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Magnolia

Magnolia tree: origins

There are two major types of magnolias: those with deciduous leaves and those with persistent foliage. The first ones bloom in spring, just before the appearance of the new leaves; the latter form large tulip-shaped inflorescences (about 25 cm in diameter) and bloom in late spring and early summer. The deciduous species are native to East Asia, while the persistent species come from the eastern United States. The magnolia grandiflora tree belongs to the large deciduous trees and thanks to its evergreen foliage it is probably the best known among the magnolias. Among other things, it is one of the few trees with a temperate climate that has persistent foliage. Magnolia is very popular as a garden plant for the beauty of its flowers and for its rusticity,

Magnolia tree: a bit of history


Magnolia is native to Asia and the United States, but has also thrived in our latitudes for millions of years. Then, as a result of climate change, the magnolia tree disappeared in Europe. In 1711, Roland Barrin de la Galissonnière, governor of Louisiana, sent some plant species to France, including some magnolias. One of these was bought by René Darquistade, then mayor of Nantes, who was also fond of botany. After several years the magnolia, despite much care, the magnolia did not bloom and Darquistade ordered his gardener to destroy the plant. The gardener’s wife, however, recovered the tree and planted it in an area sheltered from the winds: after a few years the saved magnolia tree thanked it with a generous flowering. The news spread quickly, many came to see this magnolia with its splendid creamy white flowers and in 1764 François Bonamy classified the plant under the name of magnolia grandiflora, belonging to the magnoliaceae family. Due to the beauty of its flowers and the luster of its foliage, the magnolia tree has always inspired many artists.

Magnolia tree: cultivation


The magnolia does not require great care and is also quite resistant, but some tips can facilitate a more abundant flowering. First, cover the feet of the magnolia tree with maritime pine rinds which will provide the tree with the acidity it needs to develop, while also helping it to maintain some moisture at the ground level. Plant it in the garden or in a large pot on the terrace; in any case, remember that it is preferable to plant it at the beginning of autumn to facilitate rooting before the arrival of winter and the subsequent spring recovery. The soil must be a mixture of garden soil, peat and manure. In spring it needs regular watering which must be increased during the summer in case it is very hot. No pruning is recommended, but in case you want to balance the branches a little, wait for the end of flowering. It is a latifolia that loves sunny areas, but also grows well in partial shade.

Magnolia: Magnolia tree: variety


The star magnolia is one of the smallest species of the magnolia family: it reaches about 2 or 3 meters in height. The magnolia grandiflora is instead the most famous among the magnolias: it is native to the United States of America, its foliage is evergreen and can reach up to 30 meters in height; it is recommended for those who have large green areas. In general, the magnolia tree is very ornamental and is often planted as a solitary tree, but landscape gardeners also recommend combining it with other typical border plants. The magnolia tree has a rather slow growth and it generally takes about 5 years to see the first flowering. The flowers do not live long but on the other hand the flowering of the magnolia grandiflora is renewed throughout the summer. Finally a curiosity:

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