The southern magnolias
are huge! How old are they?
This is a trick question. Although the collection has several varieties of southern
magnolia, Magnolia grandiflora, the large evergreen magnolias in the collection
are actually hybrids of the Southern magnolia and the smaller, sweetly scented
sweetbay, Magnolia virginiana. This hybrid group is also represented by
plants around the Administration Building, in the Friendship Garden, and near
the Azalea Collection. The trees were planted in the 1960s and are only about
40 years old despite their great height of about 50 feet and their spread of about
seem to fruit very heavily in this collection every year. Why does my holly
at home fruit so much less?
Male and female holly flowers grow on different plants. Although the male plants
never produce fruit, they must be grown near the
female plants to provide the pollen needed for fruit production. The flowering
of both female and male plants must be synchronized so the pollen is available
at the same time the female flowers are open. If you want your hollies to fruit
heavily, plant a male holly of the same species as your fruiting hollies so you
can be assured that both male and female flowers are present at the same time.
Male varieties have been developed that bloom at the same time as their female
counterpart; one male plant can pollinate many female plants. Contact your local
nursery to find out what the best male variety is for pollinating your holly.
Bees and other insects will do the work of transporting the pollen from male plant
to female plant.
I love the
spring-flowering deciduous magnolias, but the blossoms are often frozen and
turn brown is there any way to prevent later spring freezes from damaging my
No. Spring magnolia flowers are damaged by frost in one of every four years on
average in the Washington area. If you have the
opportunity to plant a new magnolia, though, opt for one that is later blooming.
Much of the work done to develop new magnolia cultivars at the National Arboretum
focused on producing hybrids that bloom a bit later. To that end, we have great
cultivars like 'Galaxy' and the "girl" series of magnolias 'Jane', 'Ricki', 'Betty',
'Susan', 'Ann' and 'Judy'. All bloom as much as two weeks later than the common
star magnolia, Magnolia stellata, and the saucer magnolia, Magnolia
some other sources for information about hollies and magnolias?
For more information on nurseries that sell hollies and magnolias, check our Plant