Bull bay, Magnolia grandiflora, is a large shrub or small tree. It makes a superb architectural specimen and gives year-round interest with enormous, glossy, evergreen leaves and huge exotic-looking summer flowers. Magnolia grandiflora tolerates hard pruning, can be trimmed to shape or trained against a vertical surface. Or simply grow as a free-standing tree where it will ultimately reach a height of around 10m.
Unlike many magnolias, Magnolia grandiflora will tolerate a wide range of soil types, but will do best in a moist but well-drained soil. It grows quite slowly so buy the biggest specimen you can afford.
Grow Magnolia grandiflora as a free-standing tree, either un-pruned or trimmed to a pyramidal shape, or train against a fence, wall, or vertical framework. In cold areas, train against a warm south- or west-facing wall where the ‘storage heater’ effect of the wall mitigates hard frosts. Feed annually, in early spring, with a general fertilizer, and prune in mid-spring if required. Mulch with compost in autumn.
More on growing magnolias:
Where to buy Magnolia grandiflora
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Buy your Magnolia grandiflora from a reputable source and check the leaves for signs of damage or disease before buying or, if buying online, planting.