Magnolia, a sumptuous tree

Magnolias are among the most beautiful spring-blooming trees.

Main Magnolia facts

Name – Magnolia
Family – Magnoliaceae or magnolia family
Type – tree

Height – 16 to 50 feet (5 to 15 meters)
Exposure – full sun, part sun
Soil – rich and cool

Foliage – deciduous or evergreen, depending on the species
Flowering – April or summer, depending on species and region

Whether deciduous or evergreen, they are covered with spectacular flowers at the end of winter.

Planting magnolia

It is recommended to plant magnolia at the beginning of fall to allow for root development before winter and ensure correct settling in for spring.

For evergreen species, you may plant in spring without expecting any problems.

Evergreen magnolias can reach heights of 65 feet (20 meters) and must thus be planted at a certain distance from houses and buildings.

Deciduous magnolias are smaller (around 16 to 20 feet (5 to 6 m) tall) and can even be planted along walls to follow a lattice.

  • If you plant during winter, avoid frost and freezing.
  • Whatever the case, choose a spot that is not too hot in summer nor too wet in winter.
  • After planting, provide for regular watering during spring.
  • It needs to be watered in case of heat waves.

After planting

  • Mulch the base of the tree to retain moisture and avoid weed growth.
  • Pine bark is perfect because they like acidic soil.

Multiplying magnolia

It’s possible to prepare cuttings in summer or layering in spring.

Care and problems while growing

Magnolias require little care and even resists diseases very well, even if a little advice will help you get better blooms:

  • Mulch the base with bark to sustain needed soil acidity levels.
  • Mulching also helps retain moisture in the soil that your magnolia will benefit from during hotter months.
  • If it doesn’t bloom, remove surface dirt until reaching roots, and replace with heath soil. This is called topdressing.

Whether deciduous (Magnolia soulangeana) or evergreen (Magnolia grandiflora), magnolias are trees that require very little care when correctly settled in, and they will decorate your garden for many long years.

Parasites rarely attack magnolias, even though occasionally you might find a few aphids, or even less often red spider mites in summer.

Pruning magnolia

Magnolia in full bloom sending up new growth.It isn’t really necessary to prune, but if you wish to reduce the size of the tree or balance the branches, proceed after blooming is over or in fall.

It is possible to prune main branches in winter to balance the silhouette. Take note that what is most distinctive about magnolias is their natural shape, so it is important to keep it so that branches don’t seem out of balance.

  • Remove weak or broken branches regularly.

Learn more about magnolia

Three young magnolia flowers just tossed away their hulls.Magnolia is famous and even inspired many artists!

It stands out for its magnificent and generous blooming that comes in hues of pure white to pinkish white to pink.

Magnolia trees are very common, but there are also shrub varieties that are ideal for small gardens.

Note that there are two major types of magnolias:

Deciduous magnolia, also called saucer magnolia or Magnolia soulangeana. They bloom at the beginning of spring, before leaves appear.

Evergreen magnolia, also called Southern magnolia or Magnolia grandiflora. Flowers appear in summer, offering great tulip-shaped blooms that span 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 cm) across.

Smart tip about magnolia

Maritime pine bark mulch will give these trees their needed acidic soil levels to develop well and will help retain moisture.

For more effectiveness, also mulch in the summer, adding a fresh 1 ½ to 2 inch layer.


Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Magnolia flower wall by Rosalyn & Gaspard Lorthiois, own work
Blooming magnolia by Rosalyn & Gaspard Lorthiois, own work
Budding magnolia flowers by Rosalyn & Gaspard Lorthiois, own work