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Best uses

This medium-sized magnolia is good for larger gardens so it can be enjoyed to its full potential. It looks wonderful incorporated into mixed woodland plantings or as a specimen tree in a sheltered border or lawn.

Physical characteristics

A medium-sized deciduous slow-growing upright tree, growing to 4m tall and 3m wide.

Flowers and foliage

This magnolia produces large goblet-shaped nearly brick red flowers from large furry grey buds. The flowers are produced on the tips of the branches making this tree slower growing than others. Leaves are mid-green and ovate in shape and appear after the flowers. Slightly scented.

Preferred site

Prefers full sun to partial shade in moist, acidic, well-drained soil in a sheltered position.

Preparation for planting

Always choose healthy, well-grown, plants and plant after autumn rains, when the soil is moist and warm allows trees to establish a good root system well before summer. Planting is often improved on clay soils by adding extra topsoil and forming raised beds. Incorporate coarse sand, bark, peat, compost or other organic material to improve soil structure. Before planting ensure the root ball is saturated and remove the planter bag or pot with minimal root disturbance. Trim any broken roots or branches and plant at the same level as in the container. Dig a hole twice the diameter of the root ball to plant in. Long term slow-release fertilisers may be added at this stage. As soil is placed in the prepared hole tread firmly to bring soil in close contact with the root-ball. Unless the soil is very wet, water thoroughly making sure that moisture penetrates to the depth of the root-ball. In windy positions, staking may be required. Use wide ties that hold securely without chafing. Tie firmly but allow room for the trunk to increase in girth without constriction. This allows the plant to move a little in the wind encouraging the development of a strong root system without the risk of chafing or root damage.

Maintenance tips

Mulch annually to suppress weeds and help conserve moisture. Feed annually in spring with a balanced fertiliser such as blood and bone at a handful per square metre in spring as new growth begins. Check any tree ties are not too tight or rubbing on the trunk as this will cause permanent damage. Deciduous magnolias often don't require any pruning other than to remove any dead or diseased branches or to form a better shape.

Ecological and biodiversity benefits

Attracts beneficial insects to the garden.

Pests and diseases

Possums love the flower buds.

Location at Auckland Botanic Gardens

Spring Blossom Valley

Interesting facts and tips

Bred here in New Zealand by the well known Magnolia breeder Vance Hooper.