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Magnificent Magnolias

Spring is very busy right now, bulbs in flower, hedgerows coming to life, wildflowers appearing in grass verges, so much going on in fact that shorter, but no less dramatic displays, can be lost in the activity of nature’s most vibrant season.

One ‘blink and you miss it’ moment are the Magnolia trees, currently showing off their large waxy blooms in parks and gardens, but it won’t be long before their petals drop, so appreciate them while you can.

Magnolia is an ancient genus, with fossilised specimens dating back over 20 million years

Impressive and Ancient

For making a real splash in the garden, choose the hardy, pink flowering Magnolia ‘Atlas’ with flowers that are up to an amazing 40cm across. Did you know that Magnolia is an ancient genus, with fossilised specimens found dating back over 20 million years, having survived ice ages, continental drift and any number of geographical upheavals?!

Making the most of Magnolia

  • Like a lot of woody stemmed plants, Magnolia is happiest when arranged in water.

  • Temperature: Cool. 2-5°C.

  • Use secateurs or a sharp knife to cut stems at an angle.

  • Cut in bud for maximum flowering indoors, flowers are short lived only 2-3 days.

  • Display in a cool spot, away from direct heat sources and draughts.

  • Change water every 2- 3 days.

And there’s more…Magnolia leaves are thick and leathery with a glossy surface and a matt, rust coloured underside. They are tough enough to be rolled or pinned and used in textured work and can be preserved by skeletonising.

Enjoy your flowers!


Su Whale is a florist and freelance writer with over twenty-five years' experience in the floristry industry. She is the author and publisher of three best-selling books: Cut Flowers, 4th edition (2020) Cut Foliage, 2nd Edition, (2021) and Houseplants (2019), all bookshelf essentials for the professional florist.

Sunflower Su




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