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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Not just for Christmas arrangements, I am starting to use Magnolia all year long. Fall arrangements are especially pretty using the leaves.
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’.
And this year, fresh Magnolia was used extensively to transform the entryways at The White House.
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.