By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
One of our most elegant and showy ornamental trees is the magnolia. Magnolias may be deciduous or evergreen. The evergreen magnolias provide cheery greenery in the drab doldrums of winter and are therefore valued for their leathery foliage. First, you need to decide on the size and attributes which best suit your garden.
There are about 125 species of magnolia which may be evergreen, deciduous or even semi-evergreen. The lustrous green leaves are a standout feature with light green, silver or reddish fuzzy undersides. Evergreen magnolias afford the pleasure of enjoying a leafy tree year-round. Not all species are suited for all zones, but most magnolias are fairly adaptable and will thrive in warm to temperate regions.
Few things are more saddening than watching the leaves fall from the trees. While the display may be colorful, it signals the end of the warm season and the rise of the cold stormy winter. This is why trees that hold their leaves are so important, to remind us of a time that will come again, a season of bold promise and plenty. Evergreen magnolia trees uphold this promise and add dimension and life to the landscape.
We’re not done yet. The smaller forms also have evergreen foliage and intense blooms.
There are new cultivars coming out every few years with bigger blooms, more beautiful foliage and greater hardiness. Do your homework and make sure the tree you choose is right for your zone and landscape size. Enjoy your majestic magnolia!
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When selecting among the many types of magnolia trees to grow in your garden, it's important to recognize the differences among them. The differences between deciduous magnolias and evergreen magnolias go far beyond the fact that deciduous trees lose their leaves in the winter months, while evergreen trees retain theirs.
Choosing one of the many types of magnolia trees depends on where you live, your landscaping preference and even the amount of work you're willing to put in to care for the magnolia. Numerous types of magnolia trees exist, spanning many U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones.
The Moonglow Sweetbay Magnolia is a large multi-stem tree, growing to 35 feet tall and spreading 20 to 25 feet wide within 20 years of planting. It typically has about 5 main trunks, with branches low down, and forms a dense, upright tree of considerable beauty. The smooth bark is an attractive soft-gray, complementing the rich green of the foliage. The leaves are smooth, glossy and oval, about 5 inches long and 2 inches wide. They have a leathery texture, and the upper surface is rich, dark green, while the underside is covered with soft, silvery hairs. This tree is evergreen throughout zone 5, and loses some leaves in zone 4, but these are quickly replaced in spring.
In May the first blooms appear, prominent on the ends of the branches. They are open and cup-shaped, 6 inches across, with a large central cluster of stamens and the pistil. The petals are thick, with a rich texture, and a creamy-white color – the ‘moonglow’ of this plant’s name. They release a powerful fragrance, like vanilla, which spreads across the garden for hundreds of feet, drifting through open doors and windows into your home as well. It truly is one of the delights of early summer. Each blossom lasts a full week, and since more are produced in succession it is early July before the last blooms are over. As a final piece of seasonal interest, by fall the spent blossoms have turned into fascinating seed pods, like pine cones, which change from green to brown and then split open to show a flash of large, bright red seeds.
For evergreen lawn trees, it is difficult to beat such a beautiful tree as this one. Plant it on a large lawn for shade and to be admired. Grow it by a garden entrance, or along a boundary fence. Planted near your home you can enjoy its perfume without even stepping outdoors. Plant it in open wooded areas, or edging forest. Since it enjoys wet soil it is perfect beside a stream, lake, river or pond, and since it is a native plant it is perfect for natural gardens and wild settings. It would also make a spectacular screening tree.
The Moonglow Sweetbay Magnolia is very hardy, and it stays completely evergreen in zone 5, tolerating rapid changes in temperature and arctic fronts. It will grow well in zone 4 too, although there it will probably lose a significant number of leaves during winter. Don’t worry – those bare branches will soon produce fresh green leaves with the first warmth of spring. Further south it is always evergreen, and this tree thrives in the heat and humidity of the south, even throughout Florida.
