Susan shrubs have a nice, compact, regular habit and grow up to 2.5-3 m high. They flower quickly and repeat blooming. Susan is one of the most valuable varieties of magnolia as it’s easy to grow and very frost resistant.
General description: The Susan magnolia variety was created in the 1950’s in the USA by Francis de Vos. It’s s a hybrid between the purple magnolia 'Nigra' and the star magnolia 'Rosea'.
Flowers: Susan has medium to large flowers, around 7-15 cm in diameter. They consist of 6 petals that are 10-15 cm long. They are purple on the outside with a lighter hue on the insides of petals. In spring, during warm sunny days they open completely and become brighter (in late summer open flowers are rare). This magnolia’s flowers have a lovely, delicate fragrance.
Blooming: This magnolia reaches full bloom at the turn of April and May. It repeats flowering in late summer - at the turn of August and September, although less abundantly and with smaller flowers.
Leaves: Susan has large (6-10 cm long), ovate leaves with pointed tips. Their colour is light green at first but becomes darker with time. The leaves are glossy and leathery, making them another decorative element of this plant. In autumn, the leaves they turn yellow or brown and then fall off.
Cultivation requirements: A sunny or semi-shaded spot is optimal, preferably sheltered from wind. Moist humus soil with a slightly acidic pH (5-6) is ideal. This magnolia likes mulching throughout the growth season.
Care: Young magnolias need regular watering. Older magnolias only need to be watered during dry periods. Watering the leaves should be avoided.
Pruning: Pruning is rarely necessary as this variety grows slowly. Sometimes it needs pruning on the sides when it grows too wide and gets in the way. In general, magnolias do not like pruning, although the Susan variety tolerates it well and even thicker branches can be trimmed. Thick branches should be cut in March and finer ones in April/May.
Overwintering: Susan is resistant to frost (hardiness zone 6b). It tolerates frosts of down to -30°C. However, young magnolias, especially their roots, are sensitive to harsh frosts so protecting young seedlings before winter is highly recommended. Bark and cones are best for mulching magnolias.
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