Magnificent Magnolias - The Avid Gardener
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Magnificent Magnolias

Magnolia_solangeanaIt’s the time of the year when the Magnolias begin to show colour. With blooms so bold, how can you not be blown away when you see a large Magnolia in full flower. With so much variety, there is also a Magnolia to suit everyone. You might think that your garden is too small to have a Magnolia, but with species such as Magnolia stellata, it makes it possible to grow them in pots too. So even in limited space, you could take advantage of their magnificent blooms.

Here is a list of some of my highly recommended ones:

Magnolia stellataMagnolia stellata is best used as specimen plants in gardens with limited space. Reaching heights of only 2m they can also be grown in pots on patios. Unfortunately, they only come in white star-shaped flowers, but they do produce an abundance of flowers to make up for it.

Magnolia x soulangeana is one of the most popular with the goblet-shaped blooms in a pink/white combination. One of these in full flower in a good year can cause car accidents on a roadside! As it gets in excess of 6m high, they are ideal for larger gardens that require a good focal point in early Spring, such as on the opposite side of a patio.

Magnolia ‘Susan’ has narrow goblet-shaped, fragrant flowers with burgundy on the outside and paler on the inside. Reaching about 4m, means that it can be utilized in most gardens as a specimen plant.

Magnolia ‘Heaven Scent’ produces goblet-shaped, fragrant blooms which are flushed with pale pink on the outside with a magenta central stripe.They can reach 12m high when mature, so keep this mind when picking this one…some space required, and a chat with the neighbour.

Magnolia Black TulipMagnolia ‘Black Tulip’ may carry less bloom that other Magnolias, but their large goblet-shaped purple blooms stand out against the bare stems as if to demand attention. Absolutely awesome.

Magnolia liliiflora ‘Nigra’ is a nice compact form only reaching approximately 4m. Another fantastic option for containers or small gardens as a focal point. It produces lily-shaped dark purple-red blooms in early Summer.

Magnolia grandiflora is an evergreen species that produces highly fragrant cream cup-shaped blooms the size of a large hand (approx 25cm across). To see one of them at their best, they become a ‘must have’ plant for the avid gardener. It is also a popular wall shrub option, as long as it is grown on a sheltered east, west, or south wall.

All Magnolias are best grown in full sun or partial shade and require a moist, but well-drained ericaceous (acidic) soil – they seem to grow best when the soil is slightly acidic, even though they can tolerate neutral soil in some cases. They are not fond of cold winds so make sure the desired position is sheltered, for best results.
Pruning is best done when the tree is actually in leaf, so mid-late Summer makes for the best opportunity to shape it for the season to come.

They are certainly one of my favourite feature plants in the garden, as they make a huge impact and will provide you with many years of enjoyment.

Happy gardening!

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