The magnolia is one of the most popular and distinctive ornamental trees in the world. Its large, sweetly scented, pink, white, purple or cream colored flowers enchant our senses for almost two weeks in early spring. Even after the flowers have withered, the tree remains beautiful due to its two-toned leaves and distinctive crown shape. However, gardeners who want to create a stunning summer garden are often disappointed as their tree blooms before any other ornamental plants. This is where the summer magnolia comes into play. This subspecies of magnolia Genus is a wonderful alternative for hobby and professional gardeners who prefer summer blooms. Depending on the care and conditions, their flowers open between the end of May and June. In today’s article we would like to give you helpful tips on how to properly care for your summer magnolia. Here you will also find interesting information worth knowing about this breathtakingly beautiful noble plant.
The decorative potential of this small magnolia species is often underestimated
Interesting facts about the summer magnolia
Summer magnolia, in botanical jargon also as Siebold’s magnolia, Oyama magnolia or in Latin as Magnolia sieboldii known, is a deciduous, deciduous small ornamental tree. It is named after the famous German Japan and naturalist Philipp Franz von Siebold, who also studied it carefully.
This magnolia has a compact habit and reaches a maximum height of about 10 meters and a crown width of about 5 meters. It is not particularly fast-growing and does not increase by more than 30 cm a year. On the other hand, it is very durable and, with good care, can live for more than 120 years.
It has leathery leaves with a light green upper side and bluish, hairy lower side. They turn golden brown in the fall and then fall off as temperatures begin to drop. The foliage develops in the spring, only then does the flowering follow. This is rather atypical for magnolias, because most species still bloom before the leaves sprout.
An atypical magnolia, but still enchantingly beautiful
This ornamental tree grows similar to a large shrub
The flowers are relatively small with snow-white petals and showy purple stamens. Since they only reach a maximum of 10 cm in diameter, they sometimes get lost in the dense foliage. The summer magnolia can hardly keep up with the huge and lush flowers of the evergreen magnolia.
However, its small size is more than compensated for by its longevity. While the blooms of its more popular relatives wilt within 2 weeks, the summer magnolia’s blooms last until the end of September. During this time, they provide food for thousands of pollinators and beneficials – bees, butterflies, lacewings, etc.
The nectar-filled flowers are a magnet for bees
After the flower has finally withered, the ornamental tree bears green, elongated, scaly fruits that gradually turn purple. Then, in late fall, they burst open to reveal orange-colored seeds. The fruit competes aesthetically with the flower and is just as decorative in the garden.
The summer magnolia is often combined with the evergreen magnolia
As soon as one ornamental tree finishes flowering in spring, the other begins
The fruit is scaly, red and delicate
Symbolism in the language of flowers
The summer magnolia comes from East Asia, more precisely from Japan. In the Japanese language of flowers, Hanakotoba, the ornamental tree stands for nobility, endurance, dignity, love of nature and inner peace. The longevity of this species of magnolia has also made it a symbol of eternal bonding, which is why its snow-white flowers are often featured in traditional bridal bouquets.
Magnolias are perfectly safe for dogs, cats, and other pets
Blossoms and leaves can therefore be brought into the house
Magnolias are non-toxic and can even decorate the wedding cake
The ideal location
The summer magnolia is one of the hardiest subspecies of the magnolia Genus. It easily withstands temperatures down to -20 degrees. Of course, young plants still benefit from some form of winter protection, ideally a layer of mulch to keep the roots warm.
As a rule, it is best to initially keep this small ornamental tree in a large pot, which you can move to a sheltered spot when winter temperatures set in. From a height of about 1 meter it is time to move to its permanent place. Do this after the last frost, between March and April. Choose a wind-protected location with plenty of sun or partial shade. You can find out about the necessary soil quality in the next few lines.
Strong winds can easily break off magnolia blossoms
Substrate, fertilizer and watering
These ornamental trees do not tolerate soil that is too dry or too wet. The substrate should ideally be moist, but well drained, rich in nutrients and humus. A pH between 5.5 and 6.8 is perfect for Summer Magnolia. Lime should not be present in the soil, as this makes it difficult to absorb nutrients.
The soil should be enriched with leaf humus and compost before planting. Thereafter, plenty of mulching and watering is done around the trunk. Regular watering is a must for optimal care. The soil of the summer magnolia should never dry out completely. However, be careful not to cause root rot.
Young saplings can be fed with mature compost and bark mulch annually in spring. You can then renew the mulch layer before the first frost. Once established, the magnolia requires little attention as it will take care of itself. Only in very dry and hot summer months can it benefit from extra watering.
Durable, easy to care for and decorative
Magnolias have shallow roots and don’t need too much room to grow
The summer magnolia is often unfairly overlooked in comparison to its profusely flowering relatives. But she has just as much to offer in the garden – long-lasting flowering and practical undemanding.
The white flowers mysteriously shine in the mist