Plant Type
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History of Michelia 'Allspice'

Michelia is a native of China that gained a big following in America a century ago. There are about 45 species of trees and shrubs in the genus, but few are commercially available in the United States. The one that took the South by storm—and still has a following today—is banana shrub (Michelia figo). 

'Allspice' is a cross between Michelia figo and the related Michelia doltsopa. Plants grown in sun tend to be shorter and take on a multistemmed appearance, while those in shade are taller and often have a single leader. The narrow, glossy leaves of Michelia 'Allspice' make the perfect foil for white flowers that bear the scent of ripe bananas (hence the common name banana shrub). Flowers peak in spring and early summer but continue to open sporadically throughout summer.

Michelia 'Allspice' Care Must-Knows

'Allspice' is easy to grow in a suitable climate. This plant is hardy in Zones 9 and 10 and will survive in Zone 8 if put in a sheltered location. Plant 'Allspice' in sun or part sun, and in moist, well-drained soil. A slightly acidic, sandy soil amended with compost is most preferable. Water regularly after planting to establish a deep, extensive root system. Once established, this plant is better able to tolerate dry weather; however, like magnolias, it does better with even moisture. Prune the plant after it finishes blooming, or let it slowly mature on its own. Scale insects are sometimes a problem but can be treated with horticultural oil spray.

Landscaping With Michelia 'Allspice'

With its slow growth rate and modest mature size, 'Allspice' suits most yards—even small ones. It reacts well to pruning and can even be turned into an espalier. Because of this plant's evergreen looks and scented perfume, it makes an attractive specimen to grow near an entryway or by a patio or deck. Plant 'Allspice' along a fence line for privacy, or near a window to enjoy the heady fragrance. Use it to form a striking privacy hedge or backdrop for an annual or perennial border. It can also be grown as an understory tree beneath a large shade tree.

'Allspice' makes a good companion for other shrubs such as viburnum, ligustrum, nandina, loropetalum, lantana, and bougainvillea.

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