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Tulip or saucer magnolia (Magnolia x soulangeana) and its many varieties and varieties are the ones we mainly see in our neighborhood. The abundance of large, perfumed, cup-like flowers appears tall and slender and then opens up to 25 cm wide in white, pink, lavender or rose-purple, often maintaining a white interior. It can grow up to 8 m tall, so give it a place of honor!

Star magnolia (M. stellata) is the party girl. The fragrant flowers are delicate and small (up to approx. 10 cm), with white petals or many shades of pink that open up to form stars. But when flowering peaks in early spring, you can see the swirling skirts of a group of beauties determined to make their short time on earth as vivid as possible. It needs a dance floor about 4m wide.

Magnolias

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Yulan magnolia or lily tree (M. denudata) is considered to be the most beautiful magnolia, but it is less common in our gardens, perhaps because as parents of many magnolia varieties it grows rather slowly and is smaller (up to 5 m). The flowers appear upright and cup-like, then open into a lily shape, releasing a subtle citrus scent.

Cucumber magnolias

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Cucumber or blue magnolia (M. accuminata) produces exquisite yellow, tulip-shaped flowers about 10 cm in length. It can get quite high (around 20 m). So imagine your tree is covered in yellow ribbons and has a soft lemon scent, especially if you live in a cool climate where it works well.

Planting tip

Plant your deciduous magnolia in spring, not autumn, as its roots are easily damaged when handled and the roots have to repair the summer months, which is not possible in winter. Your new plant can be tall and thin. So use stakes to support them for the first year or two.

Design tip

Magnolias can come as a single-stemmed small tree or as a multi-stemmed shrub. Think about the shape you want to adapt to your garden plans.

Tulip magnolia

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How to care for deciduous magnolias

climate

Temperate with a cool, humid winter followed by a warm, humid summer.

aspect

Full sun in a northern or eastern location with protection from hot afternoon sun, hot winds and late frosts.

ground

Rich, well-drained, slightly acidic.

Feed

Controlled release fertilizer for acid-loving plants in spring.

irrigation

Reliable moisture during flowering and leaf growth, as well as in hot weather.

Mulch

Annually in spring to store moisture in hot months and return nutrients to the soil.

Tulip magnolia

Prune your tree

Keep this to a minimum as wounds will heal slowly. Do this only to repair damage to branches as soon as possible, but preferably after flowering. When branches are cut, they send out vertical shoots that ruin the natural shape of the tree. Even in hot weather, exposed branches can be sunburned and this can lead to death.

Tulip magnolia

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Tip for blooming

Deciduous magnolias sometimes sulk and refuse to flower for the first three to four years. Cajole them by digging in good compost before planting.

Growing magnolias in pots

  • Choose only dwarfs and small varieties.
  • Use a pot that’s at least twice the size of your root ball, fill it with some good quality potting soil, and add water storage crystals to help retain moisture.
  • When planting, be careful not to disturb the roots.
  • Position in full sun to partial shade.
  • Pour deeply two to three times a week.
  • Apply liquid rose food every one to two weeks during flowering.
  • Apply fertilizer in autumn and spring.

Tulip magnolias

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Evergreen magnolias

Bull Bay Magnolia

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The bull bay or the southern magnolia (M. grandiflora) is a dense, dome-shaped tree with large, dark green, glossy leaves that are brown and velvety underneath. The large, strong, but beautiful, cup-shaped and wonderfully fragrant flowers begin to appear in late spring and continue into summer. They form a distinctive and pretty polka dot pattern against the rich foliage. They can grow up to 15 m wide and 10 m high and are therefore unlikely to be suitable for the back garden. However, many smaller and slender varieties have emerged over the years. These include “Little Gem”, which grows to approx. 4 m, “Teddy Bear”, which grows to approx. 2 m and is ideal for a container on your balcony, deck or courtyard.

Magnolias

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Sweet bay magnolia (M. virginiana) will brighten your garden with its soft gray-green leaves that have a silver underside. The small, white, heavily perfumed flowers appear with an explosion in spring and sporadically in summer. Each flower closes at night and then opens in the morning. In cooler areas it is semi-deciduous, in areas with warm winters it is evergreen. Can be placed in containers on a deck or in a courtyard.

Port magnolia

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Port magnolia (Michelia figo) is not necessarily a magnolia, although it belongs to the same family, which is why it is such an adorable plant. It produces deep, rich, port wine-colored flowers directly in the foliage in spring and summer and can therefore be used as a decorative hedge. The flowers have a very strong smell – more in the evening – and are reminiscent of bananas, which is why they are often referred to as a banana bush. It grows to about 4m. There is also a white or creamy flowered variety called ‘White Caviar’ (M.agnolia figo x yunnanensis).

Wilson's magnolia

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How to care for evergreen magnolias

climate

Tropical, subtropical, warm temperate and warm places in cool temperate areas.

ground

Rich, well-drained, slightly acidic.

aspect

Full sun to partial shade.

Feed

Controlled release fertilizer for acid-loving plants in spring.

irrigation

Provide reliable moisture in hot and / or dry periods, especially with young plants.

Mulch

Annually in spring to retain moisture in the warmer months.

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