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Everything you need to know before planting a Magnolia tree

Lisa Garden on 17-11-2017

Magnolia trees have been around for over 20 million years, while some other plants of the same family date back 95 million years. As they have been around before the evolution of bees and moths, they rely on beetles for pollination, although bees do visit them later on in the summertime. They flower when the tree is bare, making their goblet or star-shaped, stunning flowers all the more noticeable. There are many different types of Magnolia grown in Britain but the most popular are deciduous, losing its leaves in the winter.


This checklist will allow you to see if your garden had the right conditions for a magnolia tree

  • Magnolia trees prefer full sun all day long but can survive in partial shade. If a magnolia tree does not get enough light, it may not produce flowers.
  • They need space to grow so make sure that the variety that you choose has enough room
  • Magnolia trees prefer a neutral or slightly acidic soil and do not like alkaline, chalky soil
  • They are shallow rooted plants and need well-watered soil and mulch to retain the water in the soil
  • They do not require much attention except an annual mulching and do not require many nutrients
  • Magnolia trees produce beautiful flowers for a few weeks in the spring, depending on local weather conditions
  • They do better in a sheltered spot away from frost pockets and areas prone to waterlogging
  • Unless a magnolia tree is completely neglected, they rarely suffer from pests or diseases



Choosing the right variety of magnolia tree for your garden

If you have the suitable conditions to grow an enchanting magnolia tree then here are some of the most popular magnolia trees that British gardeners enjoy in their outside spaces:

  • Magnolia “Elizabeth” will grow to 10m in height and may spread to 6m
  • Magnolia “Jane” will grow to 4m in height and may spread to 3m
  • Magnolia “Ioebneri” will grow 8m in height and may spread to 6m
  • Magnolia “Soulangeana” will grow to 7m and may spread to 7m
  • Magnolia “Stellata” will grow to 2.5m and may spread to 2.5m
  • Magnolia “Susan” will grow to 3m and may spread to 3m

You can buy magnolia trees in your local garden centre or online. For example, buy the Magnolia "Soulangeana" or Magnolia "Stellata" online.

Planting a magnolia tree in your space

Once you have found the perfect spot to plant your magnolia tree you must wait until December or January when the plant is dormant to plant it. You should dig a hole slightly deeper than its container and plant it at the same height as it was in its pot. Fill the hole with the surrounding soil but do not pile up the soil around the stem of the tree. Magnolias need to be kept well watered for the first nine months until their roots have properly established. Visit your local garden centre to see which varieties of magnolia trees they have in stock to choose the one that you like the best and fits your space. At your garden centre make sure to pick up a bag of mulch to protect your magnolia tree from drying out.