July 23, 2017
Mississippi is called the Magnolia State and what better tree to represent the state……. the Southern Magnolia. Southern Gardening has highlighted the early spring deciduous magnolias displaying beautiful pink flowers before the leaves emerge. These are absolutely gorgeous, but for many gardeners when they hear the word magnolia, it is synonymous with our native evergreen, the Southern Magnolia. This is the classic magnolia with its large, thick and glossy leaves. The individual oblong leaves are five to eight inches long and feel leathery. The bottoms of the leaves are covered with a rusty brown fuzz that is variable between plants. And true to its botanical name, Magnolia grandiflora, the flowers certainly are grand. In late spring through summer, the creamy white flowers are displayed, and you certainly can’t miss the up to eight inch diameter cup shaped bloom. The petals are thick and feel waxy and have a lemony fragrance. A great way to display indoors is floating a naked flower in a bowl of water. The flowers are replaced with cone-like seed pods. When the pods ripen the large red seeds are pushed out and add to the beauty of this tree. And I don’t think I have to remind anyone that Southern Magnolia are big trees, growing as wide as 40 feet, taking up a lot of landscape and making quite the statement. Southern Magnolia is that iconic symbol of the landscape in Mississippi and across the southeast. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman and I’ll see you next time on Southern Gardening.