Magnolia are prized for their large tulip or star shaped flowers that come in shades of white, pink, purple and even yellow. They make fantastic ornamental garden trees or shrubs, with the flowering season ranging from early spring to late summer. Whilst many Magnolia trees are deciduous, we also offer evergreen and semi-evergreen varieties that are useful for screening.
Flowering Magnolias can be incorporated into almost any garden style and we offer over 20 varieties that have stunning large flowers in a range of colours and shapes. The flowers, along with the suitability for the location, often heavily influence which variety people choose for their garden.
Magnolias vary from small shrubs to large trees, with the trees and larger shrubs being ideal as specimens or within borders. The smaller varieties such as Magnolia stellata, liliiflora 'Nigra', 'Jane' and 'Susan' make fantastic patio features when grown in a pot. Evergreen Magnolia, such as Magnolia grandiflora, are popular for being trained against walls.
A sheltered position will suit Magnolia trees and whilst full sun will give the best flowering, partial shade is often tolerated. If you have alkaline soil, consider Magnolia grandiflora rather than those varieties which prefer acidic to neutral soil. Magnolias are best pruned in mid-summer to early autumn, as they can bleed at certain other times of year. Heavy pruning of Magnolia is best avoided, so if they require significant work it is strongly recommended to stagger it over a few years so as not to stress the tree.
Magnolia is a large, ancient genus with fossilised specimens dating back over 20 million years ago. The genus is named after Pierre Magnol, a 17th Century French botanist. Magnolia plants existed before bees, meaning that the flowers had to evolve to encourage pollination by beetles. The carpels of the flowers have had to adapt to become strong enough to withstand pollination by beetles. As time went on, they later evolved to allow pollination by bees. Although magnolia tree flowers do not produce nectar they do produce pollen. Their flowers also emit a sugary scent which attracts bees and other pollinators.
The Magnolia tree has played a large part in culture throughout the US and Asia. Magnolia tree grandiflora is the state flower of Louisiana and Mississippi. It is so prevalent in Mississippi that it has been nicknamed The Magnolia State. Siebold's Magnolia tree is the national flower of North Korea. They have also been the source of inspiration for Hollywood movies, such as Magnolia and Steel Magnolia.