Magnolia Alba can be an elegant addition to the garden thanks to its mesmerizing white flowers. Here’s all about how to grow it!
If you’re eager to plant the elegant and enchanting Magnolia Alba, this guide will provide you with essential tips and techniques to help you successfully grow this beautiful flowering tree.
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Magnolia Alba Information
Magnolia Alba, also known as the white sandalwood or white jade orchid tree, is a flowering plant that is extensively grown in Southeast Asia and tropical areas of East Asia. It is believed to be a hybrid of Magnolia champaca and Magnolia montana, although its precise origin remains uncertain.
Referred to as Cempaka Putih in Indonesian, Magnolia Alba is characterized by its tall stature, reaching up to 30 meters, and retains its evergreen leaves throughout the year. The flowers of this plant consist of 12 tepals.
Valued for its highly aromatic blossoms, Magnolia × alba is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant in various parts of Asia, particularly in the tropical and subtropical regions of China and Southeast Asia.
Botanical Name: Magnolia x soulangiana ‘Alba’
USDA Zones: 5-9a
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Propagating Magnolia Alba
For planting Magnolia Alba outdoors, it is recommended to choose a timeframe from mid-fall to mid-spring. Prior to planting, prepare the soil by incorporating an ample amount of well-rotted manure or compost into a hole that is 2 or 3 times wider than the pot but not deeper. When planting, ensure that the roots are spread out and positioned near the surface while the top roots remain exposed. Finally, apply a layer of mulch on top of the soil.
- Softwood cuttings can be taken during the spring to early summer period. Start by cleanly cutting stems up to a length of 4 inches (10 cm).
- Remove the lower leaves and pinch out the tip of the stem. Next, dip the cut end of the stem into the rooting hormone.
- Prepare a container or pot with suitable compost. Create holes around the edge of the container and plant the cuttings, making sure they are well-positioned.
- After planting Magnolia Alba cutting, water the cuttings thoroughly. To create a conducive environment for rooting, cover the container with a polythene bag and place it in a warm location.
- Twice a week, remove the bag to allow the cuttings to get some fresh air.
- Throughout the rooting process, ensure that the cuttings remain moist.
- Once they are well-rooted, gradually acclimate them to outdoor conditions by hardening them off.
- Transfer the rooted cuttings to individual pots, providing more airflow to allow the leaves to develop.
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Requirements for Growing Magnolia Alba
Magnolia Alba generally prefers full sun to partial shade. It thrives when exposed to at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day. However, in regions with intense summer heat, it may benefit from some afternoon shade to prevent stress and sunburn on the leaves.
Choose a location for your Magnolia Alba that provides ample space for the tree to grow. It should have enough room for the tree to reach its mature height and spread without overcrowding or competing with other plants.
The plant prefers slightly acidic to neutral soil with a pH range of 5.5 to 7.0. The soil should be loamy and well-draining, as Magnolia Alba is sensitive to waterlogged conditions. Avoid heavy clay soils that retain too much moisture.
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Incorporating organic matter into the soil improves its fertility, moisture retention, and drainage. Add compost, well-rotted manure, or leaf mold to the planting hole or mix it into the existing soil. This enhances the soil structure and provides a nutrient-rich environment for the Magnolia Alba‘s roots.
Once the Magnolia Alba plant is established, it does not require frequent watering. However, during the summer season, it is important to provide adequate water to prevent stress and dehydration.
It is essential to avoid constantly wet soil, as it can lead to root problems. Therefore, it is recommended to allow the soil to dry out on the surface between waterings.
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Magnolia Alba Care
For younger white champaca trees in the process of establishing their root system, it is advisable to use a fertilizer with an N-P-K ratio of 15-15-15. This balanced ratio ensures the tree receives essential nutrients for healthy growth.
On the other hand, mature and established Magnolia Alba trees can benefit from a blooming fertilizer with an N-P-K ratio of 7-9-5. This ratio is specifically formulated to support and enhance the flowering process, promoting vibrant blooms and overall plant health.
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Do refer to the label for dosage and instructions.
Due to its naturally tidy shape, the Magnolia Alba rarely needs pruning. However, some light grooming during the growing season can enhance its appearance and maintain a neat look.
To ensure the tree’s optimal shape, remove any problematic growth, such as suckers, water sprouts, or dead branches, by making clean cuts at the base using sturdy and sharp pruning shears.
By selectively removing these unwanted elements, you can keep Magnolia Alba in a well-groomed condition.
Pests and Diseases
Magnolia Alba is generally resistant to pests, but scales may infest twigs. Magnolia scale is the most common, and you can control it with horticultural oil.
Diseases are rare, but leaf spots and cankers may occur. Prune infected branches, fertilize regularly, and address Verticillium wilt if present.