Magnolia trees show off their lush foliage and stunning flowers in landscapes across the South. If you've always wanted a magnolia tree on your property - or you want to know more about a magnolia growing in your yard - this quick guide is a good place to start learning about the versatile magnolia.
Magnolias Come in Many Varieties
Magnolia species vary in flower color and growth habit. Some magnolias are evergreen and make dense yearround hedges. Other magnolias are deciduous. These magnolias lose their leaves in autumn, and their inner branches are more open to light and air.
The various magnolia varieties flower from late winter to early autumn, depending on the cultivar. Most common species blossom in late spring and early summer. Some magnolia blossoms are more fragrant than others and are said to have a strong lemony scent.
Magnolias bloom in colors that include:
- Pale pink
- Deep purple
- Greenish yellow
Magnolias are planted as specimen trees, landscape shrubbery, or garden focal points. Wide, sprawling magnolias and trim, upright magnolias are available to fit in a variety of landscape settings.
Magnolias Adapt to Different Growth Conditions
Magnolia trees can grow in full sun or part shade, while some magnolias do best in dense shade. The trees prefer well-drained soils, so you may need to have hard-pack clay soil amended with compost before planting a magnolia tree.
Magnolia trees also prefer soil on the acidic side. Soils around Atlanta tend to be acidic, but your tree service can test your soil for you if you aren't sure about its pH.
Research the type of magnolias that are available at your local nurseries. Choose the tree or shrub that will work the best with your growing conditions. If your property is on the wet side, the showy sweet bay magnolia is a good choice, since it tolerates soggy soil.
Magnolias Work In Large and Small Yards
Check the mature size of your magnolia cultivar before planting. A large magnolia should be planted as the focal point in a large lawn. A small, upright magnolia looks great next to a walkway or as an anchor in a landscaped bed. Smaller magnolias make great ornamental plants in plant islands and woodland flower beds, too.
The grand lady of magnolias is the Southern magnolia, or Magnolia grandiflora, which stays green all year. The elegant Southern magnolia can grow to a height of 80 feet, so it works well as an ornamental tree in an ample yard. The Southern magnolia has showy white blossoms that are fragrant and large.
Deciduous magnolia trees are often smaller, and some produce saucer-shaped flowers in pink and purple hues. Sargent and Sprenger magnolias are two of the smaller deciduous magnolias from which to choose. The star magnolia is another great choice when you want a tree that blooms while young and isn't a mammoth when mature.
Bigger Magnolias Require Maintenance
The Southern magnolia and other large magnolias can drop their leaves all year round. The seed pods from the larger magnolias add even more litter around the trees. Expect to do regular maintenance around a larger magnolia to remove the ever-dropping lawn debris.
Be cautious when working around magnolias. Their trunks and roots can be easily damaged by lawn tools and equipment.
Magnolias generally don't require pruning. If you must prune your magnolias, do so as soon as possible after the trees or shrubs bloom. If you wait too late to prune after the blooms fade, you may have fewer blooms on your magnolias the following spring.
If you need help planting, pruning, or caring for a magnolia tree on your property, contact R & R Tree and Landscaping today. We use low-impact equipment to perform tree work for property owners throughout the Greater Atlanta region.