Magnolia 'SUNSATION'

Magnolia 'SUNSATION'
SIZE/TYPE taller shrub
 small tree
LEAVES deciduous broadleaf
COLOUR OF FLOWERS combined:yellow and pink
LOCATION full to partial sun
USDA zone (lowest) 4   (down to -34°C)
FOR ZONE 5+6 Code of winter protection zone 5+6
FOR ZONE 7 Code of winter protection zone 7
BELONGS TO CATEGORIES Deciduous broadleaf
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I was always into yellow flowering magnolias. It was a true passion for me because some 20 years ago the breeding of yellow hybrids was still in its infancy. Yellow flowers on a magnolia tree was something out of this world and seeing their warm colours in a spring garden full of pinks and reds simply pleased my eyes. I was about 30 when I ordered my first two specimens from a UK nursery. It was not thinkable at that time having them sent directly to the Czech Republic, so I had to involve my friends in London who willingly accepted the package and sent it to me thereafter. The plants arrived just before the buds burst out. And when they did I was astonished, face to face with an exotic beauty of two varieties which even then were too new: Sunsation and Daphne. Now they are almost 20 y.o. old sweats and although there are plenty of other new varieties in trade I keep returning to them every spring to admire them when they start blooming.

Sunsation magnolia belongs among yellow flowering hybrids, yet it has two more colours to offer: pink and green. Inner petals have a purple pink flame at the base changing to a pink stripe across the midrib. And outer petals are chartreuse before the flower opens completely. It is a cross between two brooklynensis hybrids from the year 2000: Woodsman and Elizabeth, which means that m.acuminata (cucumber magnolia) blood is running through its veins. Flowers are slightly fragrant and withstand heavy rain.

Blooming begins late, usually in the last decade of April, and mature plants produce three consecutive phases extending the flowering period to almost 6 weeks. Being so late it reliably escapes late frosts. Sunsation is quite slender, forming an upright, narrowly egg-shaped, densely branched shrub. Or, thanks to a strong central leader, it can easily be trained into a small tree by removing bottom lateral branches.

Magnolias are not supposed to be pruned. You can prune old shrubs if ill, or trim them to shape or to reduce size, or make an elementary cut to young plants of unsightly or unhealthy appearance. Do this as soon as possible after flowering to secure setting of flower buds for the following year. Be aware that each magnolia can respond differently to pruning.

Deciduous magnolias are quite easy plants. All they need is light, well-drained, acidic soil with equal moisture throughout the year. Once established they can do with occasional drought but will not look as nice as the ones with regular watering. Just pay attention to how to plant your magnolia. First, find it a spot where it will live forever and ever. It does not like transplanting. And as it makes shallow roots reaching well over its spread stay away from disturbing the roots by digging or messing about around it. Just cover the soil with bark mulch and do not plant anything else near it after say the second year after planting onwards. You could damage the very important top roots that absorb maximum moisture and nutrients from the soil. Also avoid planting magnolia too deep. Thus you could be digging its grave. Hardy to about -34°C (USDA zone 4).

Last update 09-06-2020
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Magnolia height 40-50 cm

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Magnolia x brooklynensis
  • STANDARD QUALITY - Plants of this group are 1st class quality with number of branches and overall density adequate to their size and age, considering they were container grown.
  • DE LUXE QUALITY - This label guarantees a luxurious quality of manually selected plants that, compared to their height and age, are exceptionally dense and beautiful.
  • EXTRA - These plants are usually mature and bigger specimens with exceptional overall appearance.
  • STANDARD (as described in the plant form) means a tree with a trunk of 190-210 cm and a crown at the top, unless specified differently. The commercial size for trees is their girth measured in the height of 1m from ground.
  • HOBBY - These plants are of the same quality as our standard-quality plants but younger and therefore cheaper.
  • SHRUB - a woody plant with branches growing bushy from the ground level.
  • HALF-STANDARD or MINI-STANDARD - a small tree with shorter trunk, its size is usually specified.
  • FEATHERED - These are trees with branches growing already from the base of the trunk and up along the stem.
  • GRASSES and PERENNIALS - Sizes given usually read the diameter of the pot or the clump, as specified.
LARGE PLANTS over 150 cmspecimens, screening and hedging shrubs

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