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Magnolia soulangeana with deciduous leaves
The Latin name is Magnolia x soulangeana, and that small symbol between the two terms reminds us that it is a hybrid; in fact it is one of the most beautiful flower-growing magnolias in the garden, due to the wonderful flowering that takes place between the end of winter and the beginning of spring. It is a hybrid of two species of Chinese origin, Magnolia denudata and Magnolia liliiflora, which were already crossed in the 1800s; of the first hybrid, various cultivars originated in the decades, of which there are today some dozens.
It is a large shrub, or a small tree, fairly slow growing, with deciduous, broad, oval, leathery, glossy, light green leaves; at the end of winter, at the apex of the still bare branches, sprout long sharp buds, from which will bloom large cupped flowers, white, pink, or purple, often with the inner and outer part of the petals of contrasting color; the effect of flowering magnolias is exceptional, also because it occurs on bare wood, still without leaves; the foliage appears during flowering, and remains on the plant until autumn.
Magnolias are elegant plants and, although they are quite delicate, they do not need great care, so they are also suitable for those who cannot find much time to devote to the garden; they can also be grown in pots, having sufficiently large containers to be able to contain the root system without having to repot the plant often.
Place a magnolia planted
One of the characteristics that make the magnolias of cultivation quite difficult, consists in the fact that their root system is quite delicate, and does not tolerate being repotted, moved, pruned or ruined; a repotting or moving a magnolia shrub, even if done with all the care necessary for the case, can cause the total lack of blooms for the following year. For this reason it is always good to handle these plants with care, and try to avoid moving them without valid reason.
They are put to stay in a good fresh and peaty soil, which slightly maintains the humidity, without being compact and stagnant; they seem to tolerate alkaline soils quite well, although they prefer a slightly acidic substrate.
To place a plant of this genus with leaves deciduous in the garden you choose a very sunny place, and possibly sheltered from the cold winter winds, which could ruin the buds, which sprout already in February or March; if we live in an area with very hot and dry summers, we choose a place that in summer is slightly shaded, especially in the hottest hours of the day. We often see magnolias positioned below tall deciduous trees: in this way the plants will be able to enjoy the sun in winter and spring, but will be sheltered by the cool shade of the trees in July.