Burke's Backyard

Port Wine Magnolia Hedge

In the Garden > Flowering Plants & Shrubs

Port Wine Magnolia Hedge

If you want to grow a hedge that flowers, it is important to choose plants that flower on old wood. That way, you can prune and shape the new growth without cutting off all the flower buds. The port wine magnolia, as seen in our segment, is an excellent choice for a flowering hedge. It does flower on old wood, and it produces heavily perfumed, small flowers in spring.

Plant details

Common name: Port wine magnolia

Botanic name: Michelia figo


An evergreen, dense shrub from western China. It grows slowly to around 3m (10') tall, and produces small, purple-brown flowers from early September to late November. The flowers are insignificant to look at, but they have a sweet, heavy scent reminiscent of juicy fruit chewing gum or bananas.

Best climate

Michelias grow well in frost-free areas of Australia.


screen or hedge perfumed gardens

Good points

strong perfume compact, evergreen foliage


The flowers are small and do not open fully. However, their lovely fragrance makes up for their insignificant appearance. The port wine magnolia is slow growing, so not a good choice if you want a quick screen.


Michelias like a position in full sun or part shade, and a well-drained soil enriched with compost or well-rotted cow manure. Prune after flowering to encourage new flowering growth.

Getting started

Port wine magnolias are readily available at nurseries, particularly in spring when they are in flower.

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