Magnolia flower is a genus consisting more than 200 subspecies under the family of Magnoliaceae. Considered as an ancient flora, Magnolia spread around East Asia, Southeast Asia, North America, West Indies, Central America, and South America.
Though, according to the subspecies found on those regions, the Magnolia was distributed disjunctively, with a close relationship between the subspecies.
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A. Interesting Facts about Magnolia flowers
Being an ancient flora, the flower has been around since the prehistoric era. Here are some of the interesting things about Magnolia flower facts:
- The oldest fossil of Magnolia comes from the subspecies Magnolia acuminata which dated back as far as 20 million years ago.
- It has been around before the existence of bees and was pollinated by ancient beetles. In fact, the sweet scent of the flower is a product of evolution as an attempt to attract the beetles.
- The biggest Magnolia tree may grow up to 25 meters in height and 12 meters wide.
- Due to million years of evolution, the flower and its carpel is strong and is covered by a natural wax to keep it from damage.
- The biggest flower size may grow up to 30 centimeters in width.
- The magnolia tree is one of the few flowering trees that also produce fruit. However, the small reddish fruit may only be a source for birds, not human.
- The disjunctive distribution of the Magnolia is believed due to the events that had been occurring around the world such as ice age, continental movement, eruption, and mountain formation.
- Some Magnolias are edible such as M. grandiflora that can be pickled and eaten as a condiment, M. hypoleuca flower buds that are usually broiled as a vegetable, and some other subspecies that are used as a spice and even brewed like tea.
- Some Magnolia trees like M. acuminata and M. fraseri grow tall and big enough so that the bark can be harvested.
- Chinese people have been using the Magnolia tree bark as a medicine to reduce anxiety and as an anti-angiogenesis agent.
- Most of the Magnolia tree varieties survive for a century long.
- Some regions use Magnolia as its official flower: M. grandiflora as the flower of the state of Mississippi, M. sieboldii as the flower of North Korea, and M. yulania as the flower of Shanghai city.
B. Symbols of Magnolia in Modern Culture
Not only that the flower has been around for a long time and has some interesting facts behind it, but the Magnolia flower meaning has also created effects in the modern time.
There are artworks created in tribute to these pretty flowers around the world, and its symbolism was used to express a particular meaning.
- A Magnolia flower symbolizes beauty, dignity, and nobility.
- Magnolia flower bouquet consisting of the white Magnolia flower (M. grandiflora) often used by a bride to reflect purity—widely popular in South America.
- The pink Magnolia flower represents femininity and love. Sending a bouquet of pink Magnolias may signal a loving friendship.
- Purple Magnolias symbolize dignity, and it can be sent to someone you respect out of love.
C. Growing Magnolia on Your Garden
Most subspecies of Magnolia grow on trees, while some small Magnolias grow on foliage plants. Though a classic white Magnolia tree may grow big, you can opt for smaller variety like M. virginiana.
Its root tends to grow strong, so you need to plant the tree on the ground. However, it may take up to 10 years to bloom first flowers if you decide to plant the Magnolia tree from seedlings.
For the best choice, you can pick an established small tree and replant it on your garden for a faster blooming time.
D. Planting it from Seed or Root Ball?
The Magnolia flower tree should be growing better if you plant it from the root ball. Indeed, it takes a longer time for the seed to grow and to bloom. Slightly make four 2-inches deep slices on the sides of the ball after removing it from the burlap or container.
Dig a hole less deep than the height of the root ball so that the upper part doesn’t get buried. In this process, you may water the hole before you start covering it with soil on top.
Depending on the variety, Magnolia would need a different characteristic of soil. Some varieties like M. x soulangeana and its saucer-shaped flower selections may need an acidic, fertile, and well-drained soil. While other varieties like M. kobus, M. stellate, and M. x loebneri may tolerate any kind of soil as long as it is organically rich.
The rest of the Southern Magnolia flower like M. grandiflora may grow near the beach or rather sandy soil.
Magnolia prefers full sun to partial shade. In the hottest summer, the tree may benefit from the shade you provide. However, if your area often receives heavy wind, it may not work for Magnolia. Growing and flowering Magnolia may be damaged by the strong blow of the wind.
In the first six months of planting in a cool climate, you may water the planted tree two times a week and more if the climate is warmer. After it grows, the amount of water may be rationalized according to the tree’s trunk diameter. The calculation should be 2 – 3 gallons for every inch of the trunk diameter.
It is recommended to use a layer of mulch to retain water and avoid giving the tree fertilizer on its first years. You may want to remember that the tree does not necessarily be pruned. The tree can grow naturally without any schedule pruning.
Otherwise, heavy pruning may damage the tree. Once you have your Magnolia tree established, the maintenance is rather easy. The tree would attract beetles that would help the flower to pollinate.
For a beautiful shade on your garden, the pretty flowers of Magnolia tree would surely provide the look with easy care.