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quinta-feira, 28 de julho de 2016

Ylang-Ylang in Your Garden and Home

by: Elena Knezhevich

Every perfumista knows the melodic name of ylang-ylang and could recognize and describe its smell, someting like this: heady sweet, bright yellow, dense and feminine, floral with fruity and woody facets. It is harder to depict in words the smell of a real plant. I haven't smelled the real one yet, and everyone who has tried to describe it to me in smells of fruits, sweets and flowers known to me, still has not achieved the goal. I have no idea of the smell and could only guess.
Of course, I have my guiding stars of ylang fragrance in perfumery. I love the harvest series of Amarige by Givenchy, and consider ylang–ylang as the most suitable adorment to it. On my quest for "the most realistic ylang" to extent of my knowledge of what should be real, I found it in Perris Monte Carlo Ylang Ylang Nosy Be Extrait. The same fragrance in EDP is not bad, but the extrait version is breathtakingly beautiful.
Reading about ylang plantations owned by Guerlain, I imagined something very exotic and couldn't dare to dream of having ylang growing in my yard or in a pot. In the meantime, finding and planting rare plants, and talking to people who share my love of gardening, I crept closer to the idea of having my own ylang to finally smell its blooming. It was not easy to find. The only nursery carrying ylang in my area, according to google, reported that it was too expensive to grow such a fast-growing tree with such a low demand. 
My ylang and its aromatic relatives I found in the tropical nursery from Florida, I am grateful to its team for making my dream true and for the information and tips about growing ylang, as well as for pictures I use here in my article. All of them are taken in the ships plants and seeds to almost any destination in the world, in any quantity.

Ylang fruits. They are not edible, very tart, reminiscent of juniper berries, but not poisonous. 

Ylang flowers appear green and not very showy among the leaves until they mature and turn yellow.
Ylang-ylang or Cananga odorata reaches great heights of up to 100 feet in the land of its origin, Southeast Asia. Planted in a warm climate, this beautiful tree with drooping branches and long leaves grows fast and blooms in two to three years after sowing a seed. Its branches are entirely covered with clusters of flowers and dark green oval fruits. The ripe fruits have a black color. Unlike some Annonaceae, Ylang-Ylang fruits are not used in foods; however, they are quite edible and have the tart but pleasant aroma of a conifer or juniper.
In its natural habitat, ylang thrives in humid and very warm weather. Like many tropical plants, it prefers acidic-to-neutral soil rich in nutrients and plenty of water. It is grown for its sweet-smelling flowers—in humid air you will smell them before you see the tree. Picked flowers do not lose their fragrance for a long time and can be used in potpourri to perfume the house, as well as wardrobe fresheners (it also repels moths), in oils, homemade creams and sprays.

1 y.o. ylang tree

3 y.o. ylang tree
If you live in an area where the winter temperature does not dip below 32 degrees (0 Celsius), and the level of humidity is above 40 percent (the higher the better), you can successfully grow your own Cananga odorata in the ground. In good conditions it will bloom almost year around. It has one less admirable quality: it grows very rapidly and can be rather aggressive, as other trees and bushes planted nearby may find themselves mercilessly uprooted by this exotic beauty.
My question was about the possibility to grow ylang in colder climates in a container. Big and wide Cananga odorata is not the best choice for a pot, although not entirely impossible, but it has fragrant relatives with similar appearance and smell, which can be easy planted in a pot and kept in the yard, on the terrace or even in the room.

CANANGA ODORATA var. Fruticosa

Cananga odorata var. Fruticosa
Cananga odorata var. Fruticosa – or  Cananga kirkii – is a small tree or a bush that grows up to six feet tall and starts blooming when the plant is only one foot tall. The spicy–sweet lemony aroma of the Fruticosa flower is not as strong as that of the flowers of full-sized trees, but is intense enough to perfume the entire room. 
Fruticosa flowers have a more graceful form with the ends of the petals slightly twisted inside, resembling an octopus.
You can easily grow Cananga Fruticosa in a pot (7-15 gallons) in the sunniest place in your house. Good drainage is crucial. If you use heating or air-conditioning, the level of humidity lowers significantly and it might kill your tree. In this case, you need a humidifier.

Desmos chinensis is a spreading shrub that likes shady places and may develop into a higher climber if grown in the ground. The flowers open between April and July. Young flowers are green and inconspicuous. They produce a wonderful fruity lemony fragrance, which can be detected at a distance, especially in the evening. When the flower fades, the petals turn to rusty-red and then drop. Desmos chinensis is ideal for those with limited indoor space, or for those who live in a colder climate, where growing such a beauty in the open ground would be impossible. This species also lends itself fairly well to training as a bonsai, which will gladden the home for many years with its lovely flowers and bewitching aroma.

Artabotrys hexapetalus is also known by its common name in India as "Manorangini" and "Hara-champa" or "Kantali champa." A woody climber, it can grow into a dense evergreen shrub bearing extremely fragrant canary yellow or light green flowers, turning yellow with age. An absolutely intoxicating fragrance in the dusk! According its scent is more intense than Cananga odorata, with nuances of melon and lemon. In a pot or in the ground, Artabotrys can be trained as a round bush up to five to six feet high, or a climber up to eight feet.
Its close relative, Artabotrys siamensis, originates from Thailand. It is a fast-growing woody climber, which is also a very attractive plant, but it needs a bigger container and support for its branches.
It can bloom all year around, but the most profusive blooming happens from January to March. In Thailand, Artabotrys siamensis is often used for hedges.

Here is another fine example of a rare and fragrantly decorative plant: Goniothalamus. In nature these plants can be found in a variety of natural environments, from sea-level Bangkok to the mountains of northern Thailand at about 1200 meters above sea level, to the humid and nearly impenetrable jungles of Cambodia and Vietnam, to Borneo. Despite this wide range of habitats, it is difficult to find and even harder to grow. It's difficult, but by no means impossible! There are over fifty known varieties of this plant, the most popular of which are Goniothalamus macrophyllusGoniothalamus laoticus (G. marcanii), Goniothalamus giganteus and Goniothalamus tapis, all of these wonderfully "tameable" by gardeners. All members of Goniothalamus are wonderfully fragrant, and Goniothalamus macrophyllus develops the form of a majestic candlestick reaching a height of 15 ft, with enormous 5"-20" leaves, living up to its title—macrophyllus means "long-leaved." Its flowers bloom from March until May.
I shared with you some knowledge of only some of the ylang species you can grow in your yard or home. I heartily suggest you to find out more varieties and tips for growing ylang at (discovering the magical aroma)
These are some general instructions for growing ylang: 
Light. Provide full sun to ensure better flowering.
Water & Humidity. Water your Ylang-Ylang daily for the first 2-3 weeks after you plant it. Then regular sprinkler irrigation will be sufficient. Cananga is a rainforest tropical tree that thrives best in a high-humidity environment.
Fertilization. Fertilize the plant with one-half dose of blooming-grade balanced fertilizer at least once a month during the growth period to encourage blooming; no fertilizing is required from the fall to the early spring.
Pests. The tree is practically pest-free. No special treatments are usually required to keep it healthy.
I have four different ylangs planted in containers. They are doing very well, still small, but good-looking. If you like gardening, you understand my pride and joy of communicating with these gorgeous trees. No perfume can compete with a grateful plant generously blooming for you.

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