Fragrant Champaca Information: Tips On Caring For Champaca Trees

(Image credit: ChViroj)

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. They offer generous crops of large, showy golden flowers. 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 12. 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.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.