Name: Magnolia syn. Michelia cultivars Evergreen magnolias are in full flower now. Magnolias, many that where formerly known as 'Michelia' are a great addition to the winter-spring garden. They make great potted plants giving portable fragrance to a balcony or courtyard. They also make a useful privacy screen or small feature tree. They smell terrific in a range of perfume types from lemon to bubble gum.
The most common of these is Magnolia (Michelia spp) figo or Port Wine Magnolia.This Magnolia grows into a dense evergreen shrub that if left unpruned will grow to a small tree. Flowers are banana/apple scented, cream with maroon margin. Michelias flower from an early age. 'Mixed Up Miss' is an improved hybid (see below).
Description: Evergreen foliage and fragrant flowers make the magnolias/michelias a very attractive genus of plants that are closely related to the magnolias. The flowers are highly perfumed and the foliage is evergreen. They are easy to grow shrubs with little requirments for fertiliser, water or even pruning. Great for a low maintenance garden.
Planting Advice : An easterly aspect best suits this plant as hot baking sun will scorch leaves and turn them yellow. Well drained soil is essential with compost added every year. Shallow roots resent disturbance so do not cultivate around the base of the plant. Good in large pots, to bring fragrance close to windows. Tolerate light to medium frost. Heavy frost will burn growing tips and flower buds.
Pruning: Prune to shape after flowering. Small leaved varieties make good hedges. Can be trained as standards.
Varieties: 'Silver Cloud' is a beautiful form of Magnolia doltsopa and forms a small tree with more flowers than the straight species from winter - early springis a small tree to 5m with large ivory Magnolia flowers with prominent stamens and a knockout lemon scent.
'Mixed Up Miss': is a hybrid between Magnolia figo and Magnolia doltsopa, that grows 4m x 2m with masses of highly fragrant, soft pink flowers late winter, that open from large furry brown buds. In mid to late winter buds are borne profusely along the stems, opening to cup shaped, fragrant white flowers with a pink blush on the edge of the petals. It makes a good fragrant hedge.
'Bubbles': is the result of another cross between M. figo and M. doltsopa with larger leathery leaves and grows into a small pyramidal shaped tree of 3mThe large white flowers open slightly at the ends and flowers en mass during early spring.Grows to 3-4m with dark evergreen and white flowers. Great hedge.
'Coco' is an improved variety of M. figo with larger blossoms and more prolific flowering. Grows to 3m, good for a large pot that can be wheeled out once in bloom so its fragrance fills the air. Michelias are ideal for a screen/hedge with full sunshine or part shade. Plant into soil enriched with compost or soil conditioner. Flowers are small and very fragrant, occurring on the old wood.
M. figo is known as the Port Wine Magnolia but has been superseeded by the superior varietes listed above.
A new release is the 'Fairy Magnolia' which is a doltsopa x yunnanensis x figo cross. Great for hedging and espalier.
Magnoliaceae is a plant family that until recently has had 12 genera. Now that family has been merged into just two - Magnolia and Liriodendron.
One of the affected genera of this name change that is well known to gardeners is Michelia. It is one of the12 genera that based on molecular studies has been included into the genus Magnolia.
Examples of the name change:
Michelia x alba
Magnolia x alba
Michelia figo var.crassipes
Magnolia figo var. crassipes
Typically these name changes take a little while to infiltrate the nursery industry and plants will be available most likely under their old name for at least a couple of years to come.