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Underplanting large magnolia

I have a lovely large magnolia at the front of the house which is a little bare under and around. There's a few bulbs there currently but it would be nice to get something more substantial there and extend the season of interest.

any suggestions? It's full sun, soil unknown !



  • SussexsunSussexsun Posts: 1,444

    I have Solomon's seal under mine and it does very well as long as I can stop the sawfly and aphids eating it.

    To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower Hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.

  • If there's plenty of light and you can cultivate the ground without damaging the magnolia roots, then many things will do there. Look at choisya 'White Dazzler', sarcococca confusa (and other species), geranium 'Rozanne' for ground cover and all summer flower . . . . to suggest a few


  • PeggyTXPeggyTX Posts: 556

    Can you get Mexican Heather in the UK?  It's a lovely, low-growing plant with tiny violet blooms.  It's freeze hardy, heat and drought tolerant.  If one should freeze off in a severe winter, just cut all the branches off and it will come back off the established root ball.  The evergreen branches lay out in layers emerging from the center of the plant.  The growth habit is just lovely and I have had great success with them at several different homes in Texas.  Perfect for underneath an open-branching tree like your pink tulip magnolia.  They are sun lovers but will tolerate part sun.  The honey bees love them, too!  I just planted 6 of them today in my Big Garden. Be sure to plant them where you want them, as they have considerable roots and are difficult to move after they are established.  Here's what they look like:

    My low-carb recipe site:
  • Garden noobGarden noob Posts: 260

    It won't extend the season of interest, but recently I've been admiring trees that are in the middle of a flower bed with a diameter of ~10-12 feet that it's full of the same type of bulb, e.g. crocuses, irises etc. The effect is quite stunning, with a sea of blue, pink, purple or whatever. I dread to think what that many bulbs would cost though!

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,817

    I'd go for HC's suggestion of hardy geraniums. You can have a circle of those if you like a symmetrical sort of look, and you can plant a huge swathe of spring bulbs which will initially carry you from winter into spring. Some summer bulbs for summer interest would work too - lilies for example, or alliums if the ground suits. 

    You'd be surprised how inexpensive it can be to fill a biggish area with bulbs, Gnoob. You forget the expense when you see them come up anyway  image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
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