Magnolia-The King of Greens for Decorating

Evergreen Magnolia, Magnolia grandiflora,  is one of my favorite greens to decorate for the holidays. The large textured leaves are the perfect evergreen to embellish with for Fall and Winter, simplifying the making of wreaths, table pieces, and mantel garlands. Using them extensively in my porch pots, it is always the Magnolia that stands out.

Growing Your Own Magnolia

Planted in full sun with the right conditions (plenty of room!), and well draining soil, evergreen Magnolias can live for many years and give you enjoyment with large profuse creamy white flowers and glossy evergreen foliage.

Magnolia flowers bloom sporadically all summer long and I used one of the blooms as the focal point in my #Bouquetoftheday in September

My mid-Atlantic region of Maryland, USDA zone 6b to 7 is about as far north as you can go to have a thriving evergreen Magnolia. I take advantage of that hardiness limit and have planted a Brown’s Bracken Magnolia with a brown felted reverse on the leaf – my favorite. Since I am on the edge of the hardiness zone, I caged it with leaves insulating it from frigid winter winds the first year it was planted. But after that, once it became established, it is living happily on my front lawn.

Protecting magnolia tree with burlap and leaves
A newly planted Magnolia with extensive winter damage; This tree wasn’t protected

Deer resistant and easy to grow, I love my Magnolia tree, and it is getting large enough now to snip some branches off to use for arranging. To see how I make ‘Porch Pots’, go to Front Porch Winter Cheer. 

Setting out materials for making a porch pot
Porch pot with Magnolia

The Magnolia Company

I use a lot of Magnolia in decorating for myself and clients and when I have to buy it, I purchase it from The Magnolia Company,  a family owned business. Growing acres and acres of Magnolia trees in central Florida, I always celebrate when I get their shipment, as it is so vibrant and fresh. Selling small live trees, wreaths, swags, and other cut greens, their Magnolia products take this evergreen in new directions. Instead of using it exclusively for Christmas decorating, The Magnolia Company has expanded the palette of uses to include all seasons.

A lacquered Springtime wreath from the Magnolia Company
The Magnolia Company’s field of trees, photo from The Magnolia Company
Magnolia trees flower when very young, photo from The Magnolia Company

Magnolia Uses

Giving structure and presence to any arrangement, I just insert the cut branches of Magnolia into moist soil outdoors and the leaves will last for weeks. Best out of direct sun and under a porch overhang outdoors, I have had Magnolia branches last for months. Drying beautifully, I have sprayed a Magnolia wreath gold and hang it up every year.

My Magnolia wreath is at least 12 years old, sprayed gold, and I still hang it

Not just for Christmas arrangements, I am starting to use Magnolia all year long. Fall arrangements are especially pretty using the leaves.

Autumn themed wreath from the Magnolia Company
Fall table runner with hydrangeas and artichokes, photo from The Magnolia Company
Fall table runner, photo from The Magnolia Company

White House Decorating

Selling fresh and dried Magnolia wreaths, The Magnolia Company’s red lacquered wreaths have also been displayed at the White House in the East Colonnades’ windows. Read about my Decorating at The White House to find out more about Christmas decorating at ‘The Peoples’ House’.

Red lacquered wreaths displayed at the White House, photo from The Magnolia Company
My favorite red lacquered Magnolia wreath, from the Magnolia Company
Entrance at White House decorated with fresh magnolia, photo from Mary Mazzeffi

And this year, fresh Magnolia was used extensively to transform the entryways at The White House.

Urn full of Magnolia at The White House 2020, photo by Mary Mazzeffi

So Magnolia greens are very versatile and can be used any season of the year – not just Christmas! I will be using more of this wonderful green, fresh and dried,  in my arrangements all year long.

Fourth of July wreath, from The Magnolia Company
From the Magnolia Company
Summer themed Magnolia wreath, from The Magnolia Company

9 Replies to “Magnolia-The King of Greens for Decorating”

  1. I love magnolias and have a few branches from the tree at my mom’s house (last year for it because the house sold). We will try to grow one of our own now that we can’t see her tree. Thanks for the cool ideas of what to do with it – my pots were looking pretty sad.

  2. Claire, I have Bracken’s Brown Beauty growing in my Zone 6 b garden in Western Pennsylvania! I protected it the first year and it is going strong ever since then.

  3. I had magnolia leaves on my wreath for outside of my front door last year. It gets the hot southern exposure & the leaves went brown…any ideas to prevent this?

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