Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: White Champak, Pak-Ian, Fragrant Himalayan Champaca, Joy Perfume Tree, White Sandalwood
Magnolia x alba

Family: Magnoliaceae
Genus: Magnolia (mag-NO-lee-a) (Info)
Species: x alba

Synonym:Michelia x alba

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

14 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 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:
White/Near White

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:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
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

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There are a total of 21 photos.
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8 positives
No neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative bambooguy On May 4, 2014, bambooguy from Port Charlotte, FL wrote:

I planted this tree at least four years ago and it has grown to the height of nine feet . It's a healthy tree in sun and shade .The last fertilizer i used was 15/30/15 about six weeks ago .I live in southwest fla . This tree has never bloomed . I ' ve tried near everything ' with no results . Does anyone have any ideas on that ? Thanks in advance . bambooguy .

Positive PeonyDays On Jun 6, 2013, PeonyDays from San Leandro, CA wrote:

I love my Michelia Alba - this is my 2nd one. My 1st one was purchased from the San Francisco Flower Mart and I grew it in a large container inside my apartment in San Francisco for about 2 years and had to give it to a friend to put in the ground since it got a bit tall and the tip of the main upright branch started to lop to one side as it was reaching the ceiling. Unfortunately that first winter it was in the ground in San Leandro, CA there were a couple of days of extreme low temp for which the ground freeze and the Michelia Alba died.

I got my current Michelia Alba from a Vietnamese-Chinese vendor in San Jose's Lion Gate Shopping Center in May of 2010 - I immediately transplanted it to a large fiberglass container and left it on my south facing balcony. The first winter we moved it indoors on especially cold nights. The 2nd winter we just left it out on the balcony. It's given me a lot of blooms.

Last autumn (2012) I went on a 2-week trip and when I came back, the tree looked almost dead, most of the leaves had dropped and those few still hanging on were yellow or brown. I was very upset. I didn't give it any special treatment to get the leaves to come back but only watered it profusely every day for the next 2 weeks, gave it a handful of slow-release fertilizer that I had bought from the same vendor -- I was told the fertilizer was specially formulated in Taiwan for Michelia Albas.

Slowly over the course of the next couple of months the leaves started to come back, but the mature leaves were 2/3 the size they used to be. But now my tree is less bushy than it used to be, but it still produced lots of very fragrant flowers, however, they flowered late, the first buds didn't come in till late March when in prior years I would see my first bud in late January. I am very happy my tree appears to have recovered and is thriving again, although the leaves are a lot yellower than previously, but there are next to no leaf drop, definitely no bud drops at all.

Two weeks ago I fed it Encap Fast Acting Iron to green it up some and it appears to be working. I am hoping it will be back to it's normal self by next Spring...

Here in San Leandro, CA, I water (totally drench) my potted Michelia Alba every day from March through November, and every other day from December through February. I give it a handful of Fertilizer once a month. It gets full morning sun and good afternoon sun. I think the afternoon sun is burning some of the leaves but I have no way to shelter it in the afternoon on an exposed balcony. It does get pretty windy sometimes on the balcony and it has held up well.

Hope yours fairs well!

Positive Ikniqpalik On Feb 6, 2011, Ikniqpalik from Anchorage, AK wrote:

I got a Michelia x Alba Joy Perfume tree from a vendor down in Florida around mid-December 2010, &, it had a number of leaves with curious holes in the leaves, but, no seen pests, ever.
I now know that it's because areas of certain leaves develop 'dead areas', usually doing some roll-up also.
I also get other leaves, slowly turning yellowish, then, falling off, total of leaf 'fall-off' maybe 3-4 a week, sometimes more, sometimes less.

I'm feeding it DynaGro's Foliage Pro & Chelated Iron in clean, non-tap water, &, then watering it when my Rapitest Moisture Meter reads 6 or less, as, I don't know what mark I should use to water it when.

I also have a area-wide infestation of Fungus Gnats, &, this tree seems to be a magnet for the hated Spider Mite.
I am about to get some 'beneficial insects/bugs' to help eradicate these pests, &, have already talked 'at-length' with a Lab Expert at one place that sells them, because I am tired of having to keep spraying cool water on it almost every night!

Despite the fact that it is, like all of my 34 other plants I have here in my apartment (more soon to come!), planted in Natures Premium Potting Soil (not 'organic' because it has Perlite, necessary for draining),&, that I have been using the Foliage Pro/Chelated Iron mix for at least two, if not, three weeks, it still has a ph of 7, if not somewhat higher, like 7.5.

I have them growing under good LED grow lights, which are also growing Guava trees, Tree Tomato, Lady Finger Banana, Gardenias, Cinnamon tree, Star Fruit tree, Surinam Cherry tree, four varieties of Jasmine Sambacs,
Elephant Tree, Dwarf Mulberry tree, four varieties of Crown-Of-Thorns, Kentia Palm, two types of Brunfelsias, Sapodilla tree, etc, and,they are all growing quite vigourously.

I would like to solicit some comments as to what I may need to try, to get it in 'prime' shape; it's had no flowers yet, tho, I've seen lately, 4 or 5 buds that look rather like they could be flowers-in-the-making.
Could anyone send me a photo of a branch tip with flower buds, before the petals start showing, up fairly close, so I'll know, &, so I can tell my friends, so they'll be alerted of their imminent arrival?

