magnolia x 'black tulip'

effdeeveeOctober 4, 2008

Dear Tree Forum Members:

I have the chance to purchase a 6ft-8ft, blooming-size "BLACK TULIP" magnolia tree for 1/2 price, (end-of-season-sale). So, I need your help, quickly!

None of the web-sites showing this magnolia flower, post any pictures other than when this flower is in the early opening bud stage. Does this flower ever expand past the tight-cup phase, into perhaps, a wider opening bowl-shaped flower, or, are these flowers always tightly cupped? Last spring, I saw this flower up close only one time, but it was just after the buds started to expand, and I never had the chance to return to see if the tepals on this flower would reflex any further as the flower aged. The color looked a little muddy too, but I read that flowers on a juvenile tree, of this variety, do not display the true, rich, deep-burgundy red colors until the tree ages a bit. True, ... or, just some BS?

Would love to hear your experiences regarding this particular variety from ACTUAL growers, rather than reading some hyped-up copy put out by nurseries looking to unload inferior plants/trees. When it comes to printed descriptions in catalogs, etc., I believe practically nothing that the sellers say. I learned this from long, hard experience. Caveat emptor!

Thanks for any help that you can offer.

Frank

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Yes: It is stunning in flower. However, those we get here are from Monrovia, which despite them promoting themselves as "Horticultural Craftsmen" continue to generate quantities of worthless terribly rootbound stock. Almost all specimens of this magnolia I have looked at here were clearly rootbound, with wobbly tops (sometimes stoutly staked, a red flag when a plant is not a vining type) and buried root deformities indicated by closely tapering crown bases. At over 90 dollars in the five gallon pot, there is no way. Even if you can get one for 45 dollars, if it has severely deformed roots, what is it going to be good for? If you were a propagation wiz maybe you could grow it as a sort of stock plant until you got your own cutting or graft to take and show itself to be going to develop. Christopher Lloyd, the famous English gardener and garden writer used to do this with grafted roses. After he got cuttings of new ones going the grafted stock he had bought to get the variety was discarded. Otherwise, you are risking that it won't girdle itself or topple years in the future.

Since grafted stock is often trapped on rootstocks left in liners or bands to become tightly deformed, there probably isn't much scope for bare-rooting it and correcting deformities. In addition, I am not sure about messing with the roots of a deciduous magnolia at this time of year.

You could try gradually filling over the graft union with loose soil over a period of years, to see if you could get the scion to form its own layer of new roots above those of the stock. Don't know how likely this particular tree is to do this.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 7:00PM
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jqpublic(7b/8a Wake County NC)

We've had ours since Fall 2006. So far so good. Haven't had any complaints. I don't think the flowers are very large. We've had terrible droughts here since I've planted it so it hasn't filled in as much as I would like. We also staked it the first year b/c as the other poster said it was floppy. I like the tree though, and I can't wait for next year because it looks like I'll have a few more flowers than this spring!

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 7:40PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

The problem with badly deformed roots on trees and shrubs is the time bomb aspect. After perhaps decades of growth and the development of a nice big top, the specimen topples in snow or even starts to pinch itself off on one side, where a girdling root is.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 8:08PM
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effdeevee

bboy/jqpublic: ....... many, many thanks for getting back to me so soon with the rather disappointing revelations that this magnolia may not be all that it's cracked up to be.

I am very happy that you have warned me to very carefully inspect the root area for defects that cannot be corrected. The crap that is being sold in major nurseries is not to be believed, and when I tell the managers that most of their stock is poorly grown, they give me the famous, "indignant look", and more or less tell me, that if I want the plant, then shut-up and buy it, and don't bother telling them that the plants they sell, belong in the compost heap. Also, the same old inferior varieties are consistantly being sold year after year.

The "Black Tulip" tree that I had my eye on has the "potential" of being a decent looking tree in about 10 years, but, with some corrective training on my part. The tree has a major and minor competing leader, and this is creating a potentially bad crotch area that I'm sure will split in the coming years. This has to be delt with now, and eliminating the secondary leader will effectively divide the tree by half. This is a perfect example of nurseries accepting inferior crap from the growers, and then selling it to unsuspecting customers. For me, this isn't a big problem because I know how to deal with, and correct some of these defects, but after pruning out all the dead wood, crossing/rubbing branches, bad crotches, etc, I wind up paying for half a tree, and THAT sucks! Most of the time I just walk away, but only after telling the nursey owners why I didn't buy their plants. I'm sure I'm not very well liked by most of them, but I work hard for my money, and I really could care less what they think of me.