Full sun is perfect for the Moonglow Sweetbay Magnolia, but it also grows well in partial shade, fitting in among larger deciduous trees. It grows in almost all garden soils, thriving in moist, slightly acidic ground, but not particularly fussy at all. Although it has some drought resistance when well-established, it prefers moist soil, and enjoys wet conditions, making it perfect for low-lying places and beside water.
After a little pruning when young to give your tree a good branch structure, this tree needs no particular attention at all. Plant it where it has enough room to fully develop, as you don’t want to be trimming a great tree like this. It normally has no particular pests or diseases.
Although greeted with great enthusiasm when it first arrived in England in 1678, the sweetbay magnolia, Magnolia virginiana, was soon eclipsed there by the southern magnolia, Magnolia grandiflora, with its larger leaves and flowers. Wild trees can be found in damp woodland all the way from Long Island, New York down the east coast into Florida, and in the Deep South and around the Gulf of Mexico.
Earl Cully had a tree nursery in Morgan County, Illinois. When young he had been closely guided by horticulture professor J.C. McDaniel of the University of Illinois to appreciate trees, and magnolias were always a passion of McDaniel. In 1975 Cully was examining a row of seedling sweetbay magnolias, and one stood out. He spent the next 20 years evaluating it, and through his contacts growing examples in many different climate zones. After this thorough screening he was granted a patent on his tree in 2001, with the name ‘Jim Wilson’, in honor of the host of the PBS gardening program, ‘Victory Garden’. This tree has always been sold with the trademark name of Moonglow®.
The Moonglow Sweetbay Magnolia is an outstanding choice for colder zones, and just as great in warmer ones too. This widely-praised tree is always in high demand, and we know our stock will soon be gone. Order now and enjoy one of America’s best flowering trees.
Understood for their big, aromatic flowers, Magnolias are available in a range of sizes and shapes. With over 200 plant types, Magnolias can grow in tones of white, purple, green, pink, or yellow. The Magnolia flowers might be star shaped or bowl shaped, depending upon if the types is an evergreen or a deciduous tree or shrub. Belonging To East Asia, The United States And Canada, and Central America, Magnolias can endure environments from temperate to tropical, depending upon the types. With such a big choice, there is a Magnolia that will fit completely in your garden.
Magnolia Tree Recognition and Realities
With such a big genus, there is a Magnolia ideal for any kind of garden and environment. Check out listed below to discover Magnolia tree realities and any information you will require to include a Magnolia to your garden.
Deciduous Magnolia Trees
Star Magnolia ( Magnolia stellata)
The star magnolia is belonging to Japan. Bearing big, star-shaped flowers of pink and white, star magnolias flower in early spring. A sluggish growing tree, star magnolias grow from 5 to 8 feet high and can reach 15 feet in size. Compact and cold durable, the star magnolia is ideal for little gardens in temperate environments.
Dish Magnolia ( Magnolia x soulangeana)
A hybrid plant, the dish magnolia is among the most typical magnolias in gardening. With big flowers in tones of white, purple, and pink, the dish magnolia tree can reach heights of 25 feet. Popular for its ease of growing, the dish magnolia appropriates for lots of environments and soils. It is frequently grown in the United States and the British Isles.
Cucumber Magnolia ( Magnolia acuminata)
The Cucumber Magnolia, otherwise referred to as the cucumber tree, is amongst the biggest of magnolia types. It generally just reaches 50– 60 feet high, this tree can grow as high as 98 feet in perfect conditions. The big, green leaves are easy and plain for magnolias, and the fruit they produce look like cucumbers, for this reason the name cucumber tree. This magnolia is among the few of its types to produce golden leaves in the fall. In addition, the cucumber magnolia is among the hardiest magnolias for cold environments. With its height and big leaves, the cucumber magnolia is perfect for offering shade and personal privacy.
