Magnolia – Popular Shrubs for the Garden
The magnolias are among the most beautiful of all shrubs, though they are not planted as widely as they might he because they have a reputation for being ‘difficult’ and because, generally, they are slow growing. Several, however, are reasonably easy to grow provided they are given the rightand, if carefully planted, some flower very early in life. Certainly not the least beautiful is Magnolia stellata, which produces starry with drooping white petals. Plants a mere 18 inches tall will start to flower the year following planting.
Magnolia soulangeana is no more difficult to grow and also flowers early in life. It has a number of varieties but Magnolia lennei is the best. In June this produces flowers that look much like large tulips, purplish-rose on the outside, white inside.
By contrast, Magnolia grandiflora, a wall evergreen, may take many years to flower, unless Magnolia ‘Exmouth Variety’ or Magnolia ‘Goliath’, two kinds that flower much younger, are planted. This, one of the most magnificent of all magnolias, flowers in late summer producing enormous fragrant creamy flowers, 9-10 inches across. It may grow to 30 feet, with a proportionate spread.
These magnolias do not mind chalky soils, provided they are not thin and deep, well-cultivated alkaline soil is probably preferable to a hot, dry sandy acid soil. Before planting, the opportunity should be taken to incorporate moist peat and leaf-mould in lavish quantities and it is worth lightening heavier clay soils with sharp sand in addition. An annual mulch in spring with moist peat and leaf-mould, or rottedis always beneficial to magnolias. They require no , apart from the removal of any dead wood, but they must have plenty of water during droughts, particularly when young. When planting great care should be taken not to damage the roots.
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