Growing Port Wine Magnolias

Growing Port Wine Magnolias

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Growing Port Wine Magnolias

Port Wine Magnolias (Michelia figo) are commonly grown in many gardens and are a very good choice as hedges or screen plants. However, they are a beautiful shrub and can therefore also be found on their own in ornamental gardens providing a central focal point - so don’t only think of them as a hedging plant.

Their flowers are quite small - you would not choose a Port Wine Magnolia for the visual impact of their flowers. However, the scent of their flowers is simply stunning and this is a reason why many people choose to grow this shrub. The scent is often described as being similar to a fruity chewing gum or bananas. 

Plant Details

Common Names: Port Wine Magnolia, Banana Shrub, Banana Magnolia
Scientific Name: Michelia figo

Plant Description

Port Wine Magnolias are evergreen and can grow to approximately 3m (10’) tall. They originate from Western China and produce small purple-brown flowers mid to late spring. These flowers are quite small and have minimal visual impact, but do produce and a very heavy, sweet scent that is often described as being similar to a fruity chewing gum or ripe bananas.

Flowers grow on old wood, therefore making them excellent for hedges as pruning that removes new growth does not remove new flower buds. 

Best Climate for Port Wine Magnolias

Port Wine Magnolias grow best in frost-free zones.

Common Uses of Port Wine Magnolias

Port Wine Magnolias make wonderful hedges and screens. Their dense leaf growth enables them to be pruned to shape easily.


  • Being evergreen and having a dense leaf growth makes them wonderful as hedges or screen plants all year round.
  • Very easy to care for.


  • They are quite slow growing.

How to Care for Port Wine Magnolias

  • They prefer full sun, but can tolerate part-shade.
  • Soil should be well drained and enriched with organic matter such as compost and/or well aged manures.
  • Pruning after flowering (early summer) promotes new growth and the development of new flower buds.


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