Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Yellow Jade Orchid Tree, Fragrant Champaca, Fragrant Himalayan Champaca
Magnolia champaca

Family: Magnoliaceae
Genus: Magnolia (mag-NO-lee-a) (Info)
Species: champaca (cham-PAK-uh) (Info)

Synonym:Michelia avrantiaca
Synonym:Michelia champaca
Synonym:Michelia rheedii

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

28 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
Gold (Yellow-Orange)

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Blooms repeatedly


Other details:
Flowers are fragrant
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium
Scarify seed before sowing
By simple layering

Seed Collecting:
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds
Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

Click thumbnail
to view:

By Brugmania
Thumbnail #1 of Magnolia champaca by Brugmania

By arsenic
Thumbnail #2 of Magnolia champaca by arsenic

By Clare_CA
Thumbnail #3 of Magnolia champaca by Clare_CA

By Clare_CA
Thumbnail #4 of Magnolia champaca by Clare_CA

By Clare_CA
Thumbnail #5 of Magnolia champaca by Clare_CA

By Clare_CA
Thumbnail #6 of Magnolia champaca by Clare_CA

By Clare_CA
Thumbnail #7 of Magnolia champaca by Clare_CA

There are a total of 20 photos.
Click here to view them all!


4 positives
6 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral PratikN On Sep 14, 2012, PratikN from Vashi,New Mumbai
India wrote:

I am from India ...the perfect tropical condition it needs...all I want to ask is whether it is suitable for balcony garden?

Positive poocha On Jun 4, 2012, poocha from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

The golden champaca took 6-7 years to bloom.I truly wondered if it was a blooming tree.It is more hardy than michelia which I also have.The michelia is less tolerant of cold weather.It does sometimes lose half the tree to cold weather and sprouts up bu june-july.I feel because of this the tree does get tall,I get a chance to pick the blossoms.

Positive smartseeds On Apr 8, 2011, smartseeds from Claremont, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Here in dry California zone 9, my Michelia has done beautifully, bloomed and thrived, but it's clearly dependent on it's sheltered location - indirect northern exposure right by the house. Two years ago, a brief freeze lopped off 4' and left only side branches. Now it has sent up a new leader and seems very happy, but I would not say this is an easy-going plant outside its preferred tropical setting.

The fragrance makes me extremely happy, so I'm willing to give this plant special attention.

The seeds are especially challenging to germinate and need to be soaked in several changes of water to leach out germination inhibitors. Be prepared to do your homework and fuss over the seeds. But this is one of the few high-maintenance plants I have patience for. That fragrance outside my front door makes it all worth it.

Neutral Dinu On Oct 16, 2008, Dinu from Mysore
India (Zone 10a) wrote:

We had an old tree in our house before. It was chopped down when an extra room that was built, not because it was much in the way, but someone who had climbed it to pluck flowers for worship had fallen and injured. It was my grandmother who made got it removed due to that. I had seen it when young. THE BRANCHES ARE VERY WEAK. They cannot take much load. So be careful when climbing the tree. I used to try to climb it as a boy and my grandmother shouted from the window not to climb it!

Neutral Hou_gardiner On Nov 23, 2006, Hou_gardiner from Richmond, TX wrote:

4 years ago we bought 2 five foot tall Himalayan Champacas from a local Houston nursery. One of them developed black burn-like spots on the main branch, shed all the leaves and died. We moved the other one out of full sun into partial shade and it survived till now. We enjoy the beautiful light green leaves and the shade that it gives to our laundry room. It is happy with a few buckets of water weekly and an occasional handfull of osmocote fertilizer. When I see too many leaves turning yellow and dropping, I would cure it with a dose of liquid iron. We are disappointed that it never bloomed -our soil is close to pH 7, what is a save acidifier to use to lower the pH? If it still would not bloom, we may cut it down because it is only 5 feet from the house and the roots may damage the foundation. The trunk is about 5 inches in diameter - can it survive if we transplant it in winter?

Neutral happy_girl On Jul 11, 2006, happy_girl from Redondo Beach, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

I purchased a 5 gallon Michelia Champaca tree last summer (2005) and although it has grown by leaps and bounds, it continues to shed brown leaves. During the winter, it looked very anemic as the leaves were way too light (the green color is normally a lighter shade not deep green). I find that I am constantly "grooming" the tree. Quite a few of the green leaves have borders of black along the edges and I haven't figured out what that's about.

