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Please help me pick the best cultivar of Magnolia grandiflora

14 years ago

I am happy to say we recently had an oak tree removed, and that means I get to plant a Magnolia grandiflora (Southern Magnolia) in its place. I've been wanting one for a long time.

I absolutely love the fragrance of the M. grandiflora, and have some questions.

1. Do all of the cultivars smell the same? Or, do some have a different fragrance from others?

2. Do all the cultivars have equally strong fragrance, or do some smell weaker than others (even if the smell itself is the same)?

3. What cultivar blooms heaviest in your opinion, most prolific, abundant number of blooms?

4. What cultivar blooms longest, earlier in Spring and later into Fall, in your opinion?

5. What cultivar blooms youngest in the life of the tree, soon after planting, in your opinion?

Fragrance is most important to me of all characteristics of Magnolia grandiflora. I want fantastic, classic Southern magnolia smell, strong and able to be enjoyed across the yard. Next, I'd like the fragrance to be available for as many months out of the year as possible, and I'd like it to bloom young, so that I don't have to wait long for the tree to grow before it blooms (I might not live here for years, and hope to get a crop or two of blooms soon). And, I need some blooms to stay close to the ground, so that I can always get my nose up into them. So, I need branches extend all the way to the ground.

It would be nice if the flowers were large, but if having large flowers means fewer flowers, that is not a good trade off.

It does not matter to me what the leaves look like, or if they have any of the brown fuzz on the undersides. The overall shape of the tree is not so important either, as long as it branches and blooms at ground level on up. I am not very concerned about cold tolerance either, as, even though they say zone 7, I haven't personally seen below 10F yet. It is rare to go below 10 F here.

It is better not to have one of the hugest trees, as this is a neighborhood front yard, but I was thinking Little Gem flowers were kind of small and I wanted a tree big enough to give nice size flowers.

Best case scenario - Medium or smaller size tree with abundant, large flowers that blooms early and keeps blooming late in the season, having strong, wafting fragrance that is the classic Southern magnolia fragrance. Branches growing from ground to crown, and blooming low, all the way to the ground.

Any suggestions on the best cultivar?

Thank you so much!!!!

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