Fragrant Champaca Information: Tips On Caring For Champaca Trees

Fragrant Champaca Information: Tips On Caring For Champaca Trees

Fragrant champaca trees make romantic additions to your garden. These broad-leaf evergreens, bear the scientific name of Magnolia champaca, but were formerly called Michelia champaca. For more fragrant champaca information including tips about caring for champaca trees, read on.

Fragrant Champaca Information

For gardeners unfamiliar with this small garden beauty, the tree is in the magnolia family and native to Southeast Asia. Fragrant champaca trees don’t get larger than 30 feet (9 m.) tall and wide. They have a slender, light gray trunk and a rounded crown and are often trimmed into a lollypop shape.

If you are growing champaca magnolias, you’ll love the yellow/orange flowers. They appear in summer and last through early autumn. The fragrance from the tree’s blossoms is intense and perfumes your entire garden and backyard. In fact, the flower smell is so lovely that it is used to make the most expensive perfume in the world.

The tree’s leaves grow to 10 inches (25 cm.) long and stay on the tree all year. They are green, slender and shiny. The seed groups form in summer, then drop in winter. The fruits also form in summer and drop in winter.

Growing Champaca Magnolias

If you are interested in growing fragrant champaca trees, you’ll want information on their cultural requirements. First, be sure you live in a warm region. Champaca plant care starts with siting the tree in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 through 11.

If you are buying a container plant, here’s what you need to know about caring for champaca trees. They will thrive in almost any soil and, while they prefer a location with morning sun, they tolerate shade.

Caring for champaca trees involves lots of water, initially. You’ll have to irrigate your plants regularly and generously until they are established. At that point, you can water them less.

Propagating a Champaca Tree

If you are wondering how to grow fragrant champaca from seed, it is possible. If there are fragrant champaca trees on your street or a nearby park, it is even easier.

Start growing champaca magnolias from seed by harvesting the fruit. Wait until the fruit ripens in fall, then remove some from the tree. Put them in a dry place until they split open, revealing the seeds inside.

Lightly sand down parts of the seeds with sandpaper and nick them with a knife. Then soak them in hot water for 24 hours until they double in size. It will also make champaca plant care easier if you treat the seeds before planting with a fungicide.

Plant the seeds, just barely covered, in acidic potting soil and spray to keep the soil constantly moist. Keep them covered with plastic wrap to increase humidity. Keep them very warm (85 degrees F. or 29 degrees C.) until they germinate.

How to Graft a Champaca Tree

The champaca (Michelia champaca) is a species of fragrant flowering tree within the magnolia genus. It is also called the yellow jade orchid tree, fragrant champaca, Himalayan champaca or magnolia champaca. An evergreen native to Southern Asia, it is best suited to U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 and 11. Although the champaca eventually reaches 25 to 30 feet tall and wide at full maturity, it is an extremely slow grower and bloomer, sometimes taking as long as 10 years to produce flowers. Trees sprouted from grafts tend to bloom in as little as 1 to 2 years, significantly faster than those grown from seed. Grafting forces a small piece of vegetative tissue to regrow the parts it needs to survive. You must locate a champaca and and get permission to cut a small branch from it. This small branch, called a scion, will be the beginnings of your new tree.Trees from the magnolia family graft best when cuttings are taken at the semi-hardwood stage of growth, which occurs just after a major growth spurt in mid-July to early fall.

Magnolia Species, Fragrant Himalayan Magnolia, Joy Perfume Tree, Yellow Jade Orchid Tree

Family: Magnoliaceae
Genus: Magnolia (mag-NO-lee-a) (Info)
Species: champaca (cham-PAK-uh) (Info)
Synonym:Michelia champaca
Synonym:Michelia tsiampacca var. champaca


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater

Sun Exposure:


Foliage Color:




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:


Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

From seed germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Scarify seed before sowing

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:

Vista, California(9 reports)

Fort Lauderdale, Florida(2 reports)

Lake Mary, Florida(2 reports)

Gardeners' Notes:

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

On Jan 22, 2019, lancer23 from San Francisco, CA wrote:

This is a very popular tree because the flowers are so fragrant. So much so that people are stealing my flowers. I killed one by up rooted it from the ground (to prevent theft) by re-locating it. Now I have another one in a pot which bloom even when its so small 2ft.
The fragrance is very strong and intoxicating, if you have not yet smell it before, you have to.

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?

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.

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. Th. read more at fragrance outside my front door makes it all worth it.

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!

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 . read more foundation. The trunk is about 5 inches in diameter - can it survive if we transplant it in winter?

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 re. read more ally 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.

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.

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.

On Dec 4, 2003, Clare_CA from Ventura,
United States (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. read more because the fragrance is sweet and wonderful, and the leaves don't have the same tendency to brown and shed.

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 com. read more ments 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.

Need some tips for care for my white Michelia Champaca tree

First off how many times was your tree fed? Secondly did you by any chance prune the tree during the season? And last is the tree protected from heavy winds and direct sunlight?

@Janet Pizaro Lightly trimmed last Spring. Has not been fed, ever! No problem with sunlight. Winds: went thru 3 hurricanes awhile back,, came out ok. I think it needs food! not sure what to put on, I think it's an acid lover, not quite sure. I guess after years of doing it's thing it just got hungry. Thanks for the input.

Since the tree has been in the ground for a while and it has flowered heavily years before, then I suggest fertilizing in the spring. I use Alaskan fish fertilizer especially when I think there is a soil or micro-organism issue. I would give it doses of this now every week. It is at any Lowe's or Home Depot and comes in a white bottle. stinks but i have brought sick plants and soil back to life with this stuff. Then come spring fertilize for flowers. I do not use coffee grinds but I do keep my plants mulched in the ground with at least 4" of wood mulch. I hope this helps.

Thanks much! I have the fish stuff but never put it on that tree. It's not mulched, have a lot of flowering peanut growing under it, guess I'll have to clean that area up. Thanks again.

@Wayne Z I believe the fish fertilizer will be good for the soil since it helps with the microbes. Happy gardening

How do you plant michelia Champaca?

A white champaca in full sun needs more frequent feedings, regardless of age. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of fertilizer in 1 gallon of water. Replace one or two weekly waterings with the fertilizer solution in early spring and summer. Reduce feeding by one-half in late summer and early fall, and stop feeding entirely in winter.

Beside above, what is Champaca flower? Magnolia champaca, known in English as champak, is a large evergreen tree in the family Magnoliaceae. It was previously classified as Michelia champaca. It is known for its fragrant flowers, and its timber used in woodworking.

Subsequently, one may also ask, how do you plant michelia Alba?

Michelia (Michelia alba)

  1. Plant Feed. Annually with organic matter.
  2. Watering. Water regularly until established.
  3. Soil. Ordinary, well-drained soil.
  4. Basic Care Summary. Best in organic-rich, well-drained soil. Water freely in dry weather. Prune back as needed, after flowering.

What does Champaca smell like?

It does not smell like a flower. It has a strong characteristics of "dried organic matter" wherein the sweetness is accompanied by the woody smell of drying leaves and petals. Yes, this champaca is pungent. It is pleasant, too.

Watch the video: Champaka Tree: The evergreen tree