Michelia Alba


Michelia Alba is the most fragrant flowering tree to plant: during the blooming months in warm seasons its flowers emit delicious scents permeating the surrounding space with a cool and comfortable sweetness that holds you back again and again reluctant to leave, within several metres radius. Putting the blooming flowers into small vase with water the sweet fragrance can easily fill up a room lingering around for days: It is a quick flowering tree: for a marcotted or grafted plant in the first year it will certainly flower. It is also a fast growing tree with one year growth over one metre: a less than one metre plant at purchase time can easily reach over 3 metres in two years with multiple side branches. Its evergreen dark leaves have very  little problem with insect pests. In colder places it can be grown in pot and moved into rooms in winter. Sometimes it can even flower in winter time. Michelia Alba's 5-cm long pointed jade white flowers start sending out fragrance as long as the flower tip cracks open and the initial fragrance when the bloom opening is around 10% ~ 30% will be the most intense and intoxicating, each fragrant flower lasts 5 days.  Michelia Alba's flowers give out fragrance under all circumstances regardless time, season, sunshine, temperature and humidity. Matured Michelia Alba tree can reach over 10 metres tall in ground. 

In Sydney Australia each year Michelia Alba blooms from mid-November through to early July, with December/January and March/April being the most profuse flowering days when multiple newly blooming white beauties cracking open releasing strong and far-reaching scents forming an aromatic circle, within 5 metres or more radius each single tree: Michelia Alba's blooming flowers send away their fragrance to a great distance. In cooler months (June - October) Michelia Alba trees might have sporadic flowers, like this photo shows in late June 2021 which was a relatively warm winter with day/night temperatures hovering between 18~3 C°: .

The difficulty to grow Michelia Alba is its tenderness: too cold(< -4 Celsius) could kill it, too hot (high 30's degree Celsius ) will cause leave burns. Soil needs to be damp, soft, foamy and nutritious, humidity needs to be high. It does not need a lot of sunshine and can flower under heavily shady spot, although suitable sunshine tends to render more flower blooming. In mild winter with temperature getting close to or slightly below zero Celsius the tree might shed leaves or even wither its thinner twigs but it usually can withstand these and recover when spring returns. Even in warm seasons it sometimes shed leaves after they turn yellow suddenly, but as long as the main trunk is healthy the tree won't die even with a lot of leave falling: on some trees heavy leave shedding could also happen in early spring but by summer the newly growing leaves will cover the tree again.

Growing in pot is OK except the tree will often outgrow its pot so root-pruning will be needed.

Propagation is difficult, rarely the tree produces fertile seeds, so marcotting/air-layering or grafting will be the usual ways to propagate, successful cuttings will be rare. Marcotting & grafting have no guarantee to always succeed.

Some of my Michelia Alba tree photos in Sydney Australia:

Late December 2019: Michelia Alba in ground with 100 blooming flowers:

Michelia Alba Seeds Early 2019:

An 8-Metre tall Michelia Alba tree in Sydney's suburb Vaucluse with blooming flowers sending out delicious fragrance across the streets:


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