Simply Magnificent! Magnolias are a very ancient genus with fossilized remains showing their presence on earth even before the honey bee arrived. As a result of this you will find that Magnolias are usually pollinated by some form of beetle. The genus was not actually called Magnolia until the 17th century when they were named after a French professor of Botany called Pierre Magnol. Deciduous Magnolias are from Asia and evergreen Magnolias are mostly from America.
These days a strong influence on the development of the genus comes not from France, Asia or America but New Zealand. The Jury family from Taranaki and Oswald Blumhardt from Northland have raised many highly desirable hybrids and introduced them to the world. If you want to plant a New Zealand bred deciduous Magnolia look for such delights as "Athene", "Atlas", "Iolanthe", "Vulcan" and "Star Wars" to name just a few.
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Once you have chosen a Magnolia or 3 then this is one tree that must have the correct planting position. This is important for many reasons, not the least being that they resent being moved. The trees do not have a tap root but their fibrous roots are sensitive to disturbance. Do your best to choose a sunny position away from strong cold winds. Magnolias can tolerate frost, however a late frost in spring could damage the emerging flower buds.
The soil must be free draining and if possible rich with organic matter. If your soil is poor, add some compost, rotted leaf mould or peat and mix in well. As with many trees with fibrous roots, Magnolias don';;;;;t like their surface roots getting too hot so they will thank you for a nice layer of mulch aplied just before summer. They are acid lovers, so a side dressing of acid fertilizer aplied in early spring will also keep them hapy. You can buy especially formulated acid fertilizer from any good garden centre. Never aply lime. Water well during dry periods.
Magnolias need space to grow to really show off their beauty so consider this when planting. Little pruning should be required other than to maintain a nice shape.
Now sit back and wait for spring when the bare branches of deciduous Magnolias will be covered with beautiful large goblets with a tantalizing perfume. The colour choice ranges from crisp white, softest to deepest pink, ruby red, wine red and warm yellow.
Evergreen Magnolias have large scented cream flowers that apear in summer and autumn. In contrast to the above they are far more tolerant of wind and can cope with more moisture in the soil. Whilst I adore the deciduous Magnolias I respect the evergreen cultivars and would not be without them in the garden. The large dark green glossy foliage with tactile russet under-felt always looks good. Top that off with beautiful waxy cream flowers with a fresh fruity fragrance and you have a very handsome specimen tree. Definitely on my top 10 list.
Magnolias should not be overlooked in any planting scheme; I certainly would not consider creating a garden without them.
The perfect Magnolia for those of you with limited space as this particular variety has a narrow, upright growth habit. Bright, royal purple blooms in spring. Bred in NZ by Peter Cave. Plant in acid soil and protect from harsh winds. Deciduous. Est.10yr.growth.
Colour: Purple Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 4m x 1.5m
The exquisite pointed buds of this lovely little Magnolia hint of the beauty to come. The buds open out to fragrant, rich ruby red blooms with white interiors. Gorgeous. Plant in a sunny sheltered spot in acid soil for best results. Deciduous. Est.10yr.growth.
Colour: Red / Red Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 4m x 2m
Bred many years ago in Holland this is an exquisite small tree with large expansive blooms. The cup shaped flowers are dark maroon-purple with white interiors. Perfect for smaller gardens. Plant in a sheltered sunny spot in acid soil for best results. Deciduous. Est.10yr.growth.
Colour: Brown / White Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 3m x 1.5m
This medium sized tree is a real sight in full bloom. The large flowers are fragrant and cup shaped in shades of creamy white and pastel pink with a deeper pink at the base. Plant in a sunny, sheltered spot with acid soil. Delicious and deciduous. Est. 10yr. growth.
Colour: Pink / White Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 6m x 4.5m
Large, deep rose, bowl shaped blooms stand out on naked branches in early spring. Yet another winner from the Jury family of New Plymouth who are world leaders in Magnolia breeding. As with most of their hybrids, flowers from a young age. Happiest in a sunny sheltered spot. Est.10yr.growth.
Colour: Pink Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 5m x 4m
Named after the eminent British horticulturist this form of M. campbellii has huge bowl shaped flowers of pure white. It will take quite a few years to mature to its outstanding best but as the saying goes good things do indeed take time. Plant in a sheltered position. Deciduous. Est.10yr.growth.
Colour: White Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 7m x 5m
The most widely grown Magnolia world wide and the parent of many of today's hybrids. A tree in full bloom is irresistible with masses of tulip shaped blooms that are rosy purple with a white interior. Very tough, hardy and adaptable. Forms a large shrub. Deciduous. Est.10.yr.growth.
Pronounced 'soo-lon-zhee-ah-na' and named after Soulange-Bodin a director of the RHS who raised it.
Colour: White / Purple Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 3m x 1.5m
One of the most spectacular and long flowering Magnolias with large, star shaped flowers of rose pink with blush white interiors. The stunning blooms are approximately 20-30cm across. A hardy hybrid which has become very popular due to its proven attributes. Bred in NZ. Deciduous. Est.10yr.growth.
Colour: Pink / White Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 5m x 4m
A Magnolia is a Symbol of Beauty and Sweetness. Its Planet is Venus and its Power is Fidelity. One of the earliest magnolias to bloom. They need a sheltered spot and fertile, well-drained, acid soil. A small bushy tree bearing fragrant star shaped white flowers with many petals opening from silky buds in spring. Very beautiful and suitable for a small garden.
Colour: White Habit: Upright rounded Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.5m x 1.5m
Star Magnolia. A compact and top performing little 'Star' with warm pink, shaggy flowers made up of many petals that appear late winter-early spring. Fresh green summer foliage. Forms a multi-branched upright shrub. Plant in a sheltered spot in acid soil for best results. Est.10yr.growth.
Colour: Pink Habit: Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 2m x 2m