about. sally
I have taken cuttings from two diferent michelias, and one has bloomed, and does smell like juicey fruit chewing gum, and the oth has larger waxy leaves.The tree I took those cuttings from was about 25' tall.Seems like the more I try to find out what I have the more confused I get.I just came upon this thread, and I have one of those "can't sleep " nights, but will take pics in the morning.Thanks, Mike
i'm wondering if you can find out what the other tree is, i don't have a clue.my alba has tender leaves ,and have no experience at all with any of them. where did you get them, and will want to know how you rooted them.i have a million questions. sally
One thing that would also help is to know whether the ones you took cuttings from were growing outdoors year round in your area, given your zone that would really narrow down the pool of possibilities since many of the Michelias wouldn't be hardy in zone 7.
you'r right ecrane, i transport my alba to zone10 and back, altho this year ,will plant it at my sons, on south side of house in sun , or repot it for a house/ deck plant for him. i understand the figo is borderline, but they say, should be ok with shelter. i'll put it in ground here in z-7 and hope for the best . sure would be nice to be 1 zone warmer, there are a lot of things i'd like to plant
Well through much distraction, I finally got to take a pic.I know both are considered "banana shrub", and yes they are growing in my area.The one on the right is growing in a ladys yard, that does volunteer work at the state batanical garden.She got it at a sale, and from a cutting on one of the shrubs.The other is from the University near by, when I caught the prunning crew shaping up whats along the walk, and the shrubs are at least twenty five feet high.Mike
Oh, I need to repot the one on the right, because it grows faster than the other, and is needing nutrents, the leaves are pale compared to the one on the left, but this is not the usual pale.Mike
Mike, good luck with your M. figo. I'm the one that sent you cuttings from mine...we met at the roundup several years ago. Did your cuttings ever take? The juicy fruit smell is right on!! Now, the one I have is probably 10' by now and has thrived on neglect, it being in the front of the house (we stay mostly on the back deck). I'm in zone 7b/8
bugme, I remember well, in fact I tryed twice, if you remember.There is something about mailing these cuttings, that set them back.Now, if I have any mailed, I will soak first in a 3%hydrogen peroxide solution, before I start rooting.However, I lost all we tried, and I am sorry, but saw the same shrub here, and went wild, and the lady here said cut away, its too large for this spot.Was too, but she has that problem in her yard anyway.
I have this shrub down pat.Dip the cutting in 3% H2O2 , and leave it there til the next day, and use Dip-n-grow, 10x, and into the 60%sand,$40% peat, and mist.Are you sure yours, or ours is called "figo"? This lady had a $40. name that she wrote, and I lost.Not questing you on your shrub, but some time we buy things that had the wrong name on it.I have a seven son that is about four feet tall, that was bought from a local nursary, that was supose to be a mock orange.Beleave me I would rather have a seven son than 10 mockoranges.Mike
Mike, I'm sure...it was a gift to me from a dear friend and she called it "banana shrub". I've since learned it is the michelia figo. Those latin names are difficult and I prefer to use the common ones. I do know about nursery tags being put into the wrong pots.
wish you could get that last one i'd . my figo has had something biteing it right where the tip of a leaf cover ,(don't know the proper term)turns black and destroys the bud inside used the heck out of insecticidal soap ,seems to have fixed it , never could see anything , even with magnifying jewelers glasses sally
I'm not sure if this will help with the ID's or not, but the Michelias that I know of that would be hardy in zone 7 are M. figo, also M. skinneriana (which is sometimes listed as a subspecies of M. figo) and M. yunnanensis. I'm not familiar enough with the distinguishing characteristics of each to tell you how to tell which one your other plant might be, but hopefully that gives you a starting point.