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Year after year, magnolia trees herald spring in our latitudes. They enchant with their porcelain-like and partly fragrant flowers. These beauties originally come from China and North America. They came to Europe more than 300 years ago. Even if the plants are more than 100 million years old and have a simple botanical structure, there are a few things to consider when choosing a location and caring for them so that they can thrive healthily and magnificently and produce a rich bloom every year.


Quite undemanding in terms of care

The real primeval plant is normally relatively easy to care for. The robust tree has been doing well in its natural environment for millions of years. Only late frosts when the plant is in bloom can make it a bit difficult. A few things should therefore be considered when planting:

  • Choosing the right location
  • correct soil conditions
  • space requirement
  • wind exposure

If the location and soil conditions suit the magnolia, then it rewards it with good growth, rich and constant flowering, and good wood maturity. This is necessary to minimize any damage that may occur in winter.


The choice of location

As a rule, the oldest flowering plant on earth is proportionate undemanding. However, the magnolia promises good growth and rich flowers in a place in the garden that

  • sunny to semi-shady
  • warm but not too hot
  • protected from strong midday sun and
  • is sheltered from the wind.

A location with a protective and warming wall in the back would be ideal. Most magnolia trees planted in Central Europe usually love a sunny location, at least four hours of sun per day should be available. However, there are exceptions, some species such as Magnolia sieboldii and Magnolia wilsonii need a sunny to slightly semi-shady location with sufficient soil moisture and without strong midday heat. Otherwise, the leaves can burn in no time.

tip: Before planting a magnolia, the requirements for the location should be checked carefully so that there is no disappointment.


Slightly acidic to acidic soil is ideal

Prerequisite for a lush bloom are always suitable soil conditions. Normally, when planting a magnolia, thorough soil preparation, i.e. soil improvement, will almost always be necessary. Although sometimes older specimens get along relatively well with normal garden soil. However, to grow and thrive, some should soil features are taken into account. Magnolias love you

  • slightly acidic to acidic,
  • humus rich and profound,
  • water-permeable and constantly moist (no waterlogging!) as well
  • lime-free soil.

A pH between 5.5 and 6.8 is ideal. In this area, the magnolia roots find an optimal mixture of dissolved nutrients, which are easy to absorb. On the other hand, nutrient uptake is made more difficult in soil that is too calcareous. Deficiency symptoms can easily occur, especially in young plants.

It should be noted, however, that magnolias will normally cope with many soil structures, so soil improvement may be necessary. For example, frost hardness is greatest on sandy soils, provided that water can be stored in the upper layers. Even nutrient-rich and moist loamy soils are no problem after soil improvement with sand and leaf humus.

tip: Depending on the pH value of the soil, rhododendron earth can also be used to improve the soil.


Shallow root loves constant moisture

Longer periods of drought are not well tolerated by magnolias. The leaves drop off quickly. It is also important that the soil in the root area remains cool and moist in summer. In its natural location, this area is always protected from drying out and heating up by falling leaves or neighboring treetops. There is a remedy here underplanting create with different flowering plants. The following are particularly suitable for this:

  • Hepatica (Hepatica noblis)
  • Wood anemone (Anemone blanda)
  • Violet (Viola)
  • Cyclamen (Cyclamen coum)
  • Elf Flower (Epimedium)
  • Foam Blossom (Tiarella)
  • Purple Bells (Heuchera)
  • Lesser periwinkle (Vinca minor)

tip: A layer of bark mulch can also be applied in the root area.

space requirement

Space requirement when choosing the variety important

An eye-catcher are magnolias as solitary plants. This is where the magnificent flowers really come into their own. It should be noted that the growth heights vary greatly. Many varieties also expand enormously with age. It is important that young plants always have enough space for good development. Heights of 10 meters and a width of 5 meters can easily be reached here. In order to enable a good development, sufficient space should be planned for the planting:

  • 4 to 8 meters per plant, but at least 4 m²
  • shrubby and columnar magnolias require less space
  • 3 to 5 meters of space on all sides, depending on variety and crown

tip: Magnolias placed in the shade of neighboring plants and buildings will become lazy and stunted in growth.

The tulip magnolia is characterized by its white, pink or purple flowers.

Note wind tunnel

Although magnolias can usually cope with wind, the flowers and large leaves, for example in the case of the large-leaved magnolia (Magnolia macrophylla) or the umbrella magnolia (Magnolia tripetala), are badly affected. Because of this, a more sheltered from the wind Place beyond a wind tunnel recommended. However, protection from the wind should not be equated with accumulated heat without any draft. May in summer no heat build-up appear. Likewise, late frosts are the biggest enemy for the flowers. The petals turn brown and then fall off within a few days. A place is appropriate here, which offers the plant protection from cold east winds.

tip: An ideal windbreak would be a place in front of a house wall or in a building corner, but with the appropriate distance.

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