Magnolia Trees for Spring Blooms
When most people think of magnolias, they automatically picture a towering tree with large deep green leaves and white flowers. Saying the word magnolia inevitably makes us think of the southern United States, that's why they've been called Southern Magnolias forever. The truth is there are more magnolias suitable for northern gardens than there are for the south.
The northern magnolias are often one of the first flowering trees of spring. Northern magnolias are deciduous, which means they will lose their leaves in the winter. In the spring, the flowers burst forth even before the leaves do. Some varieties bloom later in the spring and into summer.
Deciduous magnolias are very cold hardy and grow best in full sun.
Different Types of Magnolia Trees:
Bracken's Brown Beauty Magnolia: The Bracken's Brown Beauty Magnolia is well known for its glossy, leathery leaves that are a vibrant, dark green on top and cinnamon brown underneath. The large, 6 inch wide creamy white flowers are highly fragrant. It was bred for better cold tolerance, so now you can enjoy magnolia blooms even in your northern landscape. Hardy to Zone 5.
Little Gem Magnolia: Unlike its larger cousins, which can grow to 50 feet plus in height. The Little Gem Magnolia Tree is the dwarf in the family of Southern Magnolias, maturing to a height of little over 20 feet with a width of about 8 to 10 feet. It produces the heavenly scented white magnolia flowers that these trees are well-known for — Hardy to Zone 7.
Teddy Bear Magnolia: Do you have a small garden but always wanted to enjoy a southern magnolia but didn't want to give up the entire yard. The Teddy Bear Magnolia stays smaller than its cousin but gives every bit of the flower power. Enjoy the fragrant blooms from spring into the early summer — Hardy to Zone 7.
Semi-Evergreen Native Magnolias:
Sweet-Bay Magnolia: Magnolia virginiana is Native to the Eastern United States. It's semi-evergreen, which means in milder climates, it will hold its leaves through the winter. The white flowers have a lemony-scent which fill the air in spring thru early summer.
Sweet Bay Magnolias are perfect near patios or decks where you can fully enjoy the heavenly fragrance. It also tolerates wet soils very well — Hardy to Zone 5.
Deciduous Magnolia Trees:
Magnolia Ann: Magnolia Ann is one of the most popular flowering plants sold today. Ann Flowers later than the star magnolia which allows it to avoid frost damage in the early spring. The 3 to 4-inch blooms are reddish-purple in the outside and white inside. Hardy to Zone 4.
Magnolia Betty: The Magnolia Betty is a beauty of a tree with its pinkish-white flowers. This multi-stemmed tree is a late bloomer making it more cold tolerant than other Magnolias. When the blooms subside, the foliage will begin to emerge with a coppery hue and then transition to a deep forest green. Hardy to Zone 3. A hybrid cross of Saucer Magnolia and Magnolia stellata.
Magnolia Jane: The very cold-hardy Magnolia Jane tree blooms a bit later than many other magnolia varieties, making it a perfect choice for northern landscapes where a late frost is common. A lovely multi-stemmed small tree with fragrant reddish-purple flowers. Hardy to Zone 4.
Royal Star Magnolia: Royal Star Magnolia is one of the earliest flowering varieties of the magnolia family it produces large, fragrant, white, star-shaped flowers that appear before the foliage emerges in spring. An early spring thriller that will add a focal point to the landscape as the seasons' progress. Hardy to Zone 4 and also tolerates heat.
Magnolia Centennial Blush: Professional horticulturalists regard Magnolia Centennial Blush as the best of the small-sized Magnolias. The buds are rarely affected by cold winter temperatures. The early spring flowers are a very fragrant and welcome sight in the spring and in the fall the leaf color produces an equally brilliant show. Hardy to Zone 4.
Planting Magnolia Trees:
Planting Magnolia Trees are no different than most other deciduous trees. Magnolias grow best in moist, well-drained, soil. Magnolias are adaptable to clay or sandy soils. Once established Magnolia Trees can be moderately drought tolerant but do benefit from occasional watering during periods of drought.
Dig a hole about twice the width of the pot and the same depth as the root ball. Mix the soil you have dug out with a locally sourced compost at about 50/50. Add Bio-tone Starter Fertilizer at the recommended rates.
Remove the plant from its pot and gently loosen the root ball with your fingers. Place the plant in the planting hole and replace the soil with the mix and gently pack. To avoid planting too deep make sure you can still see the original nursery soil.
Cover the soil with a 2 inch layer of mulch and slowly water the tree. Tree Gator Jr. Water bags are a great way to make sure your newly planted tree gets the perfect amount of water. water bags allow the water to slowly absorb into the soil without running off.
Taller Magnolias benefit from staking. Be sure to remove the stakes after the tree is established to avoid the guy-wires from cutting into the stem of the tree. Short lengths of garden hose surrounding the wire are an excellent way to protect the trunk from damage from the wire.
Fertilizing Magnolia Trees:
Feed Magnolias with a balanced slow-release fertilizer such as Tree-Tone by Espoma in the late spring to promote healthy growth and color. If you live in an area with alkaline soils Holly-Tone Fertilizer can be used to add a little acis to the soil. Magnolia Trees do prefer a slightly acidic soil.
Until Next Time,