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Gardeners Question time - Magnolia

Published on September 14th 2018

by Aldetha. All rights reserved

Every year I give a talk at my local garden club. It's an event I look forward too as members send in lots of interesting and challenging questions.
This year did not disappoint and I thought you might like to see some of the questions and answers.
The first part of this series is on Magnolias. You can also read my answers on Peonies here

Q1. Are any magnolias grafted and if so, what are the rootstocks?

• Most magnolias sold today are grafted plants.
• This means that the long wait until the first flowering can be avoided.
• The scion material (upper part of the plant) used to make the graft comes from the flowering tips and branches of existing plants.
Magnolia grandiflora
• Some grafted tree magnolias will even flower while still in their pots but it would be very bad luck for a grafted plant not to be flowering away within 3-5 years from planting.
The two common rootstocks are Magnolia champaka and Magnolia acuminata.
Magnolia champaka
Seedpods of Magnolia champaka

Q2. Is the rootstock worth keeping if the top dies and can the rootstock be re-used?

• If you let it grow you could end up with a very large tree (e.g. acuminata can grow to 30m!) with fairly insignificant flowers.
Mature tree
• If you have a lot of space you could try and grow it on.
• But remember that it will probably take 5 years or so before it starts flowering, and only at this point would you be able to identify it.
Magnolia acuminata
Seedpod of Magnolia acuminata
For more questions and answers read the next part of the series on Peonies here
Happy Gardening!

Lily Tree

Magnolia denudata

Star Magnolia

Magnolia stellata

A close up of a bunch of pink Magnolia x soulangeana flowers

Saucer Magnolia

Magnolia × soulangeana

Lily Magnolia

Magnolia liliiflora

A close up of a white Magnolia sieboldii flower

Siebold's Magnolia

Magnolia sieboldii

A close up of a green Magnolia grandiflora plant with a white flower

Bull Bay

Magnolia grandiflora

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