California Gardens - The Year Round Gardening Site

Michelia figo - Banana Bush

Michelia figo, or Banana Shrub has forgetable flowers but a pungent fragrance, particularly in the early morning. Once you smell Michelia figo you may never forget it. The creamy white flowers are about an inch across and edged with red or purple. The flowers are usually burried in the foliage and not an important part of the show. The lush green foliage is and so is the fragrance. Michelia figo grows to 10 feet or so in most gardens and up to 20 feet or more in Southern China where the Banana Shrub is often used as a screen or hedge. Michelia figo is widly tolerant of soil conditions. I have found the Banana Shrub performs better in light shade or strongly reflected light. Michelia figo is reasonably drought tolerant. Banana Shrub plants will struggle if temperatures dip below 25-28°. Michelia figo is the name I most often see used for this plant in the nurseries, but it is more accurately called Magnolia figo due to a recent name change.

Michelia figo, Banana Bush

A string of fuzzy buds, future fragrant flowers of Michelia figo - Banana Bush. High resolution photos are part of our garden image collection.

Other plant pages from the genus Michelia featured on this site:
Michelia yunnanensis