Plant magnolias now. Reap the rewards in spring

These spectacular flowering trees need to be planted by November so that the warm autumn soils can ensure their roots bed down before winter

Magnolias are ancient trees. They appeared before bees had evolved and thus had to rely on beetles to do the pollinating work. Beetles are a clumsy lot compared with dancing bees, and so the flowers need to be robust, with thick, waxy petals that reflect in moonlight, when the beetles are up, and tough inner carpels, heady with fruit scent so pleasing to a beetle’s nose.

Spectacular in flower, magnolias need to be planted now. Warm autumn soils should ensure that the roots bed down a little before winter.

Related: Alys Fowler: it’s time to prepare fig trees for winter (and for next year’s crop, too)

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