Magnolias are among the most beautiful and popular landscape plants. A number of hybrid magnolias have been developed to provide a wider range of sizes, shapes and floral characteristics. Some of the more common hybrids and their cultivars are presented here.
This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- Large tree (more than 40 feet),
- Medium tree (25-40 feet),
- Small tree (15-25 feet),
- Compact tree (10-15 feet),
- Large shrub (more than 8 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8
- Acid soil,
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Mid spring
Size & Form
Varies by hybrid from 8 to 25 feet high.
Magnolias can be multi-stemmed or single trunk. Many of the smaller sized magnolias are shrub-like.
Tree & Plant Care
Spring plant only.
Pick a sheltered location to avoid damage from strong winds, full sun for best flowering potential.
Select late-blooming varieties to avoid frost damage to flowers.
Magnolias are shallow-rooted and benefit with a layer of mulch to moderate soil temperature fluctuation and conserve moisture.
Prune after flowering.
Disease, pests, and problems
Magnolia scale, Verticillium wilt, chlorosis in high pH soils.
Bark color and texture
Most magnolia hybrids have smooth gray bark.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Simple leaves arranged alternately on the stem.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Flowers are solitary and vary in shape and color, depending upon the variety.
Magnolias flowers do not produce nectar. They are typically pollinated by beetles.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
The fruit is a pickle-shaped structure (aggregate) that matures from green to pink, then red. When mature the structure splits open to reveal seeds.
Hybrids and Cultivars
Ann magnolia (Magnolia 'Ann'): 8 to 10 feet high and wide; upright shrubby form; blooms in mid-April. Large shrub to small tree with an open habit; erect, tapered buds open to red-purple flowers. One of the little girl series. Zone 4-8
Ballerina Loebner's magnolia (Magnolia x loebneri 'Ballerina'): 15 to 20 feet high and wide; rounded form; blooms early to mid-April. Flowers have numerous pure white petals that are pale pink at the base. zone 4-8.
Betty magnolia (Magnolia 'Betty'): 10 to 15 feet high and 8-12 feet wide; upright, shrubby form; blooms in mid-April. Large shrub to small tree; new leaf growth emerges copper-red changing to medium green; flowers are deep purple-red with white interior. Zone 4-8.
Butterflies magnolia (Magnolia 'Butterflies'): 18 to 20 feet high and 12 to 18 feet wide; upright, pyramidal form; blooms in late May. Small tree with deep yellow flowers that appear before the leaves. Zone 5-7
Coral Lake magnolia (Magnolia 'Coral Lake'): upright flowers with a mix of pink, peach, coral and cream; fragrant. Flowers later than some magnolias. Grows 20 feet high. Zone 4.
Daybreak magnolia (Magnolia 'Daybreak'): A narrow cultivar with rosy pink flowers. Grows 20 to 25 feet high and 6 to 12 feet wide. Zone 5-8.
Elizabeth magnolia (Magnolia 'Elizabeth'): 30 to 50 feet high and 20 to 35 feet wide; upright, pyramidal form; blooms in mid-May. Vigorous large tree with primrose yellow flowers; blooms at an early age. Zone 4-8
Galaxy magnolia (Magnolia 'Galaxy'): 20 to 25 feet high and 12 to 15 feet wide; rounded to pyramidal form. Small tree with pink flowers in late April. Green leaves turn a coppery bronze in fall. Zone 4-8.
Goldfinch magnolia (Magnolia 'Goldfinch'): 35 to 40 feet high and 30 to 40 feet wide; upright, pyramidal form; blooms in early May. Mid-size tree with light yellow flowers before the leaves emerge. Zone 4-8
Gold Star magnolia (Magnolia 'Gold Star'): 20 to 25 feet high and 15 to 20 feet wide; broad, pyramidal form; blooms early May. Small, multi-stemmed tree with star shaped, yellow flowers. New leaves emerge bronze-colored. Zone 4-8
Jane magnolia (Magnolia 'Jane'): 8 to 10 feet high and wide; upright, shrubby form; blooms in mid-May. Cup shaped flowers are reddish purple outside and white inside. One of little girl series. Zone 4-8
Leonard Messel Loebner Magnolia (Magnolia x loebneri 'Leonard Messel'): 25 to 30 feet high and 30-35 feet wide; rounded form; blooms in early to mid-April. Dark purple flower buds open with a white interior. Zone 4-8
Merrill Loebner Magnolia (Magnolia x loebneri 'Merrill): 25 to 30 feet high and 30 to 35 feet wide; rounded form; blooms early to mid-April. Fast growing tree with many strap-like petaled white flowers. Zone 4-8
Ricki magnolia (Magnolia 'Ricki'): 8 to 10 feet high and wide; upright form; deep purple buds produce fragrant, strap-like white petals with fuchsia shading; opens before the leaves. One of little girl series. Zone 4-8
Sunsation magnolia (Magnolia 'Sunsation'): Large (6 to 7 inches wide) creamy-yellow flowers accented with a blush of pink. Grows 20 to 30 feet high and 20 to 25 feet wide. Zone 4.
Yellow Bird magnolia (Magnolia 'Yellow Bird'): Yellow, upright flowers are produced later than some cultivars. Grows to 40 feet high and 25 feet wide. Zone 4-8.