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What is a Magnolia Sieboldii?

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  • Written By: J.M. Densing
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 28 October 2016
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A Magnolia sieboldii is a small flowering tree with nodding white cup shaped blossoms that have a strong fragrance. It's also known as Siebold's Magnolia or Oyama Magnolia. It is native to Asia and also a commonly cultivated ornamental tree for landscaping and garden use. Magnolia sieboldii is a deciduous tree and grows well in temperate climates. The relatively low maintenance plant usually thrives under the appropriate conditions.

The typical height of a Magnolia sieboldii tree is usually about 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6 m). It often spreads to a width of approximately 15 to 20 feet (3 to 4.5 m) across in cultivation and a bit larger in the wild. It has a sturdy trunk with grayish bark and branches that reach in all directions. The leaves have an oval shape that comes to a point at the ends; they are bright green on the upper side, with a lighter shade of grayish green underneath. The undersides of the leaves are also covered in fine soft fuzz.

The flowers of the Magnolia sieboldii have a nodding, heavy look; they hang from the branches almost upside down. They are primarily white, with wide thick petals arranged in a cup-like shape. The inner areas of the blossoms have dark pinkish red stamens that surround a creamy yellow center. The flowers are heavily scented with a fragrance that is similar to most other magnolia species and bloom from May to July.

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The name of Magnolia sieboldii references a doctor named Phillip Franz von Siebold who first brought the tree to Europe for cultivation in the middle of the 1800s. The tree is native to Asia where it is mainly found in Korea, Japan, and the Eastern part of China. It usually grows in forested areas and its small size allows it to thrive under larger trees. It is a commonly cultivated ornamental tree in many parts of the world including Europe and North America and does well in a temperate climate with mild winters.

When grown in cultivation, Magnolia sieboldii is often used in gardens and landscaping applications. It grows well in partial shade with a few hours of direct sunlight a day, but it will tolerate full sun in areas with cooler climates. It should be watered on a regular basis, but well drained soil is very important because it will not thrive with very wet roots. Flower buds should be protected from frost. The best time to prune the tree is late winter or the end of summer.

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