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



Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are fragrant

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Blooms repeatedly

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Scottsdale, Arizona


Calabasas, California

Carlsbad, California

Escondido, California

Fremont, California

Lafayette, California

Los Angeles, California

Modesto, 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

Apopka, Florida

Boca Raton, Florida

Brandon, Florida

Casselberry, Florida

Clermont, Florida

Cocoa Beach, Florida(2 reports)

Davenport, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida(3 reports)

Jacksonville, Florida

Kenansville, Florida

Key West, Florida

Kissimmee, Florida(6 reports)

Lake Mary, Florida(2 reports)

Lakeland, Florida(2 reports)

Longboat Key, Florida

Miami, Florida(2 reports)

Mulberry, Florida

North Palm Beach, Florida

Orlando, Florida(6 reports)

Palm Beach, Florida

Port Saint Lucie, Florida

Saint Cloud, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Sanford, Florida(2 reports)

West Palm Beach, Florida

Winter Haven, Florida(2 reports)

Winter Park, Florida(2 reports)

Zephyrhills, Florida(3 reports)

Norcross, Georgia

Cato, New York

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Kermit, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 1, 2020, Ompus from Miami, FL wrote:

I planted my Michelia alba (Magnolia x alba) around 2000. The fragrance is awesome. It was extremely unhappy. I was told it hates to be moved, but since it was going to die anyway, I moved it to an area with plenty of sun but where the roots were shaded and the soil especially rich.

The tree is 45 feet tall and I prune it annually to keep it under control. My expectation was 20'. 30' tops (it wasn't exactly common when I planted it in the late 90s).

Because of my error, the tree is too close to my pool. But I choose to live with it. Every spring it flushes new leaves and dumps the old. Not really much worse than many other trees, but you should anticipate that it *could* get 40' - 50' in South Florida if you luck upon a perfect spot.


On May 3, 2020, RBLick from Longboat Key, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

I absolutely love this tree, and it grows like a weed here in zone 10a. I first bought one @10ft tall in 2011, and as we live on an island off the Gulf coast of Florida, our yard is prone to flooding with brackish water during storm season. We were promised by the seller that the Alba is salt tolerant...we found out the hard way that it is not at all salt tolerant.

At any rate, I built a 6' x 4' raised bed when I chanced across another 10-footer about 4 years ago. It is now over 25' tall and loaded with the fragrant white blooms 9 months out of the year. I'm starting to worry that it may grow TOO tall, as it's still a young tree though somehow all of the info I find says "can grow to 15' and possibly taller." Our only maintenance is a drip-type irrigation system for 15 minut... read more


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 .


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 wi... read more


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... read more


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 ... read more


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 gre... read more


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 wee... read more


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.


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 you... read more


On Dec 25, 2004, Clare_CA from Ventura,
United States (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.