March Plant of the Month: Magnolia

After the gloomy grey of winter, its always a joy to see the garden return to its glory in spring. Magnolia delivers that joy in abundance, bursting into life in early spring with large, magnificent blooms.

Magnolia plants are wonderful ornamental trees, available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes with something to suit any garden. These easy to grow beauties are very low maintenance, making them perfect for experts and novice gardeners alike.

Even so, here are some tips on getting the most out of your plant.

Planting tips

 

 

 

 

 

 

On arrival, plant in moist, acid-to-neutral soil in full sun or partial shaded areas. Shallow planting is required for magnolia bushes, in areas that have great drainage. It is often recommended that you provide some protection from strong winds, and provide a mulch in early spring. Do not allow plants to dry out in hot weather and water regularly.

Little pruning is required for these magnificent shrubs, but if required you can prune lightly once the flowers have faded.

Varieties

We have several varieties of Magnolia available to buy online from just £9.99, so you are sure to find the perfect choice for your garden. Here are just a few of our favourites;

Magnolia soulangeana, also known as the Saucer Magnolia or Chinese Magnolia, is probably the most popular of the Magnolia family. It has dark green leaves and deep saucer shaped flowers that are white to rosy-pink. Great for smaller gardens, as it remains a shapely shrub for many years.

Magnolia liliiflora Nigra is a compact shrub native to Southwest China and Japan, also known as the Black Lily Magnolia. The flowers are held erect on sturdy branches amongst glossy elliptic shaped leaves. Deep purple-red outer petals in a narrow tulip shape gently reflex at the tips like a lily revealing a paler colour within. Flowering April to June, later than other magnolias.

Nigra holds the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit for its reliable performance, stability of colour and form and good resistance to pests and diseases.

 Magnolia loebneria Merril is another award winning Magnolia, with branches laden with dainty buds in spring open to milky white flowers, abundant and smaller than most other magnolias. Later, oblong deciduous leaves cover the branches when the fragrant flowers have fallen. A hybrid of the magnolia kobus and stellata varieties loebneri Merrilli is prized for the upright habit and robust natures of its parents although is smaller and more free flowering than both, its mature height and spread rarely growing beyond 2m.

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How to Prune: Ornamental Trees and Shrubs

Ornamental Trees and Shrubs

 

Ornamental trees and shrubs can be pruned and trimmed to keep healthy and shapely.

Timing can vary significantly between different varieties, but as a general rule:

Evergreen shrubs will require little pruning unless branches become damaged. If you do find the need to remove damaged shoots on varieties such as Japanese AzaleasHebe Heartbreaker or Rhododendrons then it’s best to do so after flowering has finished for the season.

Azalea-Glowing-Embers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deciduous shrubs and trees are best pruned in late autumn and winter, although we always recommend checking specific varieties before your start working. Some varieties will only need minor trimming such as Hydrangeas or Spiraea while clematis and climbing plants often require hard pruning.

Winter-Pruning

As a starting point cut back and remove all dead and diseased wood. Always work with the natural habit and structure of the tree or shrub, to encourage continued natural growth. This can be followed up with removing any crossing or rubbing branches at the centre of the plant. By removing these branches which can act as a barrier to further growth, you will in fact improve circulation around the shrubs/tree, helping to reduce the likelihood of plant disease.

When removing stems, we suggest cutting at a little above healthy buds, cutting back around 0.5cm above. Never cut back and leave short stubs. Make all cuts perpendicular to the branch and close to the branch collar to facilitate rapid healing.

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