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Magnolia ‘Butterflies’ (All You Want to Know Before Choosing)

Magnolia ‘Butterflies’ is a cultivar of the magnolia tree, known for its large, yellow-gold flowers that bloom in the spring. The petals are slightly ruffled, giving the appearance of butterfly wings. The tree can grow up to 20 feet tall and 15 feet wide, making it a medium-sized tree for gardens and landscapes.

It is hardy in zones 4-9 and prefers full sun to partial shade. It’s also a good choice for planting in front of a house or as a focal point in a garden. It’s a deciduous tree, which means it will lose its leaves in the fall and winter. This cultivar is known for its large, fragrant flowers and is a popular choice among gardeners.

magnolia butterflies

Magnolia ‘Butterflies’

Pros of Magnolia ‘Butterflies’:

  • Beautiful flowers: The large, yellow-gold flowers of the ‘Butterflies’ cultivar are the main attraction of this tree. They bloom in the spring, adding a burst of color to your garden.
  • Fragrant: The flowers of the ‘Butterflies’ cultivar are also fragrant, making it a great choice for planting near a patio or seating area.
  • Medium-sized tree: This cultivar can grow up to 20 feet tall and 15 feet wide, making it a good choice for gardens or landscapes.
  • Easy to care for: This cultivar is relatively easy to care for and can tolerate a range of soil types and conditions.

Cons of Magnolia ‘Butterflies’:

  • Prone to pests: Like many other magnolia trees, this cultivar can be prone to pests such as scale insects, spider mites, and magnolia scale.
  • Not drought-tolerant: This cultivar prefers moist, well-drained soil and may struggle in dry or drought-prone areas.
  • Not suitable for small gardens: The size of the tree can be too large for small gardens and might not be a great fit.

Planting instructions

When planting Magnolia ‘Butterflies’, it’s important to choose a location that receives the right amount of sun and shade for your tree to thrive, as well as well-drained soil. Here are some step-by-step instructions for planting your Magnolia ‘Butterflies’:

  1. Choose a location: Choose a location that receives full sun to partial shade and has well-drained soil. This cultivar is not tolerant of heavy shade and poorly-drained soils.
  2. Prepare the soil: If your soil is heavy clay or poorly-drained, you can amend it with compost or other organic matter to improve drainage and fertility. It’s also recommended to keep a layer of mulch around the base of the tree to help retain moisture in the soil.
  3. Dig the hole: Dig a hole that is twice as wide and just as deep as the root ball of your tree. Make sure the hole is not too deep, as the tree should be planted at the same level as it was in the container.
  4. Remove the tree from the container: Carefully remove the tree from the container, taking care not to damage the roots. If the roots are tightly bound, gently loosen them with your fingers.
  5. Place the tree in the hole: Place the tree in the hole, making sure that it is centered and straight. The tree should be planted at the same level as it was in the container.
  6. Backfill the hole: Backfill the hole with the soil you removed, gently firming it around the roots.
  7. Water the tree: Water the tree well to help the roots establish. Once the tree has established itself, the soil should be maintained continuously moist but not wet.
  8. Fertilize: Apply a slow-release, balanced fertilizer in the spring, just before the tree begins to leaf out. A fertilizer with a ratio of N-P-K (Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium) of 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 is a good choice.
  9. Mulch: Apply a 2-inch layer of mulch around the base of the tree to help retain moisture and suppress weeds.
  10. Care for the tree: Keep the tree well-watered during dry periods, and fertilize it regularly. Monitor the tree’s growth and overall appearance, and prune as needed.

With proper care, Magnolia ‘Butterflies’ will grow into a beautiful, vibrant tree that will add color and beauty to your garden or landscape.

magnolia butterflies

Magnolia ‘Butterflies’

Soil requirements

Magnolia ‘Butterflies’ prefer well-drained, moist soil with a slightly acidic pH between 6.0 and 6.5. It can tolerate a range of soil types, including clay, loam, and sandy soils, but it should not be planted in heavy, poorly-drained soils.

If your soil is heavy clay or poorly drained, you can amend it with compost or other organic matter to improve drainage and fertility. It is also recommended to keep a layer of mulch around the base of the tree to help retain moisture in the soil.

It’s also important to keep in mind that Magnolia ‘Butterflies’ is not drought-tolerant, so it will need regular watering during dry periods.

Watering needs

Watering is an important aspect of caring for Magnolia ‘Butterflies’. The tree prefers consistent moisture and should be kept evenly moist, but not waterlogged. It’s recommended to water the tree deeply once a week during the growing season, and more frequently in hot, dry weather. It’s also important to avoid over-watering, as this can lead to root rot.

