The Susan magnolia is one of the so-called spring magnolias, blooming early in the year. It grows slowly and is a deciduous plant, which means it loses its leaves each winter. It can withstand very low and very high temperatures. The Susan magnolia is a cross between the Rosea and Nigra magnolia varieties. It was developed in the 1950s at the United States National Arboretum. It has "sisters" that were developed at the same time, all named after girls. Susan magnolias grow best in partial sun in a location sheltered from strong winds. They like acidic soil with good drainage.
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Things you need
- Acidic fertiliser, liquid or granular
Find an acidic fertiliser designed for Susan magnolias. Since they have a common ancestor with the rhododendron, you can use rhododendron fertiliser. Consult your nursery or county extension service for advice about a good acidic fertiliser. Yellowing leaves on a Susan magnolia often means that the soil or fertiliser is not acidic enough.
Mix the fertiliser with water if directed on the package. Some liquids and powders require this, but granular ones usually will not. Read the label carefully.
Apply the fertiliser around the ground surrounding the Susan magnolia's main trunk. Use the method and coverage advised by the fertiliser type. Spray liquid fertiliser using a garden pump sprayer to thoroughly wet the leaves and drench the ground under the plant to the extent the branches reach. Broadcast granular fertiliser with your hand evenly on the ground to the perimeter of the plant's branches. Since the Susan magnolia's roots grow just under the surface of the soil, the fertiliser will reach them quickly.
Fertilise at the end of the flowering cycle in late spring when only a few petals remain on the plant. Fertilise again with a lighter coverage in late June. Avoid fertilising at any other time of the year.
Tips and warnings
- If you fertilise too much, the Susan magnolia will produce very few flowers and have a lot of leaf growth as opposed to woody stems.
- Do not plant anything near your Susan magnolia because its roots grow close to the surface of the soil. Avoid digging around them. Use lots of mulch to help with drainage and soil temperature regulation.
- Susan magnolias have fragrant pink blooms and make effective garden borders or focal points of flower beds. Plant Susan magnolias in a permanent location. They do not transplant well.
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