Star Magnolia is a bushy shrub with large, luxurious, star-shaped flowers. The homeland of the plant is the Japanese island of Honshu. Due to the original shape of the crown and leaves, the star magnolia is considered one of the most beautiful species.
Description of star magnolia
Under natural conditions, stellate magnolia (Stellata) grows as a low shrub with a lush crown, the height of which reaches 3 m. This is the smallest species of the genus magnolia. It is widespread in the humid climate of mountain forests. Due to its compact crown, small size and early flowering, the species quickly gained popularity not only in Europe, but also beyond its borders.
The leaves of the shrub are large (10 - 12 mm), fleshy, have an elongated-oval shape with a pointed or obtuse apex and a wedge-shaped base. The length of the petioles is 3 - 10 cm. The leaf blade is shiny.
The length of the buds is about 1 cm, the diameter is about 0.3 cm. A characteristic feature of the plant is the strong silky pubescence of young branches and buds, which then gradually become naked.
Important! The shrub grows slowly, over a year the length of the shoots increases by about 15 cm.
How the star magnolia blooms
A week before the beginning of flowering, the star magnolia begins to take on a decorative appearance. During this period, the volume of flower buds increases, and they themselves become pinkish and shed their protective shell.
The plant blooms, as a rule, in April, before the formation of leaves. Flowering lasts approximately three weeks. The flowers are star-shaped and formed by 15-40 large ribbon-like petals. They have a bright, sweetish aroma. The diameter of the flowers reaches 12 cm.
After flowering, the shrub is covered with dark green leaves. The fruits are cylindrical prefabricated leaflets, reaching a length of 5 - 6 cm. The plant begins to bear fruit in September. The pineal fruits of the stellate magnolia, as can be seen from the photo, resemble red-colored cucumbers in their appearance.
The best varieties of star magnolia
There are many different varieties of this plant, differing in appearance, flowering time and frost resistance. Below are the most popular varieties of star magnolia that can be grown in central Russia.
Magnolia star Rosea is a small deciduous shrub, reaching a height of up to 2 m. Its crown is dense, branched, has a spherical or oval shape. It blooms with large pale pink flowers (up to 10 cm in diameter), consisting of 10 - 20 petals. The variety is winter-hardy, highly decorative. In warm regions, flowering may begin a little earlier, in March.
Star Magnolia Royal Star is the most popular and frost-resistant variety that can withstand temperatures up to 30 degrees below zero. The height of the bush can reach 3.5 m. Its flowers are large, wide, have a snow-white color, and consist of 18 - 25 petals. The petals are arranged in two rows. The crown is rounded, spreading, densely branched. The leaves are most often light green, with a shiny leaf blade.
Star-shaped magnolia Waterlili has a compact rounded crown, the height and width of which are about 2.5 - 3 m. The star-shaped flowers are pale pink, almost white in color, with petals on them30. The buds are colored in a more intense pink shade. The size of the flowers is 7 - 8 cm. The foliage is dark green. Winter hardiness of the Waterlili star magnolia is high, the plant can withstand temperatures up to 29 degrees below zero.
Dr. Massey is a shrub up to 2.5 m high. A distinctive feature of the variety is long and abundant flowering. Before opening, the buds are painted in a pinkish tint, which eventually disappears, and the semi-double flowers become snow-white. The variety takes root well in temperate climates. Magnolia star (Stellata) Dr. Massey can be safely grown in the suburbs.
Jane Platt is another charming magnolia that is hardy. The star-shaped, fragrant flowers are very large and can reach 20 cm in diameter. Multiple pale pink petals are arranged in 3-4 rows, which gives the buds a special splendor. Flowering is profuse and, like most varieties, begins in April and lasts about three weeks.
There are several ways to breed a star magnolia:
- sowing seeds;
Advice! The most effective way to propagate star magnolia is by cuttings.
The plant is rarely propagated by seeds, since this process takes too long. Seed-grown star magnolia will only start flowering closer to its tenth year of life.
Vegetative propagation methods such as cuttings and layering are less labor intensive and produce better results. Reproduction by grafting is a rather complicated method that only experienced gardeners can handle.
Planting and caring for star magnolia
Star magnolia is a capricious plant that requires adherence to certain rules when planting and growing. This subtropical shrub feels comfortable growing in a temperate climate, but it does not tolerate severe frosts and summer heat. Subject to agricultural technology, even a beginner can cope with planting and caring for a star magnolia.
Advice! As a planting material, it is best to use seedlings with a closed root system, purchased in specialized gardening stores. The height of the seedlings should be about 1 m. It is advisable that one or more flower buds are present on the shoots: this will make sure the authenticity of the variety.
Hyacinths, daffodils or tulips can be used as companions for the plant. The star magnolia looks favorably against the background of evergreen trees. In group plantings, the shrub looks even more impressive.