When first planting your Magnolia ‘Butterflies’, it is important to water the tree well to help the roots establish. Once the tree is established, the soil should be kept slightly moist, but not soggy. It’s important to check the soil moisture level before watering to make sure the soil is not too dry or too wet.

If you’re not sure if your tree needs watering, you can check the soil moisture by sticking your finger about 2 inches deep into the soil. If the soil feels dry, it’s time to water. If the soil feels wet or damp, it’s best to wait a day or two before watering again.

It’s also important to keep in mind that Magnolia ‘Butterflies’ is not drought-tolerant, so it will need regular watering during dry periods. If you notice that the leaves of the tree are wilting, curling, or turning yellow, it’s a sign that the tree is not getting enough water.

Lastly, it’s important to note that newly planted Magnolia ‘Butterflies’ may require more frequent watering as they establish themselves. As they grow, they will become a little more drought-tolerant and require less frequent watering.

Sun preferences

Magnolia ‘Butterflies’ prefer full sun to partial shade. It is best planted in an area that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day but can tolerate some dappled shade throughout the day.

When planted in full sun, the tree will have a stronger and more vibrant floral display, but it may be more prone to leaf scorch during hot, dry weather. When planted in partial shade, the tree will have fewer flowers and may not be as vibrant, but it will be more tolerant of hot, dry weather.

It’s important to keep in mind that this cultivar is not tolerant of heavy shade, as it will not receive enough sunlight to produce strong growth and a healthy floral display.

As a general rule, Magnolia ‘Butterflies’ should be planted in an area that receives morning sun and afternoon shade. This will allow the tree to receive the sunlight it needs to produce vibrant flowers, while also protecting it from the hottest afternoon sun.

When planting the Magnolia ‘Butterflies’, it’s important to choose a location that receives the right amount of sun and shade for your tree to thrive.

Fertilizing

Fertilizing is an important aspect of caring for Magnolia ‘Butterflies’. This cultivar prefers fertile, well-drained soil, and will benefit from regular fertilization.

It’s recommended to apply a slow-release, balanced fertilizer in the spring, just before the tree begins to leaf out. A fertilizer with a ratio of N-P-K (Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium) of 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 is a good choice. A fertilizer specifically formulated for magnolias is also a good option. It should be applied at the rate recommended on the package.

It’s also important to keep in mind that over-fertilizing can be harmful to the tree, leading to excessive growth, leaf burn, and even death. Therefore, it’s important to follow the recommended rate on the package and not to over-fertilize.

It’s also important to note that young trees will require more fertilizer than mature trees, as they need the extra nutrients to establish healthy growth. Once the tree is established, it will require less frequent fertilization.

Another way to ensure that the tree is getting enough nutrients is to amend the soil with organic matter such as compost, or to apply a layer of mulch around the base of the tree. This will help to improve the soil fertility and retain moisture in the soil.

Regularly monitoring the tree’s growth and overall appearance can also give an indication of whether the tree is getting enough nutrients, and if not, it would be recommended to fertilize the tree again.

magnolia butterflies

Magnolia ‘Butterflies’

Pruning

Pruning is an important aspect of caring for Magnolia ‘Butterflies’. This cultivar does not require heavy pruning, but it may need occasional maintenance pruning to remove dead, diseased, or damaged wood, as well as to shape the tree and control its size.

The best time to prune is in late winter or early spring, before the tree begins to leaf out. Here are some tips for pruning your Magnolia ‘Butterflies’:

  • Remove dead, diseased, or damaged wood: Check the tree for any dead, diseased, or damaged branches and remove them. This will help to promote healthy growth and prevent the spread of disease.
  • Shape the tree: Remove any branches that are crossing or rubbing against each other. This will help to maintain the tree’s shape and prevent damage to the branches.
  • Control size: If the tree is getting too large for the space it’s in, you can remove some of the branches to control its size. Be careful not to remove too much, as this can stress the tree and affect its growth.
  • Avoid heavy pruning: This cultivar does not require heavy pruning, as it can damage the tree and affect its growth.
  • Prune selectively: When pruning, be selective and only remove what is necessary to maintain the tree’s health and shape.
  • Make clean cuts: When pruning, make clean cuts just above a bud or branch collar. This will help to prevent the spread of disease and promote healthy growth.
  • Sterilize your tools: Before pruning, make sure to sterilize your pruning tools with a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water. This will help to prevent the spread of disease from one tree to another.

It’s important to keep in mind that pruning should be done selectively, not excessively, and with care to keep the tree’s natural shape and beauty. Regularly monitoring the tree’s growth and overall appearance can also give an indication of whether the tree needs pruning or not.

