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Gardening in the Rainy Zone.
syn. M. parviflora
Pronounced: mag-NO-lee-a see-BOLD-ee-eye
Japan, Korea, Eastern China.
Sunset zones: 4-9, 14-24.
USDA zones: 6-9.
Heat zones: 9-7.
Height: 25 feet (8 m).
Width: 40 feet (12 m).
Late spring to midsummer, with some years having an August re-bloom.
Egg-shaped buds open to white, cup-shaped, nodding and sometimes pendent, fragrant flowers with crimson anthers, followed by bright pink fruits in late summer.
Six-inch long, oblong-obovate, dark green leaves above with gray-green glaucous (downy) undersides.
Morning sun, afternoon shade.
Humus rich, well-drained, neutral to slightly acidic soil.
Add compost or manure and leaf mold in early spring.
Sow seed in fall and place in cold frame over winter.
Root softwood cuttings in early summer.
Root semi-ripe cuttings in late summer.
Remove deadwood, any other pruning can result in numerous water sprouts.
Rainy Side Notes
Magnolia sieboldii is an understory tree/large shrub that can flower for six weeks in spring and sometimes has another flush of blooms in August. After planting it, you don’t have to wait years to enjoy its blossoms, for it flowers at a young age.
What I like best about this tree is standing underneath a mature specimen and gazing up into its fragrant, nodding flowers, especially on a clear day when the sun turns the flowers into translucent, glowing petals against a blue sky. At dusk, the flowers shower their sweet, fruity fragrance down upon my senses.
In its native haunts, the species is found growing near streams and seepages where it is most happily situated. In our Mediterranean climate, which features dry summers, the plant needs supplemental watering during the growing season. Give it plenty of leaf mold or compost, to provide a moisture retentive, humus rich environment. I’ve read that this small tree can tolerate alkaline conditions, but it will be right at home in our Pacific Northwest acidic soil.
Although the species was thought to have been introduced to England in the decade between 1879 and 1888, E. H. Wilson introduced the Korean form in 1918. It is considered the best one of the species (photo above), with its bright magenta anthers—a knockout against the snow-white petals. The hardiest and most vigorous of all of them, the Korean form has an open habit and is larger than the Japanese clones.