a land far, far, away, in a time long ago Magnolias and Rhododendrons shared a common ancestor. The result of this is
that Magnolias and Rhododendrons have some similar traits. The
most important trait being that they both like a soil on the acidic
side. This means when you are planting Magnolias always ensure that
the planting mixture is on the acidic side. To do this just
add some peat moss to the existing soil.
When it comes time to fertilize your Magnolias you should use an
acidic based fertilizer. This will be the same fertilizer you
use on your Rhododendrons. This fertilizer can come in liquid or
granular form. I use the liquid for a quick response or to just
green up the foliage. The granular fertilizers are slower but longer
lasting. While which manufacturer's fertilizer you chose is up
to you the best I have found is an all natural product called Holly
Tone™. I also use this type of fertilizer to feed my
Variegated Pagoda Dogwood, Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Blue Hollies,
Christmas Roses, Conifers, Hydrangeas and Magnolias. I feed my
spring flowering Magnolias just as they finish blooming and again
lightly in late June. My summer flowering Magnolias are
fertilized in early May and again lightly in June.
I have not had to spray my Magnolias for insects
but on occasion I have heard of them getting
Magnolia scale. The control is to scrape off
the scale, scrub them off with a nail brush, or
spray with a systemic insecticide following the
label directions. In this area Magnolia
scale is in the crawler stage in August.
This is when it is the easiest to control with a
AND DEAD HEADING:
I have found with the spring flowering Magnolias
that a light corrective pruning should be done
after flowering in the beginning of June.
The summer flowering Magnolias I have yet to have
to prune. It is my guess that they will also
be pruned in early June once active grow has
started. Deadheading is not necessary
with all Magnolias in fact many of them naturally
shed their spent flower heads. I do deadhead
my Magnolias though only when they are very
young. I do this in order to encourage
growth not seed production. Speaking of
spent flowers, remember that all Magnolias will
cover the ground with their spent flower
petals. These should be removed for
appearance sake, but also for disease and insect
My favourite companion plants to Magnolias are
Hostas, Periwinkle, Baltic Ivy, Variegated Persian
Ivy, Christmas Rose, Impatiens, Non Stop Begonias,
Hydrangeas and Daffodils.
stellata: This variety blooms in
our area ( Zone 6) about the middle of April.
Star Magnolias grow to be 15 to 20 feet high and
10 to 15 feet wide. This happens fairly
slowly but always plan for it to become a
reasonably large flowering shrub or small
tree. The Star Magnolia has fragrant white
flowers 3 to 4 inches in diameter. They start
blooming at a very young age.
There are two other varieties of Magnolia stellata
that you should consider. They are Royal
Star and Waterlily.
Both of these Magnolias have pink buds fragrant
white flowers with more petals than the Magnolia stellata.
X loebneri ' Leonard Messel '
described as a pink star magnolia. The flowers are
actually fuchsia with a purple-pink stripe and
wavy petals. Leonard will be larger than the
Magnolia stellata selections but really quite
compact and faster growing. It usually
blooms in my garden (Zone 6) about a week later
than the white star magnolias.
X soulangiana were
the most common
group of magnolias planted in Canada. In
other words when you see a large old pink or
purple magnolia it is a member of this
group. On average they grow 20 to 30 feet
high and just as wide. It grows 10 to 15
feet in just 10 years.
now the most commonly planted group of pink
magnolias planted now. It is the Little Girl Hybrids which
are responsible for this swing in
popularity. Their upright habit produces a
larger salable plant sooner. Generally they
attain a height of 10 to 15 feet. Their
flowers are reddish purple with a lighter pink to
white on the inside. The Little
Girl Hybrids bloom in May. So here
are the girls to look for: Jane,
Judy, Pinkie, Randy,
Ricki, Ann, Betty and Susan. My
favourites are Ann
is a liliiflora cross.
It is single stemmed blooming slightly later.
Galaxy is pyramidal growing 20 -30 feet high.
a very old variety also known as Purple or Black Magnolia.
is a compact
pyramidal tree to who knows what height. It
has large primrose-yellow fragrant flowers in
May. It is suppose to be hardy to Zone
4. In my garden Elizabeth has up to 8 inch
leaves and grows 12 to 15 inches per year.
acuminata 'Yellow Bird'
Magnolia can be open branched