Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Michelia champace is barely 4 feet tall; can it have a flower bud?

I think I may see a small flower bud on Joy Magnolia, Michelia champaca. I bought this plant two and a half years ago from Dragon Agro Products at the Philadelphia Flower Show. The floral fragrance is the main constituent in the exorbitantly expensive perfume "Joy". I remember it costing 55 dollars and having just a handful (fewer than 10) leaves; something about $10 per leaf sticks in my head. It's made good progress over the past couple of years. It's four feet tall, has a trunk as big around as my thumb, and now possesses more than 100 leaves. I like the fact that it's nicely branched too, with dozens of small branches. The only other plants I've seen in real life are those at the US Botanic Garden and they are very tall and only lightly branched far up the trunk. I guess it is, after all, grown for timber where it occurs naturally.

I'm not sure what to do with this one. I think it'll be hardy in the Florida garden but likes more water than it will receive from rainfall and most of the year no one is there to water it. I noticed GrayC has this on a list of desired plants for the Herb Garden so I'll donate some cuttings if it seems likely they will root. A quick check online for propagation techniques suggests seed propagation and grafting are the primary techniques and layering is occasionally useful. I see nothing about rooting cutting. I'll continue research.

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