In addition to constantly grooming the tree, I find that I am anxiously awaiting buds. Sometimes I think I see one beginning and it turns out to be a leaf! About 2 blocks down from me, there is a 15 to 20 foot Michelia Champaca that blooms constantly so I'm not sure if it's just that ours is too young or what.

I really love this tree but I find myself worrying about it (brown leaves, leaves too light in the winter, etc.) and wondering if it will ever mature and not need as much TLC.

Neutral peterson89 On Jan 7, 2005, peterson89 from El Cajon, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

I planted 5 [rather expensive seeds] this past summer, in a cactus mix [ as per instructions]..only one of the seeds has germinated [took about 5 weeks] but very slow growing..It is my intentions to purchase a tree but too late in the season..
The seedling is healthy and strong but at this rate it will take for ever to grow and bloom I should imagine...

Positive desertboot On Jun 9, 2004, desertboot from Bangalore
India (Zone 10a) wrote:

A "sacred" tree in India, often planted close to Buddhist and Hindu temples. Two different flower colours: the common deep saffron, and another paler version. Heavenly fragrance!
(Note: one particularly spectacular heritage specimen, estimated to be over 500+ yrs old and truly gigantic can be forund in the Biligiri Rangaswamy Hills Wildlife Sanctuary in South India; when in full bloom, the fragrance spreads a radius of several kilometers! Local forest people consider the tree a living 'temple').

Planted one this Christmas morning.

Neutral Clare_CA On Dec 4, 2003, Clare_CA from (Zone 10b) wrote:

I grow two of these trees in containers, and one of them bloomed at only 8 feet tall this year. The fragrance of the flowers is best appreciated by not putting your nose directly in the flower. The scent is strong and intense and reminds me of incense with an East Indian flavor. The leaves look terrible between the end of summer and the beginning of winter as they go through their annual leaf shed. Monrovia and other growers call this tree an evergreen, but I think it should be labeled as semi-deciduous. In the spring, the tree redeems itself with new lush leaves and new growth.

The "neutral" rating is because of the condition of the leaves for half of the year and for the unusual fragrance of the flowers. The Michelia Alba, however, I would give a positive rating to because the fragrance is sweet and wonderful, and the leaves don't have the same tendency to brown and shed.

Positive Heavenlygarden On Jan 28, 2003, Heavenlygarden from Thousand Oaks, CA wrote:

I LOVE THIS TREE. Here in Los Angeles when we first planted this tree, it bloomed intensely from Spring to Summer with light intermittent bloom in Fall. Beautiful 2" across blooms along the branches, in between leaves. Heavenly citrus/honeysuckle type smell from yellow-orange flowers.

Lush, bright lime green leaves, to 10" long, which due to their shape, most people mistake it for an Avocado upon first sight. Tree has an overall Christmas tree like shape. We've had ours (purchased a 24" box) planted for 3 years now, and it's 20' tall and 10' wide (they tend not to be as tall in cultivation...a friend of ours has had one for 7 years and it's about 28' tall)

From the Eastern Himalayans. A highly unusual tree and somewhat rare. Every person who sees it comments on how beautiful it is.

We have encountered a severe Chlorosis problem that is compounded by clay soil, which we are treating with Chelated Iron. So be wary of clay heavy soil and Chlorosis...if you have heavy soil, watch out for salt burn as well. Ours is remedied by flushing salts out with deep watering to 18" (which is the preferrable way to water trees anyway, so it works out well)

From the Magnolia family, so it prefers the same type of food/care (i.e., no lime, likes slightly acidic soil). We've found this tree to be semi-deciduous in our area for the winter, but rallies quickly once the temperatures in the evening are consistently 60 or above.

As this tree is from the Himalayas, it can take cold, but will be deciduous in a winter type climate. Once established, not fussy at all, and quite a stunner.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Claremont, California
Cypress, California
Escondido, California
Fremont, California
Lafayette, California
Los Angeles, California
Ontario, California
Perris, California
Redondo Beach, California
Seal Beach, California
Tustin, California
Vista, California
Fort Lauderdale, Florida (2 reports)
Hollywood, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Lake Worth, Florida
Mulberry, Florida
Naples, Florida
North Port, Florida
Rockledge, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Titusville, Florida
Hana, Hawaii
Richmond, Texas

We recommend Firefox
Overwhelmed? There's a lot to see here. Try starting at our homepage.

[ Home | About | Advertise | Media Kit | Mission | Featured Companies | Submit an Article | Terms of Use | Tour | Rules | Privacy Policy | Contact Us ]

Back to the top

Copyright © 2000-2015 Dave's Garden, an Internet Brands company. All Rights Reserved.

Hope for America