Positive subuch On Jan 2, 2011, subuch from Lafayette, CA wrote:

This plant satisfies even the most finicky fragrance gardener. Its form, foliage and fragrance are a complete delight. Once established, the profusion of blooms and length of blooming season are far better than many books would have you believe. Mine has bloomed in an unprotected Zone 9a-b garden location for Christmas, filling the cool air with its complex tropical perfume. It withstands summer heat over 100F and winter nights reaching below 34F with nary a complaint.

Fall 2011 Update: My Michelia alba has grown so tall that a freak wind snapped a 10-foot main stem in half. I am learning that, as the tree matures, the branches become brittle and need support. On the plus side, it blooms for months on end, is pest-free, and requires no protection, even when our temperatures have dropped into the mid- to high-20s.

Positive FL_Ginger On May 3, 2010, FL_Ginger from Saint Petersburg, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Totally LOVE this tree!! Was about 6 feet tall and kind of scrawny when purchased, but 16 months later, it is looking fabulous. And this after surviving our extraordinarily cold winter this year - generally, we don't have a freeze at all, but this year, it was in the 20's (fahrenheit) for like 5 nights, and then stayed around freezing for another week and a half -- made for a very cold 20 day stretch. I lost most of my heliconia, but amazingly, this tree didn't lose that many leaves even, and now it is much more full than before.
The scent is heavenly - perfect. Stays in some bloom most of the time - just not during and after that very cold period. I was afraid it would die, but it is doing great.
Can't say enough good things about this tree. Leaves are large and bright green, and it is in full sun. I look forward to seeing it grow and grow over the years.

Positive zillabug On Dec 19, 2008, zillabug from Cato, NY wrote:

An outstanding Patio Tree. We purchased it last Spring as a 20" cutting (with a couple of feable leaves on it), and it took off! By the end of summer it was 6' tall with several blooms. Here in Central New York,by the time October comes around, the temps are flirting with the freezing mark, so we brought it inside, and hoped for the best. It has been in a 7 gallon container near a south facing sliding glass door, and it's doing great! It does not like to "go dry", and reacts very well to frequent mild feedings. It is mid December, the days are mostly cloudy and short, and it continues to (slowly) grow! I highly recommend this plant as a center piece to their container specimen plants. In mid January the poor plant suffered an infestation of Spider Mites while we were away for two weeks. It never seemed to bounce back, and slowly lost all its leaves. I put it into the greenhouse, but it appeared to go dormat. The cambium tissue is green, but many of the twigs are turning black. We had another Michelia that spent most of November outside before it was brought into the greenhouse; it is in now full bloom (05-04-09). This being our first year with this plant, I'm thinking it may require the dormancy period for a better chance of survival.

Positive chunghsia On Jul 11, 2008, chunghsia from Santa Clara, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

This is one of my favorite fragrant plants. Avoid direct California sun in the first couple years. Need protections during winter storms. After 5 years of pampering, its doing pretty well now. Worth all the troubles though. Its the most popular flower among my visitors.

Positive lopaka On Feb 9, 2007, lopaka from Davie, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

One of my favorites for sure!!
With only a couple of flowers on her you can smell her hundreds of feet away..
The smell is a strong juicy fruit gum smell on a hot humid night..
She likes to be water alot but not soggy..
I give her lots of nutrients and it seems to really make her bloom alot..
My ph on my nutrients is 6.0 - 6.5
The only thing i have to worried about are those little green caterpillars that move very fast if you try to catch it..
The pillar spins a web too and uses the web to escape you..
If you see your leaves with bite marks on them then inspect the leaves..
Look at the leaves and find the one that is curl up on itself you will most likely find him in a coccoon type of web..
One little bugger can set your plant back alot!!

This tree is commonly known as the "Joy Perfume Tree" down here in Florida!
Propagation is nearly impossible,most plants you buy are either grafted or grown from seeds..
Not all plants produce seeds!

Positive Clare_CA On Dec 25, 2004, Clare_CA from (Zone 10b) wrote:

This is one of my most favorite trees for fragrance. It blooms in the spring, summer, and fall here outdoors in Zone 10 and seems to do quite well in a container for several years.

Michelia x alba is a hybrid between Michelia champaca and Michelia montana. It is often incorrectly labeled as Michelia Champaca 'Alba' by commercial enterprizes, but this is incorrect nomenclature.

My tree does produce seeds, and I have gotten one seed to germinate, but most trees are produced by grafting or air-layering. Michelia champaca, the yellow-flowered Michelia, bears seeds which are viable.

The flowers can be picked as they are opening and put in water, and the fragrance will fill the room.


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

Scottsdale, Arizona
Calabasas, California
Cardiff By The Sea, California
Carlsbad, California
Escondido, California
Fremont, California
Lafayette, California
Los Angeles, California
Ontario, California
Perris, California
San Diego, California (2 reports)
San Leandro, California
Santa Clara, California
Santa Rosa, California
Upland, California
Van Nuys, California
Wolcott, Connecticut
Boca Raton, Florida
Brandon, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida (3 reports)
Jacksonville, Florida
Key West, Florida
Miami, Florida
Mulberry, Florida
North Palm Beach, Florida
Palm Beach, Florida
Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Norcross, Georgia
Cato, New York
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Kermit, Texas

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