I planted a port wine magnolia at each end with Camelia Sesanquas in-between as screening at the front of our property. We have so many beautiful examples of Sesanquas used for hedging down this way on the NSW South Coast.
Our soil is very dense with clay so I mixed new soil and compost mix into the garden bed. My yard was a blank canvas so I love incorporating all my favourite plants. The fragrance of port wine magnolias is one of my favourites and a large part of my reason for planting them.
Tips for growing port wine magnolias
Port wine magnolias (Michelia or Magnolia figo) are one of my all-time favourite plants. Use them as shrubs, hedges, large topiary or small feature trees. They are super hardy. They'll survive in most positions and conditions but do best in a sunny spot with good soil. They won't take well to cold conditions though so if you get regular frost they may not be the ideal choice. Some say not to plant them if temperatures drop below zero degrees but I have had them in gardens that do get light frost and haven't had any issues. They make an excellent screen or hedge as they are very dense, but the trick is pruning – tip-prune early and often to keep them nice and bushy. Although they prefer good sun, you'll find that they do quite well in part-sun or even lightly shady spots with more pruning to keep them dense. – Adam_W
Tip-pruning is very important to keep port wine magnolias in check so they bush up rather than head for the sky. The plants may might need wind protection until they're established. You can tip-prune the top growth to encourage side growth lower down to fill the plants out, but it may take a couple of years to achieve the look you may be after. Magnolias have a tendency to produce strong upright shoots if pruned too severely, so don't go in hard. Regular tip-pruning through the growing season is best, nipping off just the growing tips. – Noelle
Before and after
How to choose a hedging plant
A hedge can turn a boxed-in yard into a private, green oasis, give you formal partitioning from the street, provide a windbreak or screen out unwanted views. Experienced member Adam Woodhams shares what you'll need to consider when choosing a hedging plant.