Kobus Magnolia ( Magnolia kobus)
Kobus Magnolia, otherwise referred to as mokryeon or kobushi magnolia, comes from Japan and Korea. This tree is fairly little with a typical height of 25 feet. Its size can not hinder the Kobus magnolia’s attractive flower in early spring. Growing in temperate locations, this tree is a sluggish grower, taking several years to flower. Regardless of this, do not be tricked. With little, aromatic, and white flowers, the Kobus magnolia brings a majestic look to any garden and is definitely worth the wait.
Loebner Magnolia ( Magnolia x loebneri)
A hybrid of the Kobus magnolia and the star magnolia, the loebner magnolia is a pink flowered tree or big shrub. This magnolia grows just to 20 feet high and boast compact, classy flowers. The flowers vary from pale pink to darker purple and pink in color. Comparable to its moms and dad types, the Loebner magnolia flourishes in temperate environments and flower in early to mid-spring.
Evergreen Magnolia Trees
Southern Magnolia ( Magnolia grandiflora)
Belonging To the Southern United States, the southern magnolia, or bull bay, is possibly the most extensively grown magnolia tree. The southern magnolia can reach heights of 90 feet and blackens green leaves and big, white, and aromatic flowers. Suitable for subtropical environments, the southern magnolia is a sluggish growing and marvelous addition to any garden. Regardless of being an evergreen, the southern magnolia drops its leaves year-round, however this tree is genuinely worth the rate.
Sweetbay Magnolia ( Magnolia virginiana)
Otherwise referred to as swampbay or white bay, the sweetbay magnolia flowers look like the southern magnolia. The flowers, although smaller sized than those of the southern magnolia, have an exceptionally powerful scent. This scent resembles a strong vanilla fragrance and is obvious from numerous backyards away. Compared to the southern magnolia, sweetbay can hold up against a more temperate and cooler environment. With its quick development and aromatic flowers, the sweetbay magnolia is perfect for big gardens and parks.
Planting Magnolia Trees
It is necessary to prepare where to plant your magnolia tree ahead of time. The area where its planted will assist keep your magnolia alive. Attempt to select an area protected from winds if in a location that anticipates cooler winter seasons than your magnolia can manage. A lot of magnolias require in between 12 and 24 feet of area to flourish. Follow the directions listed below to effectively plant your magnolia tree.
Among the very best functions of Magnolias is their ease of development. These trees are simple to look after and can live for centuries. Below is all you will require to understand for your magnolia tree requirements.
Illness of Magnolia Trees
Although resistant to garden bugs, magnolia trees have a couple of illness that you ought to understand about. Regardless of being unusual, magnolia tree illness can seriously threaten your tree. Below are a few of the most frequently happening illness of magnolia trees and some treatments to assist you treat your magnolia.
Magnolia tree illness are unusual and typically not severe. Do your finest to keep an eye on the condition of your magnolia to keep your plant in the very best health possible.
Magnolia Trees in Winter Season
Although some magnolia trees are cold resistant, it is necessary to prepare ahead for your magnolia tree in winter season. Choose a magnolia types that flourishes in the environment you prepare to plant it in. When planting your magnolia, select a place that has some defense versus possible cold winds. It is best to insulate your magnolia if you anticipate an especially cold frost. Wrap the base of the tree with dry insulation such as cardboard or cornstalks. In addition, outside lights near your magnolia will assist keep it warm throughout cold winter season nights. It is essential to prepare for frosts to keep your magnolia trees healthy in the winter season.
Evergreen magnolias as a general rule are far easier to care for. Virginia Tech explains they require less pruning, which usually only involves removing dead or diseased branches. And according to the University of Minnesota, evergreen magnolias are also more tolerant of soil conditions, requiring less soil fertility than deciduous magnolias.
The sweetbay magnolia, for example, can be grown in acidic, wet soils and in both full sun and partial shade. Sweetbay magnolia trees are also easy to maintain in that they have no serious insect or disease problems, according to Missouri Botanical Garden.