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What’s Blooming in Paradise: Magnolia produces lemony fragrance

By Staff | Oct 7, 2015

The southern magnolia tree can reach heights of 60 feet once it reaches maturity. The tree also produces giant sized blossoms that produce a lemony fragrance. ANITA FORCE MARSHALL

Plant Subject: Southern Magnolia Tree (Magnolia grandiflora)

First impression: Giant sized blossoms of silky creamy white petals the shape of an oversized gardenia. The centerpiece of this iconic bloom resembles a tiny pinecone. Grand over sized leaves whose tops are shiny green and bottom a fuzzy latte colors. Her trunk has a deep ridged texture of light grey bark. The tree stands very tall with a wide spreading canopy. Expensive, exotic perfumed scents languish in the breeze. We have several very huggable magnolia trees blooming at the Botanical Gardens of the Sanibel Moorings.

Upon further investigation: Magnolia hails from Asia and North America and credits over 210 species of trees and shrubs. These trees are used for lumber and flowers plus to flavor teas, oils, and fragrances. We are lucky to call our star a native plant.

Considered a large evergreen tree whose mature height can be 60 feet, its lovely oversized leaves are dimensional with different upper and lower hues and textures.

Plant in partial shade to full sun in a well drained area layered with lots of mulch. Volcanic mulching is never recommended. Picture if you will, mulch that is piled higher around the trunk of the tree sloping downward to resemble a volcano. Bad form! Tree trunks need a wee bit of space between mulch and its bark to stay healthy by not inviting mold, fungus, critters, etc. Mulch correctly applied should cover the roots (2-3 inches deep) for cooling, amending soil, and water retention.

The southern magnolia tree can reach heights of 60 feet once it reaches maturity. The tree also produces giant sized blossoms that produce a lemony fragrance. ANITA FORCE MARSHALL

If you’re looking for gorgeous blooms, you found it! Our star is a number one, top of the heap for flowers lovers everywhere. Flowers are super large, cameo white, 12 petals arranged in three whorls. The lovely petals surround a tiny cone filled with stamens and pistils. Take in their distinctive lemony fragrance all year round.

After blooming a 5 inch cream colored pinecone appears and as it’s matures turns to a chocolate brown color. Eventually, bright red seeds peek their way out of the mature seed cone. These fruits and seeds are relished by birds and wildlife. You will enjoy watching the variety of wildlife this tree brings to your garden. Any tree like our magnolias is a welcomed haven for birds and wildlife. The large, sprawling branches and canopy are great habitat for nesting and shelter. Just like us humans, wildlife needs shade from the sun. They are also drawn to large canopied tress that will hide them from predators, so they can relax and just take a snooze.

Love magnolias, but don’t have the room; consider a smaller blooming and tree stature magnolia, sweet bay magnolia, (Magnolia virginiana).

Pros:

Grand iconic blooms

The southern magnolia tree can reach heights of 60 feet once it reaches maturity. The tree also produces giant sized blossoms that produce a lemony fragrance. ANITA FORCE MARSHALL

Does well in moist and dry soil

Likes full sun

Easy to maintain/prune

Sought after for southern gardens

Might acquire a taste for mint juleps

Gorgeous flowers for house display

Always a joy to hug or take a nap under

Lightly scented

Salt tolerant

Native status

Cons:

Daily clean up when shedding large leaves and blossoms

Large canopy needs lots of space

Neighbors will be stealing your flowers

Conclusion: Magnolia is one of the most celebrated flowering trees of the world! Just perfect for our tropical oasis, it will definitely steel your heart away and take you back to a time of mint juleps and ya’ll come back now southern charm.

Don’t wanna miss this bloomer!