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Best uses

This magnolia only grows relatively slowly and doesn't get big so is great for smaller gardens or courtyards, or containers. It also looks wonderful incorporated into mixed woodland plantings, or as a small specimen tree in a sheltered border or lawn.

Physical characteristics

A small, narrow, upright, deciduous tree growing to 2m tall and 1m wide.

Flowers and foliage

This small magnolia produces small furry grey buds that open to goblet-shaped, dark purple-red flowers that continue through spring and then a few more again through summer. Leaves are ovate, mid-green and appear after the flowers.

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

Magnolia Garden

Interesting facts and tips

This magnolia was bred in New Zealand by breeder Vance Hooper and in 2011 received first prize at the International Plant Trade Fair in Essen, Germany.