Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Dwarf Ylang-Ylang Tree
Cananga odorata var. fruticosa

Family: Annonaceae
Genus: Cananga (kan-AN-guh) (Info)
Species: odorata var. fruticosa

16 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 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:
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
Gold (Yellow-Orange)
Pale Yellow
Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)

Bloom Time:
Blooms all year
Blooms repeatedly


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Flowers are fragrant
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
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 11 photos.
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7 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive thebeautifuleyes On Jul 2, 2012, thebeautifuleyes from stone town zanzibar
Tanzania wrote:

Hi All,
I work and live in stone town zanzibar yes the vacation island, I got a ylang ylang plant 2 years ago from 10 cm high. I grow it in a pot in the house until now it becomes 120cm nice green no flowers yet. Because I live in a other house the plant went outside on a balcony in the wind and sun what happens almost half of the leaves become black. What most I do new bigger pot no fertilizer here so what to do please help do not want to loose the plant.

Positive daddysgirl1800 On Jan 25, 2011, daddysgirl1800 from Lake City, TN wrote:

I have had my ylang Ylang tree now for 2 weeks and it is doing wonderful! I put it in the window to get full sun during the day, and only water when the soil gets dry. It is about 2 feet tall, and full of nice green leaves. I am in zone 7, so I hope it will keep doing as nicely as it is right now! I can't wait to see flowers come on it, and smell that wonderful fragrance. I think a humidifier may do nicely also, so I am purchasing one this week since they love high humidity conditions.

Positive SierraTigerLily On May 3, 2010, SierraTigerLily from Boca Raton, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

Mine lost most of its leaves during the two cold snaps this winter, but it's fully leafed out now, two months later.

Positive pongsak On Sep 4, 2007, pongsak from Chiang Mai
Thailand (Zone 11) wrote:

Before sunset, the flowers of this plant which have already turned yellow are very fragrant. During the day, the fragrance is quite mild.

Positive mantis212 On Jul 31, 2007, mantis212 from Roslyn, NY (Zone 7a) wrote:

This my fourth growing season with my 1st one. It is about 3 1/2' tall and I have it in a 20 gl black nursery pot. Cananga fruiticosa's scent is subtle but if you have ever bought the pure extract of the Cananga Odorata you know how intoxicating it is.
This is my experience ....
I drag it out of the house in spring and It looks pretty raggedy. I give it a good rinse with the hose set it in the shade and slowly move into the sun over the course of spring. When the night time temps here in Long Island stay above 50 degrees I start feeding. May to June it flushes out with large lime green stems and leaves, fills out nicely. July and August at the ends of almost every stem it produces and endless stream of these sexy long yellow "strappy" 4-5 " long 4 petaled flowers. I have noticed the scent is much stronger in the evening and early morning and more so when it is very humid. No major pest problems that I have encountered. Except spider mites, they in winter 05-06' caused such a disaster I thought I lost it. The spider mites completely defoliated the plant and even had major stem dieback. (I purchased another from Tops Tropical's. This one was much smaller quart size root ball and 12" tall but amazingly came with a few flowers already.) Luckily it was the beginning of spring and I was able to get my pot with a trunk and a few stems outside and wash it down and cross my fingers and toes. By the end of that summer it had fully recovered and bloomed (Although not as profuse.)
In Fall when the night temps fall near 40, I bring it in. I feel leaving it out till then slows the growth almost to dormancy. Growth in the house tends to be rangy so I try to minimize it by letting it dry out between waterings but it always lets me know when its to dry the leaves start to droop.
Both my Dwarf Ylangs are covered with buds right now and I can't wait. I noticed the comments on lack of smell and I can say with mine there is no smell till the flower turns from green to yellow and then for a few nights they have that special scent that is just like the extract. Once they start to brown the scent fades. Each flower has a delicate smell but when the whole plant is in full bloom it is worth every minute of all my attention.
I love my Dwarf Ylang Ylang, it is one of my favorite plants in my collection.

Neutral mind_84 On Jul 18, 2007, mind_84 from Bay City, TX wrote:

My 2-year old CO Fruticosa is about 2 ft. high and is always full of flowers. It gets at least 6 hrs of full sun. Just like clare_CA, I have yet to smell its 'fragrance'. It does have a scent, but it is *very* mild; it increases slightly when the flowers turn yellow.

Positive Clare_CA On May 14, 2005, Clare_CA from (Zone 10b) wrote:

I have owned my Cananga odorata var fruticosa for a couple of years now. It was purchased from Natural Selections Exotics in Florida. Despite my best efforts, I have been unable to detect a fragrance from the flowers so far. The whole plant has a hearty musky smell, which becomes stronger when a leaf is crushed, but nothing like the Chanel No. 5 fragrance that it is known for. I have moved my tree to different growing conditions to see if the new environment will encourage scent from the flowers. It has just been moved from filtered sun to full sun.

Multilingual Multiscript Plant Name Database lists these Canangas:

Cananga latifolia (Hook. f. & Thomson) Finet & Gagnep.
Cananga odorata (Lam.) Hook. f. & Thomson A
Cananga odorata (Lam.) Hook. f. & Thomson var. fruticosa (Craib) Corner
Cananga odorata (Lam.) Hook. f. & Thomson var. macrophylla hort. -> ?
Cananga odorata (Lam.) Hook. f. & Thomson var. odorata

SYNONYM(S) : Canangium fruticosum Craib, Canangium odoratum (Lam.) Baill. ex King, , Unona odorata (Lam.) Baill. (W3Trop), Unona odorata (Lam.) Dun. (Mansf), Uvaria odorata Lam. (W3Trop), Uvaria axillaris Roxb.

One article states that the Cananga odorata var fruticosa reaches 2 m (6.6 feet) and has more numerous flowers and more curly flowers than the regular Cananga odorata. It also points out that it is said that this variety never sets fruit.

This tree is valued for its ability to flower and stay small, and its sale price is often very high.

Positive lmelling On Dec 28, 2004, lmelling from Ithaca, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

I could find no listings for the dwarf var. fruticosa, so I am listing the information for Cananga odorata:
A handsome tropical tree reaching 80 feet in the wild. It has pendulous, rather brittle branches and large, glossy green leaves. The flowers are long, twisted, and drooping with greenish-yellow petals and a heavy perfume. The flowers appear mostly in fall in thick clusters at the leaf axils. They are followed by small greenish fruit. 'Ylang-Ylang' is this tree's Malasian name. The tree is widely grown in Hawaii for the perfume industry. Zones 11-12.


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

Van Nuys, California
Boca Raton, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Key West, Florida
Miami, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Pompano Beach, Florida
Punta Gorda, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Lake City, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
Bay City, Texas

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