Tomorrow I'm taking a trip back to this nursery to inspect the root system, as well as possible. The tree is growing in a 15 gallon container, and doesn't seem to be a grafted, but now that you mentioned the root problems, I'll have to look more closely at this area too. I was under the impression that this magnolia variety was micro-propagated, and therefore, grown on its own roots ... but I'm probably mis-informed.

Anyway, thanks for all the great information, and especially the warnings.

Cordially, Frank

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 8:19PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Sounds like you are an unusually astute plant shopper.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2008 at 3:26PM
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effdeevee

bboy:

Not really. But over the past decades of shopping around, and, seeing, what far too many "nurseries" are selling, AND, at very high prices, I've learned to look very carefully at some of the "bargains" that are offered. Most of the plants/shrubs/trees that are being sold are very inferior, and, should have been rejected by the nursery owners, and never should've been unloaded from the delivery trucks! High priced crap!

My original questions regarding the "BLACK TULIP" flowers still stand. Can you describe the flowers? Do the tepals stay tightly closed, or, as the flower(s) age, do the tepals reflex to form a more open, bowl-shaped blossom? What about the color of the blossom? The flowers that I saw had a muddy, deep-magenta color, and certainly did NOT look like the flowers posted on any of the web-sites showing this plant.

Any flower descriptions would help.

Cordially, Frank

    Bookmark   October 5, 2008 at 3:53PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Small and dark on a narrow erect tree. Do look like darkly colored peony tulips, opening in a similar fashion. Like other somber flowers comes to life when backlit by the sun.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2008 at 5:21PM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

Frank,

That's a big reason why I grow plants in the rootmaker products. Much better root system than conventional smooth sided pots. Not many places sell trees grown in rootmaker container to retail unfortunately.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2008 at 6:45PM
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effdeevee

bboy: ..... thanks for the flower description. Peony tulips came to my mind too. I was hoping that the tepals would reflex backwards a little further, but I guess the flowers retain that bowl-shaped look.

Thanks again for the information.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 7:59PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

As far as I know.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 8:01PM
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jqpublic(7b/8a Wake County NC)

The Black Tulip Magnolia I have doesn't have very open flowers. The tepals do stay close together and usually by the time they start to relax it will most likely fall off. So no not a very open flower.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 9:30PM
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effdeevee

Thanks for all the great tips, information, and especially the warnings about root-bound plants in containers. Now I will examine - even more carefully - any plant that I might consider purchasing.

Thanks again. Frank DV, from: DA BRONX

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 6:52PM
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tnangela

Can anyone tell me where this magnolia is available for sale (mail order)?

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 6:29PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Has been offered in the past by Gossler Farms in Oregon. Check their web site for current availability.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 12:06PM
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jqpublic(7b/8a Wake County NC)

Rare Find Nursery in NJ has them, but they are currently out of stock. This link shows an email or phone number you could contact to see when the next shipment may come through. They are distributed by Monrovia I believe.

Here is a link that might be useful: Magnolia x 'Black Tulip'

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 8:36PM
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tnangela

k. Thank you all.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 9:06PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

>They are distributed by Monrovia I believeSee second post in this thread.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 1:30AM
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jqpublic(7b/8a Wake County NC)

Ours is setting up to be a knockout this seasons. It doesn't seem like we'll be getting a late season freeze like other times either. Pics will follow soon hopefully!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 1:21AM
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jqpublic(7b/8a Wake County NC)

I thought last years display was nice. This year is even better! I'll try and remember to post pics this year lol!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 11:53PM
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jqpublic(7b/8a Wake County NC)

I guess it's a little past peak. The pic is with a cell phone, but I'm happy w/ the output this year! Hopefully we won't get any freezes before spring gets cranking.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 7:05PM
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wannabegardnr(7 Maryland)

Jqpublic, how is your magnolia doing? Does it flower early with the soulangeanas? How about growth rate and tree shape, how much per year do you think it's growing? Is it a small narrow tree, or looks like will be quite big and tall? The old pictures are gone. If you have any pictures from last year, please do post.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 12:13AM
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jqpublic(7b/8a Wake County NC)

Hi wannabeGardnr!

Sorry for the delay. I tend not to frequent the forums as much this late into the season. I've posted a pic from 2011 and then late this spring. Unfortunately it's past the flowering stage in the 2013 pic, but I think it'll be a relatively tall deciduous soulangeana based off of how it grows. I don't recall how tall it is, but a good 6-12" of growth is common. It's still loaded with flowers too every year. It doesn't flower as soon as the earliest of the other soulangeanas, but it can get zapped from time to time. It looks so flimsy in the spring, with these giant blooms, but I haven't had any problems with breakage. I had a competing vertical leader/cross-branch that I removed, which may explain why it looks so sparse in the 2011 pic.

Here is a pic from 2011

Here is a pic from 2013

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 7:23AM
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