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Everything You Wanted To Know About Those Magnificent Magnolia Trees

The magnolia trees you see at Sugar Water Manor are simply magnificent. These large shady trees have broad, waxy, shade-producing leaves and in early summer produce the most fragrant platter-size blossoms. They evoke the beauty of the South, especially around historic homes and gardens like those on our property. These trees are easy to care for, disease-resistant, non-poisonous to dogs and other animals and they are super versatile, growing well in nearly all climates and soil.

Driving on to the property at Sugar Water Manor the horticulture is beautiful, but the magnolia trees are the stand out favorites, especially when they are in full bloom from June to August. There are countless magnolia trees here and some are close to 200-225 years old. You can find these beauties as soon as you turn down the lane towards the main house as well as lining the path to the river.

These trees make our bees so happy. Our Apiary for the bee hives is even located under one of the oldest and largest magnolia trees at Sugar Water Manor. Guests are encouraged to walk among the trees throughout the year and in all weather, soaking up the grace and elegance these enormous trees bring to the area. When it rains, there is really nothing like walking down the magnolia-lined lane, listening to the raindrops tapping on the magnolia leaves. It is almost musical.

Check out more information about magnolia trees, their flowers and how we care for these exquisite flowering plant.

What is the botany of magnolia trees?

Magnolia trees are part of the subfamily Magnolioideae of the family Magnoliaceae. They are named after the 15th century French botanist Pierre Magnol and are part of a large, ancient genus of about 210 flowering plant species. Magnolia trees require little care and are resistant to many diseases and pests. They can have long life spans of over 100 years if they have the right growing conditions.

What do magnolias represent?

Magnolias are beautiful of course, but they have also been known to symbolize a variety of attributes throughout the centuries. In ancient China, magnolia flowers were viewed as the perfect symbols of womanly beauty and gentleness..Similarly, white magnolias can often be found in bridal bouquets in the South because the flowers reflect the bride's purity and nobility.

In other areas and time periods, the magnolia tree symbolizes nobility, perseverance, beauty, love of nature, health, joy, and others. The tree has also been known to represent eternity, endurance and long life because of the fact that once they bloom they will continue to bloom for years.

Why are magnolia flowers so prized?

The large flowers that bloom on magnolia trees smell as good as they look. Their perfume floats in the balmy spring and summer air with a sweet, heady fragrance. Ranging in color from white and yellow to purple and pink, the flowers are typically star-shaped or tulip-shaped when fully opened. Their magnificent tulip- or star-shaped flowers can be as large as saucers when fully opened. They range in color from pink, purple, white and even yellow.

How do magnolia flowers smell?

How do you describe “lovely”? In summer when the magnolia trees at Sugar Water Manor are in bloom, the sight and smell are breathtaking. The sweet floral fragrance of the magnolia flower is almost fruity, similar to the scent of champagne. It is often used in aromatherapy because of the relaxing, fresh aroma it produces.

How big are magnolias?

Magnolias come in a wide variety of sizes that can fit any garden or landscape. There are massive magnolia trees which can soar to over 80 feet tall. There are also magnolias that are more shrub-like that might reach only 8 feet tall but spread themselves to over 50 feet wide.

When do magnolia trees bloom?

Typically, most magnolias flowers on deciduous varieties bloom in spring before the leaves appear. The evergreen varieties tend to bloom closer to summer, which is the case for the trees at Sugar Water Manor. One of the many reasons this tree is so valued is because it has been known to rebloom in late summer or early Fall. Each time the tree blooms, the flowers last for about two weeks before falling off.

Where can you find magnolia trees?

Throughout the Sugar Water property and the surrounding Chesapeake Bay region you will find many varieties of magnolia trees. While images of the Deep South may be conjured when you think about magnolia trees, the truth is they can be grown throughout the United States. They can be found from Maine to Florida, from Washington State to Washington DC.

How To Care For Your Magnolia Tree In 3 Steps


Most mature magnolias are very resilient and tolerate hot temperatures and even moderate drought conditions. The magnolias at Sugar Water Manor typically don’t need much extra watering. However, if you have a younger tree, you should water it regularly until the roots are fully established. When in doubt, give it water. There is no such thing as over watering this tree, especially at planting. During the first two growing seasons, plan to water it once per week and then every other week in later years.


The magnolias at Sugar Water Manor are rather hearty and require very little pruning outside of what is needed for aesthetic reasons. If you want to prune your magnolia, do it soon after the tree has finished blooming. Pruning too late in the season will leave you with fewer flowers the following year.


Unless your magnolia tree is not blooming or growing well, you don’t need to fertilize. Since our trees are so well-established, fertilizer isn’t necessary. However, if you are having issues with your tree thriving, then your soil might need additional supplements. You can test your soil to see if there is anything additional the tree needs. If you do have to fertilize, use a slow-release product in the spring after planting when the tree starts to leaf out.

No matter when you visit Sugar Water Manor the magnolia trees are always a wonderful sight, but be sure you catch them in bloom at least once. There is nothing like the sight and smell of magnolia trees when in full bloom. If you are lucky enough to have a magnolia tree at your own home, treasure it like we do at Sugar Water Manor.


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