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The Southern Magnolia

Updated on September 13, 2014

Grandiflora & Virginiana species

I love Magnolia trees for it's uniqueness, especially it's bloom. It's a slow grower, that is used extensively because it is an ornamental tree, but that doesn't keep it from flowering and producing blooms.

Since it is such an ornamental tree, it is because of their beauty magnolia trees have been naturalized to many places in the world, it typically grows with various hardwoods and within various environments.

They prefer the well drained rich soils in places like the bottoms and upper lowlands of the coastal plains of the southeastern United States.

They vary in sizes, throughout the various species.

The flowers vary in shape, sizes and colors.

But the Southern Magnolias are prized because of their wood, evergreen leaves and ornamental all year round beauty.

Wildlife appreciate their seeds.

before unfurling
before unfurling | Source
opening | Source
center | Source


Magnolia uses

  • lumber, pallets & furniture
  • Asian traditional medicine
  • Wrapper for Asian food
  • gardening, landscaping
  • floral scents, perfumes

Magnolia Description

The flower of a magnolia doesn't really last that long after cutting. The blooms on the trees are even short lived but while they are growing they are magnificent at every stage. The milky white petals are both lovely to look at and lovely to feel.

The petals are easily bruised.

The stages

  • pod.
  • cone
  • unfurling
  • full bloom
  • dying

Stages of decay

Once you have a cut bloom is it beautiful, the creamy, milky white color of the petals are matchless. Yet it is the stages of decay that i find even more interesting when it comes to the magnolia. The browns are coppery as it dies off.

Year round beauty

As an evergreen the magnolia is prized. It is grown in residential areas, parks and neighborhoods because of their beauty all year long.

The classic beauty of the large glossy leaves and large white fragrant blossoms make it popular.

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This is one of the Magnolia's most distinctive features. It's leaves.

The Magnolia tree has leaves that are two sided.

That means that their leaves are different on each side.

One side is green and shiny.

The other side is reddish, dull and a kind of fuzzy.

budding | Source
tightly curled cone petals
tightly curled cone petals | Source
Blooming | Source


Planting magnolias are easy once you have decided on the spot. Typically though it is recommended that you choose a spot that can best show off it's beauty.

The usual advice is to plant the tree alone with lots of space and not too close to any type of structure because of the shallow, wide spreading root system. Which over time can destroy whatever is in it's way.

Since the trees create a lot of shade it is not recommended to plant anything under the tree, but instead leave the area under the tree free of plants and grass. So adding just soil and mulch are the best things to help show case the beauty of the magnolia trees.


Prep the ground with lots of soft soil, dirt and organic matter, especially if you are planting in the Georgia red clay.

Break up the ground by digging a hole at least 1 to 2 feet deeper and wider than the root ball. Add back loose top soil, fertilizer, you want to avoid the soil becoming compacted. This is also a great time to treat the soil for the best growth possible.

You want the soil to be well drained, not too acidic and rich, so adding organic matter is a great way to aid the magnolia before it is even in the ground.


Keep in mind how large the magnolia is said to grow. Then make sure you have the space for it to grow easily and without any type of obstructions. Remember the magnolia's beauty is in it's solo standing.

When dropping the tree into the prepared hole don't let the top of the tree ball go any deeper than it's root ball and level


Remember to stake young magnolia trees. This is to help them against the wind, which can cause damage, uprooting or trunk leaning.

You need a steady stake with some rope made of natural materials, at least.

You can use three stakes or one.This actually depends on how strong the wind is in that spot you have planted the tree.

Magnolia parts

The magnolia is an ancient genus of flowering plants.

Over time it developed ways in which it adjusted to being self pollinating, that means it doesn't need the aid of bees or any other animal to get germination started

Common traits
Southern United States
bi color leaves
flower, male/female
no nectar

Proper picking

Proper picking

  • Use a clean sharp knife
  • Cut at a 45% angle
  • Cut when it first begins to unfurl
  • Cut early in the morning or evening
  • Submerge in water immediately

Proper care

  • Clean water
  • Lukewarm water
  • Remove excess foliage

Extend life, Up to nine day

  • Don't touch petals
  • Use sugar
  • Lemon lime soda
  • Bleach

As a cut flower

The Magnolia bloom is gorgeous. The milky white petals are flesh like smooth and fragrant. The blooms are usually large at maturity.

Problem is they are known to be short lived. So once they are removed from the plant be aware they will not survive for long.

Stages of decay.

Petals start creamy white and plump

As hours pass the petals start browning, beige, tan and the a muddy brown.

In these stages pieces start falling apart.

In a vase

  • change water daily
  • keep in a cool place

State Flower

Mississippi and Louisiana


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