It is recommended to plant star magnolia seedlings with a closed root system in a permanent place at the end of autumn. If you do this in the spring, over the summer the shrub will give many shoots that will not have time to lignify before the onset of winter frosts. This may result in their freezing, which will lead to a weakening of the bush.
When planting in late autumn, you can choose seedlings already prepared for winter. This will ensure that the buds develop well in the spring. In addition, magnolia seedlings have a fairly high price, but in the autumn they are often sold at discounts.
Site selection and soil preparation
The place for planting a star magnolia must be protected from the wind, drafts are contraindicated in the tree. Lighting is an important factor influencing harmonious growth and flowering. The best location for the plant will be the southern or southeastern side of the site, where it is quite sunny, but there is a slight partial shade. An abundance of sun can provoke early foliage development, and, consequently, a reduction in flowering time.
Advice! Magnolia can be planted under the canopy of a tall tree, which provides the necessary shade during the afternoon. However, it should be borne in mind that with age, the size of the shrub increases greatly.
Since sphagnum bogs are the natural habitat of stellate magnolia, the soil for planting should be loose, medium-heavy and slightly acidic. To acidify it, you can use garden sulfur, citric or phosphoric acid. To maintain a constant level of soil acidity, the surface around the trunk is mulched with crushed pine bark. A neutral soil is also suitable.
How to plant correctly
Algorithm for planting star magnolia:
- Dig a hole for planting, the volume of which is approximately 3 times the volume of the earthen coma.
- Add compost, some sand and 1 glass of bone meal to the soil dug out of the hole. Stir using a digging forks.
- Drain the bottom of the planting pit with crushed stone or expanded clay.
- The seedling, together with an earthen lump, should be placed in a pit in an upright position.
- Fill the hole with a fertile soil mixture, carefully tamping it.
- It will be useful to form an earthen rampart and a watering circle.
After planting, the soil must be watered abundantly, this will allow the seedling root system to take root better. Next, the trunk circle must be covered with a layer of compost.
For the abundant flowering of magnolia, it is necessary to provide proper care.
Important! The root system of the plant is very sensitive, fragile and is located in close proximity to the surface of the earth. That is why loosening the soil and weeding with a hoe is contraindicated. Usually the weeds are pulled out by hand.
The ideal air humidity for star magnolia is 55 - 65%, however, in a temperate climate, growing a plant in an open field, it is not possible to achieve such indicators. Due to its high adaptive abilities, the shrub can survive in drier climates, but it does not respond well to prolonged drought.
During the hot, sultry summer, it is necessary to provide the magnolias with regular abundant watering as the soil dries out. You should not overmoisten the soil: the shrub is sensitive to excess moisture and stagnant water.
Advice! To retain moisture in the soil layer by reducing evaporation, as well as to reduce the frequency of watering, mulching the soil with pine bark, sawdust or grass will help.
Star magnolia is fed with universal mineral fertilizers. During the season, fertilizing is recommended monthly or once every couple of months. For this, a weakly concentrated solution, diluted according to the instructions, is introduced into the soil during watering. In a similar way, the plant is fed for the first five years of life.
In the event that the soil is alkaline, it is important to control the level of iron content in it. Due to its lack, a disease such as chlorosis can develop. That is why the bushes are periodically (once a week) fed with iron chelate.
Star magnolia does not require pruning, as the crown of the bush is compact and has a beautiful natural shape. However, preventive procedures to remove dry, damaged and non-viable branches of the plant are still necessary.
Preparing for winter
Despite the fact that the star magnolia is highly winter-hardy, in regions with harsh winters, the underground parts of the plant can still freeze. To prevent this from happening, at the end of autumn, before the onset of the first frosts, the root zone must be covered with a layer of mulch about 40 cm thick.For young bushes, as a rule, they additionally create a shelter made of burlap, agrofibre or ordinary dense fabric.
Star magnolia is threatened not only by frosts, but also during thaws, when, with early warming, buds begin to bloom on the shoots, which can die during a sharp cold snap.
Pests and diseases
Star magnolia is rarely affected. In central Russia, infections and pests that pose a serious threat to the plant are absent. Most often, the shrub can be exposed to non-infectious diseases associated, for example, with frostbite of the shoots.
Quite rarely, spider mites grow on the leaves of a star magnolia. These are small insects that pierce the underside of leaves and suck out cell juices from them. Spider mites actively spread in drought conditions, which is why it is important to monitor the maintenance of optimal soil moisture.
Star magnolia is one of the most beautiful and unusual garden shrubs. Planting and caring for this plant is not easy, but under favorable conditions, large snow-white or pale pink magnolia flowers, exuding a sweet aroma, can transform any garden with their appearance.