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Magnolia Spectrum is a low-maintenance, high-impact spring stunner. Its large, fragrant blooms in April and May will make your garden into a bower of blooms! It’s little surprise that this lovely tree has been awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit. It is also sometimes referred to as Magnolia × soulangeana Spectrum, and is indeed a striking variety of magnolia.
Magnolias are native to the eastern United States, and Magnolia Spectrum was bred in 1963 at the US National Arboretum. In April, the large, fragrant flowers burst open before the leaves, covering the bare branches with upright cup-shaped flowers, pale pink on the inside and deep reddish-purple outside. The leaves that then emerge are large, dark green, and oval, creating a deep shade beneath them in summer months, and then turning yellow-brown in autumn.
Hardy throughout the UK and continental Europe, Magnolia Spectrum will grow to a mature height spread of 4-8 metres in 10 to 20 years, and can be expected to live for 50 to 150 years. Little pruning is necessary to maintain the attractive shape of the rounded, semi-open crown, which becomes more pyramidal as the tree matures, but if desired, prune in mid-summer after the flowers have finished for the year.
Plant Magnolia Spectrum in full sun or partial shade in a sheltered position with a south or west-facing aspect, in moist but well-drained sand, clay or loam soil with an acid to neutral pH. It will not tolerate wet soil but can withstand periods of drought once established. It has a moderate tolerance to salt, so can be planted in coastal regions, but as it is not tolerant of pollution, avoid planting in inner city areas. It is deer-resistant, so can be used on country properties without special protection.
A single Magnolia Spectrum specimen is a perfect tree to use as a focal point in a small to medium-sized lawn, as the spring show of blooms will attract all eyes. In a courtyard garden, the summer shade will also be useful, and the protection afforded by the walls will ensure a good flower show each spring. A Magnolia Spectrum tree will light up a woodland garden each spring with its luminous blooms. On a country property, a row of Magnolia Spectrum lining an avenue would be a breath-taking sight when in bloom!
Magnolia Spectrum will put on a stunning show for you each spring, and then provide an attractive backdrop of foliage throughout the rest of the season, making it an excellent specimen tree for small or large gardens!