Magnolia flower


Common name Magnolias
Botanical Name Magnolia grandiflora/ Michelia doltsopa
Family Magnoliaceae
Natural range Asia and American continent
Mature height 5m to 15m, depending on species
Form Bushy shrub to medium-tree
Likes Acidic soils, rich in nutrients
Dislikes Salty spray
Where to plant Full sun to part shade
Known for Early flowering

Why Does the Magnolia Bloom Before Leafing?

Isn’t it fascinating to see the first Magnolia flowers bursting into bloom on bare branches, a sure sign that Spring is about to knock on our doors? It’s as if this tree intentionally ensures its pink, white, or purple flowers stand out, outshining everything else before the leaves come on the scene. The Magnolia’s early blooming characteristic is one reason why gardeners everywhere have a soft spot for these plants.

How Do Magnolia Flowers Emerge?

In deciduous varieties, the grand display of flowers happens early in Spring, even before the leaves make an appearance. These beautiful blossoms emerge from large buds, quite similar to those of a pussy-willow, which are set during the previous growing season and persist through the chilly autumn and winter months. Evergreen Magnolias, on the other hand, bloom heavily as Spring transitions to summer.

What’s So Special About Saucer Magnolia?

If you’ve ever spotted a dazzling display of early flowering, chances are it’s the Magnolia x soulangeana, or the Saucer Magnolia. After these white and pink-purple blooms fade, the tree covers itself in a cloak of dark green, leathery foliage that beautifully contrasts with its smooth grey bark.

What is the Bull Bay Magnolia Like?

The Magnolia grandiflora, better known as Bull Bay Magnolia, is a popular evergreen variety prized for its shiny green leaves and fragrant flowers. This tree, with its dense dome shape, dark green glossy leaves, and brown velvety underside, is a sight to behold. Its elegant cup-shaped white flowers are bold and make their appearance from Spring to Summer. Over time, these magnificent specimens can reach heights of 10-15m.

Have You Heard About the Himalayan Magnolia?

The Michelia doltsopa, also known as the Himalayan or Evergreen Magnolia, bears dark green leaves with a unique furry texture on the back. In Spring, it unfolds stunning fragrant creamy white flowers. Its magnificent looks make it a perfect choice for hedging, screening, or even as a feature tree.

Are Magnolias Ancient Flowering Plants?

Believe it or not, Magnolias are among the oldest flowering plants known to scientists, with fossils dating back over 100 million years. These trees graced the earth even before bees came into existence, so they rely on beetles for pollination. Instead of nectar, the flowers produce copious amounts of pollen that provide food for the beetles.

Interesting Facts About Magnolias:
  1. Magnolia blooms appear before the tree’s leaves.
  2. The Magnolia x soulangeana or Saucer Magnolia is known for its early Spring flowering.
  3. Bull Bay Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) is an evergreen variety with shiny green leaves and fragrant flowers.
  4. The Himalayan Magnolia or Michelia doltsopa is a fantastic choice for hedging and screening.
  5. Magnolias existed even before bees, hence, they rely on beetles for pollination.
Links for Further Reading:
  1. Magnolia’s Unique Method of Pollination
  2. The Ancient History of Magnolias
  3. Types and Uses of Magnolias in Landscaping
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