Magnolia/Michelia chapensis

Discussion in 'Magnoliaceae' started by Junglekeeper, Nov 2, 2005.

  1. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    1. What is the typical size of this tree? Its height is 8-15m according to the grower.
    2. What is the fragrance of its flower?
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2005
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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  3. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Hi, Ron. You're right about the factors influencing tree size. I'm sure I wouldn't recognize many of my houseplants in their native habitats. I thought Saxy Fraga, who had mentioned this tree in another thread, could provide a rough idea of its size in Mission (which is close to Vancouver where I am).

    My tree is growing nicely on my balcony but is about to hit the ceiling. I may need to find a home for it outside unless I cut it back the same way I did with my M. maudiae which incidentally has grown a new leader. For that matter I may need to let go of them both to make room for my citrus collection. I'm hoping they'll produce some flowers next spring before that happens.
     
  4. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Junglekeeper, what are your size constraints
    for this Michelia? How tall can you let it get
    before you have to cut it back? What is your
    zone in Western Garden Book outdoor terms?
    How long have you had this tree and about
    how old is it?

    Jim
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Thing is, these are probably seedlings. Even vegetatively propagated clones vary. So, you will never be able to get an exact prediction - it just isn't possible. Many tree species routinely give dwarves, giants and ones in between from seed.

    If it looks like it has too much vigor for your requirements now, it will probably continue to do so for quite awhile.
     
  6. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Hey, Ron and Jim.

    The chapensis was 46" when purchased in February and is now 80" - about 10" inches from the ceiling. The maudiae was 41" after pruning and is now 53". And of course they're also getting wider all the time. (Now you see why I'm Junglekeeper.) I think the current year is the 2nd for chapensis and the 3rd for maudiae. They were both 1-gal specimens at the time of purchase. They're supposed to be okay for z8/Vancouver but I think they'll need a somewhat protected location.

    I know I'll have to find a new home for them; it's just a matter of when. They are just too robust to be grown indoors. Besides, like I said, I need room for my citrus. I'd like to be able to give the new owner an idea of what to expect in terms of size and fragrance.
     
  7. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Junglekeeper, you have kind of put me in a bind
    if you have designs of later giving away this tree.
    I'll stay quiet after this post because of it.

    We had this tree in the nursery but it was in Don
    Kleim's collection. Ron, what zone would he be
    for a Western Garden Book designation as the zone
    8 does not seem right to me. If it is a zone 8 there
    is no major drawback growing this Michelia outdoors
    and the height factor was not a problem for us. Don's
    started to grow much wider than tall once it got up to
    about 10' tall. Pretty much how my Wilsonii has grown
    for me here as well. Grew tall fast and then started to
    branch out, widen and fill in and then the top growth
    really slows down after that.

    I agree that this tree probably came from seed. Don's
    old plant was propagated from a cutting as was my
    Wilsonii.

    Jim
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Where was Don? Of course, that may not be central to the point. These newish evergreen magnolias have not been widely grown up here until recently, long term experience is mostly absent. Trees have to be grown for decades before enough is known to start calling them hardy. Even then, if one grows for 30 or 40 years and then freezes to the ground, is it apt to call it hardy here? I think a plant has to be reliable more or less indefinitely to be so dubbed, otherwise the term becomes meaningless. 'Semi-hardy' or 'almost hardy' are already in use for plants that aren't completely reliable.

    Last edition of Sunset Western Garden Book should not have zoned the evergreen magnolias (michelias) for the PNW that they did, as far as I know no local long-term trial has been conducted on these. The Hogan-Sanderson plantings that have been claimed as proof of hardiness in Portland are not very old at all. An M. compressa at the Seattle arboretum apparently froze out after growing there for decades - although I do not know for sure now that it was killed by cold and not by honey fungus or another pathogen. My recollection is simply that it failed and was removed after a hard winter (probably 1990).
     
  9. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Hi Ron:

    I hear you and know what you are saying. I agree
    with your assessments on cold hardy and even cold
    tolerant designations. That is why I did not write
    a word in that one Citrus thread I started as I knew
    you were correct in your line of thought.

    You already know we have no real validation that
    many of these plants can survive long term cold
    temperatures. We can get lucky for a few years
    and not see any ill effects and then wham, one
    Winter the tree dies out on us. Then we may say
    to ourselves it was colder last year and the year
    before or it was much colder 10 years ago, what
    happened this year? I have the belief that the cold
    in conjunction with something else such as a disease
    and in many cases over fertilization causes the trees
    eventual demise more so than intense cold by itself
    but with some plants we are not sure of what caused
    the plant to perish but most people tend to blame it
    solely on the cold.

    In a nutshell some people writing books and contributors
    of composite books did not want Don's opinion until they
    wanted information about a plant and had no where else
    to turn to find out much. Even then Don would not tell
    them anything unless he wanted to as he already knew he
    was their last choice for them to come to. There are
    many people's names associated with Michelias and
    Magnolias on the West Coast that got their start in
    those plants from Don or attained much of their
    specialty stock from Don. He was into Magnolias
    long before he was going allover Japan to find Maples
    and Conifers to have sent to him later. As a side note:
    certain Japanese, in the 30's and earlier, had contacts
    in China and Korea and if some of them wanted a plant
    they knew who to get one from but they kept mum about
    such things for a long time unless a person was invited
    in to learn this stuff from the inside. People did not get
    in from the outside unless they were invited in.

    Jim
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2005
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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  11. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    I'd say the tree in the photo would be a tight squeeze for my balcony ;)
     
  12. Dee M.

    Dee M. Active Member 10 Years

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    This is an interesting discussion for me. I agree, in my opinion some books and growers are being too optimistic about how hardy some plants are in this area. A lot of star jasmines, and others, are being planted because of that and because of people's short memories. I remember some cold winters well. I try and warn them but it makes little difference. I only hope they remember enough not to come back and blame me when it dies. Or maybe global warming is really going to change our climate for good but all the scientists say it is too early to say. I also agree that, in general, we do not have good conditions for hardening of plants. I have been more aware of the dangers of over fertilizing because of reading discussions on this forum.
     

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