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Today's magnolia species have their distribution areas in East Asia and North and Central America. Archaeological finds have shown that stately magnolias also grew in the Central European forests before the Ice Age. However, they have become extinct with the advance of the glaciers and the low temperatures on the European continent.

The American species usually grow stronger and can grow into large trees, while the East Asian smaller and often bloom before the foliage. In addition, since they are a bit more frosty than the American relationship, Asians such as the star magnolia (Magnolia stellata), the kobushi magnolia (Magnolia kobus) and the lily-flowered magnolia (Magnolia liliiflora) have the greatest importance in European gardens. There are also two hybrid groups with the extremely popular tulip magnolia (Magnolia x soulangeana) and the varieties of Löbner's magnolia (Magnolia x loebneri). In the United States has been running a large-scale breeding program for several decades. The goal is to create a new generation of early flowering and good winter hardy hybrid magnolias with yellow flowers by crossing different Asian magnolias with the American, yellow-flowering cucumber magnolia (Magnolia acuminata var. Aurea). The first new varieties, such as 'Butterflies' and 'Yellow Bird' have already proven themselves in our gardens.

Magnolia hybrid 'Yellow Bird'

Yellow flowering magnolia hybrid 'Yellow Bird'

The different magnolias grow depending on the species and variety wide upright or very expansive and form light, loosely branched crowns. The star magnolia is one of the smallest representatives, barely three meters high, and the cucumber magnolia (Magnolia acuminata) is the highest in our latitudes of 25 meters. The bark of the magnolia is usually light gray to brown and often occupied on the annual shoots with clearly visible, bright lenticels. The foliage is deciduous and alternate in most species, and in some such as the frost-sensitive large-flowered magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) also evergreen. The leaves are mostly quite large and obovate to broad-oval. Grated as well as the bark they exude an intense, slightly pungent odor. As the first species, the star magnolia shows its flowers from mid-March, among the latest is the summer-flowering magnolia (Magnolia sieboldii) that blooms in June. The flower colors vary depending on the type of white on yellow and pink to pink and flower shapes from tulip to star-like. The fruits of the woody plants are red-brown, cucumber-like common fruits with bean-like, mostly black-brown seeds.

Magnolias have a sensitive root system and prefer humus and nutrient-rich, very loose soil with as even humidity as possible. With prolonged drought, they quickly get yellow leaves and stop growing. The location should be as sunny as possible and somewhat protected because of the early flowering. In semi-shade, the woody plants grow, but the flower bud is much lower.


Magnolias are classic solitary shrubs for the spring garden and go very well with rhododendrons. Above all, the expansive tulip magnolia is also gladly planted in parks because of its impressive abundance of flowers. Give the crowns enough space to spread undisturbed. Good bedding partners are all early bloomers, primarily onion flowers such as daffodils (Galanthus), winterlings (Eranthis), crocus (Crocus), lung herbs (Pulmonaria) and fragrance violets (Viola odorata). Avoid competitive perennials such as some groundcover cranesbill species (geranium). They often make life difficult for the sensitive magnolia roots.

The star magnolia is also suitable for rooftop gardens when using large planters and ensuring even irrigation. The best is automatic drip irrigation.

Star magnolia

Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata)


Cover the root area after planting with bark humus and refrain from any ground work, so that the sensitive, near-surface roots are not disturbed in their development.

To cut

Magnolias do not need a regular cut. They are best left to grow undisturbed. The tree-like representatives can be used over the years to plant or under a seat set up.

winter protection

Plant magnolias basically in spring. Small, poorly rooted plants can otherwise have problems in the first winter. The flowers of the tulip magnolia are very frosty due to their early budding. Here it has been proven to mulch the root area in the winter in Bodenfrost thick in order to delay in the spring, the warming and thus the flowering time something.

Magnolia seeds

The follicles of the tulip magnolia burst in the fall and give the view of the bright red seeds free


For hobby gardeners, the propagation of magnolia is possible only by lowering and sowing. However, one needs a lot of patience for both methods: The settlers only formed enough roots after two years, the seeds that are sown immediately after the harvest do not germinate until the next spring and then very unevenly. The vegetative propagation of the garden forms took place in the nurseries also earlier by sinkers, but this is no longer economical because of the two-year rooting period and the elaborate care of the mother plant quarters. Most Magnolia breeds are now propagated in the greenhouse by cuttings, but this requires a lot of technical effort. The new magnolia breeds from the USA are predominantly made from Meristem culture in order to be able to offer large quantities within a few years.

Diseases and pests

Magnolias are largely resistant to diseases and pests. In rare cases, bacterial leaf spots (Pseudomonas) can occur.

Video Board: Playboi Carti - Magnolia.

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