Pests and Diseases

Magnolia ‘Butterflies’, like other magnolia cultivars, is generally considered to be a hardy tree with few pest or disease issues. However, there are some common pests and diseases that can affect the tree, including:

  • Scale insects: Scale insects are small, hard-shelled pests that feed on the sap of the tree, causing yellowing of the leaves and stunted growth. Scale insects can be controlled with insecticides or horticultural oil.
  • Aphids: Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that feed on the sap of the tree, causing distorted growth and sticky honeydew on the leaves. Aphids can be controlled with insecticides or by introducing beneficial insects such as ladybugs, lacewings, or parasitic wasps.
  • Magnolia scale: Magnolia scale is a type of scale insect that is specific to magnolia trees. It can cause yellowing of the leaves and stunted growth, and can be controlled with insecticides or horticultural oil.
  • Root rot: Root rot is a disease caused by waterlogged soil, which can lead to the tree’s roots rotting and dying. Root rot can be controlled by improving drainage and avoiding over-watering.
  • Verticillium wilt: Verticillium wilt is a fungal disease that can cause wilting, yellowing, and death of the leaves. It can also cause the tree’s branches to die back. Verticillium wilt can be controlled by removing infected branches and providing good care to the tree.
  • Powdery mildew: Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that can cause a white, powdery coating on the leaves and can cause leaf distortion, discoloration, and premature leaf fall. It can be controlled by applying fungicides or by ensuring good air circulation around the tree.

It’s important to keep an eye on your tree’s growth and overall appearance and to take action if you notice any signs of pests or diseases. Regularly monitoring the tree and providing good care, such as fertilizing and watering, can help to prevent pest and disease issues.

magnolia butterflies

Magnolia ‘Butterflies’

Magnolia ‘Butterflies’ vs Magnolia ‘Elizabeth’

Magnolia ‘Butterflies’ and Magnolia ‘Elizabeth’ are both cultivars of the magnolia tree, known for their large, showy flowers. Here are some key differences between the two cultivars:

  • Flowers: Both ‘Butterflies’ and ‘Elizabeth’ have large, showy flowers, but the flowers of ‘Butterflies’ are yellow-gold and ruffled, providing the appearance of butterfly wings. The flowers of ‘Elizabeth’ are deep pink to purple, and have a more traditional shape.
  • Fragrance: Both cultivars have fragrant flowers, but the fragrance of ‘Elizabeth’ is considered to be stronger and more pleasant.
  • Size: ‘Butterflies’ can grow up to 20 feet tall and 15 feet wide, making it a good choice for medium-sized gardens or landscapes. ‘Elizabeth’ is a larger tree and can grow up to 30 feet tall and 20 feet wide, making it a better choice for larger gardens or landscapes.
  • Hardiness: ‘Butterflies’ is hardy in zones 4-9, and ‘Elizabeth’ is hardy in zones 5-9.
  • Sun preference: Both cultivars prefer full sun to partial shade, but ‘Elizabeth’ can tolerate more shade than ‘Butterflies’.
  • Soil requirements: Both cultivars prefer well-drained, moist soil with a slightly acidic pH, but ‘Elizabeth’ is more tolerant of clay soils than ‘Butterflies’.
  • Pruning: Both cultivars do not require heavy pruning, but ‘Elizabeth’ may need more pruning to control its size.

In summary, both Magnolia ‘Butterflies’ and ‘Elizabeth’ are beautiful trees with showy flowers, but they have some key differences in terms of size, flower color, fragrance, and sun preference. If you want a smaller tree with yellow-gold flowers, then ‘Butterflies’ may be the best choice. If you want a larger tree with deep pink to purple flowers and stronger fragrance, then ‘Elizabeth’ may be the best choice.

When does a Magnolia ‘Butterflies’ flowering?

The flowering period for this cultivar typically begins in late spring, usually around April or May, and lasts for several weeks. The exact timing of flowering will depend on the climate and location, as well as the tree’s overall health and care.

The tree starts to produce buds during the fall, and by late winter, the buds will start to swell and show color, indicating that the tree is preparing to bloom. As the weather warms up in spring, the tree will begin to open its flowers, creating a vibrant display of yellow-gold color.

It’s important to note that the tree may not start flowering until several years after being planted, as it takes time for the tree to establish itself and develop a strong root system. Once the tree is established and mature, it will produce an abundance of flowers each spring.

It’s also important to keep in mind that weather conditions such as frost and heavy rainfall can affect the timing of flowering, so it’s possible that the tree may bloom slightly earlier or later than expected.