The Magnolia grandiflora, or Magnolia Bush, grow widely across the eastern portion of the United States but originally hail from Southeast Asia. More than 80 varietals exist worldwide, and each has different properties that may adapt more closely to local climactic conditions. While a classic or traditional Magnolia may grow up to 80 feet tall, the bush varietals are bred for their small tree ornamental properties, and most will grow no higher than 20 to 25 feet at maturity. All varietals of Magnolia Bush or tree offer the trademark fragrant creamy white Magnolia flowers that bloom during the spring and summer seasons. Some Magnolia Bush varietals feature blossoms in colors ranging from pink to red to yellow to purple or even split colors. The Magnolia bush is considered to be a hardy and pest and disease resistant plant that is easy for even novice gardeners to grow successfully in a home garden or landscape setting. Learn from these Magnolia bush experts how to grow the Magnolia Bush for yourself.
The Magnolia Bush prefers full sunlight for at least six hours per day regardless of the varietal. Magnolia Bushes are slow to grow, and it is best to pick a protected area that is not heavily impacted by foot or other traffic as the root system is quite shallow. For best results, do not plant a Magnolia Bush until all chance of frost has passed in the springtime.
To begin, prepare the soil in which the Magnolia Bush will be planted. To do this, dig a hole that is two to three times the width of the root ball and as deep. Work the exhumed soil with a shovel or rake to break up any clay or soil clumps, remove rocks, and deconstruct air pockets. Since the Magnolia Bush responds best to soil with excellent drainage, it can be a helpful step to add in organic matter or peat moss to the soil before refilling the hole around the new root ball. If row planting Magnolia Bushes, leave a minimum of 10 feet in between each plant. Magnolia Bushes require lots of water while growing. Water the new root ball thoroughly using a drip or soaker hose, and then apply a minimum four inch layer of mulch up to but not touching the trunk of the new root ball to assist with locking in moisture.
The Magnolia Bush will need frequent watering and experts recommend watering to a level of five gallons weekly. Soil should never be allowed to become dry between waterings, but should always be kept moist. Fertilizer should be offered in March, May and July to assist with growth and flowering. The best fertilizer will be in a 10-10-10 concentration and feedings should be escalated from one cup per feeding the first year to two cups the second year and then to four cups the third year. After the third year it is not necessary to offer fertilizer unless soil is unusually poor.