5th April 2018 - Juliet - Assistant General Manager & Web Sales

As a new addition to the team with very limited plant knowledge I am amazed at the varieties of plants, shrubs and trees available that those of us without the knowledge almost take for granted! I always did however admire the large Magnolia Tree in my Grandparent's garden as a child, the flowers were huge I thought for a tree and when they fell to the ground and started to wilt and go brown it seemed such a shame as they were so beautiful atop the tall tree. 

Now I work in the Garden Centre and am starting to learn about when to plant, how to grow and a real appreciation for the different plants on offer. This time of year seems especially exciting and taking a walk around the plant area outside, seeing the big, fat buds of the Magnolia trees ready to burst in to beautiful blooms makes me want to plant my very own! I was surprised to learn that they can be planted in a container which would suit me as I'm living in rented accommodation, so leaving it behind is not an option and as long as the container is large enough and the plant is looked after, they can continue to grow and flower in a container for many years - good news!               


 A 'stellata' variety would be a good choice due to its smaller growing habit however many varieties can be grown, its a good idea to plant now with an ericaceous compost and using a continuous release plant food for ericaceous plants, such as the 1kg by Miracle-Gro. The soil must not become water logged but also needs regular watering, a drainage hole in the bottom of the container is essential and a stone or terracotta pot is ideal due to its heavy nature which prevents the pot from tipping when the tree begins to grow and become top heavy. Magnolia do not like to dry out, their roots are shallow when not in a container, a layer of mulch (composted natural matter) annually will help to keep the soil moist (although avoid mulching too close to the stem) and if you are planning a Summer holiday make sure a neighbour or Automatic Watering System is on hand to keep the soil damp. Pot stands are also a good idea to provide free drainage to the pot when watered and keep crawling pests at bay, gravel or shingle on the top of the compost is also a good idea to deter pests and weeds. The roots need to be insulated from any frost so you can take the plant into a greenhouse or garage in the colder parts of Winter, use a Pot Trolley if necessary, and when the time comes to bring your Magnolia back out they enjoy a sunny spot in the garden but must be sheltered from strong winds as these can damage the branches and leaves. I think one of our Laura Ashley Planters would look great with my new Magnolia, their traditional, classic styling will make the perfect addition to my decking area and their square shape allows for the Magnolia to be easily removed in years to come and be re-planted with something else, a bulbous shaped pot would need to be cracked for the plant to be re-potted.

The Magnolia is a large genus of approximately 210 flowering plant species names after the French botanist Pierre Magnol. Its an ancient plant, appearing before bees did therefore the flowers are thought to have evolved to encourage pollination by beetles, this is why the tepals (not sepals and petals) are robust to ensure they dont become damaged by pollinating beetles. The parent family Magnoliaceae is thought to date back 95 million years, fossilised specimens of Magnolia acuminata have been found dating back 20 million years, more recently the plants originate in East and South East Asia, North America, Central America, the West Indies and South America. Here in the UK the Cornish planted Magnolia are often famed for their size and beauty, the climate of warmer and damper air along with fewer frost allow for dramatic displays, our MD will soon be visiting Caerhays Estate and is hoping to send us some pictures of their beautiful specimens. 


For an up to date list of the varieties in stock here at West Somerset Garden Centre please Contact Us, our trees are supplied by Frank P Matthews for quality and assurance. Varieties like this beautiful 'genie'  below are a rich deep red, other varieties range from this to pure white and even yellow.


Customer Images of newly planted Magnolia 'susan'


Customer Image of Magnolia 'iolanthe' trying to bloom through the recent Snow!



Posted by Richard
5th April 2018

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