This native of Japan is a small deciduous tree or large shrub that provides a beautiful display of flowers in spring. The white or pink tinged flowers are star-shaped, three to four inches wide and appear in late winter or very early spring before the leaves emerge. Reddish aggregate fruits bearing orange seeds develop in early fall. The leaves are bronze in spring when they emerge, turn medium to dark green in summer and become an uninteresting yellow in fall. They are two to four inches long, smaller than those of other magnolias. Star magnolia is an excellent tree or shrub for shrub borders, an informal hedge, and small spaces such as patios. Since the flower buds are susceptible to frost damage plants should be located in protected areas and warm southern exposures should be avoided.
Type: Deciduous flowering small tree or shrub
Outstanding Features: Flowers
Form: Upright, spreading, oval to round crown
Growth Rate: Moderate; blooms when young
Bloom: White or pink-tinged star-shaped flowers 3-4” across in late winter or early spring
Size: 15-20’ H x 10-15’ W
Light: Morning sun with partial afternoon shade
Soil: Deep, organically rich, moist, well-drained
Hardiness: Zones 4-9
Care: When necessary prune after flowering to avoid removing next year’s flower buds.
Pests and Diseases: None of significance
Propagation: Seeds (difficult), root cuttings in summer after flower buds have formed
Outstanding Selection: ‘Centennial’ (White with hint of pink; vigorous).