‘Ann’ magnolia is another of the USDA introductions developed by crossing shrubby ‘Nigra’ lily magnolia (Magnolia liliiflora) and small tree ‘Rosea’ star magnolia (Magnolia stellata). The resulting magnolia is the perfect answer for a spring-flowering beauty perfect for smaller settings. Flowers open two to four weeks later than similar types, which reduces the likelihood of frost damage to blooms. Plants demand little care. The right time to prune is after flowering, but this is rarely needed. ‘Ann’ grows 8 to 10 feet tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 4-8.
Saucer magnolias are a welcome harbinger of spring everywhere, and Biltmore is no exception. The trick to success with these spring beauties is to tuck them into a sunny spot with slightly acidic soil. The fleshy roots really benefit from a consistent mulch covering to keep soil cool and moist. In northern zones, look for varieties that flower later to avoid late spring frosts turning petals from gorgeous hues to brown mush.
Felix is part of a group of magnolias known as the Jury Series. Developed by plant breeder Mark Jury, these magnolias deliver big, bold blooms on small trees with fuss-free personalities. Felix (Magnolia ‘JURmag2’) unfurls hot pink, fragrant flowers the size of dinner plates—a whopping 12 inches across. This magnolia is a great choice for courtyard or entry gardens, or if you want a pair of stately trees flanking a drive without blocking the view. Trees flower at a young age and eventually open hundreds of blooms each spring. Plants grow 10 to 15 feet tall and 8 to 10 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 5-9.
Choose this magnolia if you want a traditional tree-size bloomer. Large white flowers tinged with a hint of pink appear on branches in spring. The blossoms boast 15 or more petals and open to 3.5 inches wide. ‘Merrill’ magnolia (Magnolia x loebneri) is an heirloom plant, developed at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston from seed planted in 1939. The formal name ‘Merrill’ came in 1952, honoring a former Arboretum director. This magnolia is a full size tree, growing 20 to 60 feet tall and 20 to 45 feet wide. Use it as a lawn tree or part of a shrub border. Hardy in Zones 5-9.
‘Jane’ magnolia was developed in the 1950s as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture plant breeding program. It’s one of eight magnolia hybrids known as the Little Girls. Of these magnolias, ‘Jane’ flowers the latest, about four weeks later than similar types. This late flowering window means your plant is less likely to suffer frost damage to blooms. Magnolias dislike being moved, so choose a planting spot with care (aim for full sun). Keep the root zone mulched. The right time to prune is after flowering, but this is rarely needed. ‘Jane’ forms a multi-stemmed shrub or small tree, growing 20 to 25 feet tall and up to 20 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 4-8.
Magnolia grandiflora is a broadleaf evergreen tree that is noted for its attractive dark green leaves and its large, extremely fragrant flowers. It typically grows to 60 to 80 feet tall with a pyramidal to rounded crown.
Saucer magnolia (M. x soulangeana) is the single most popular magnolia, and it’s easy to see why. Its showy pink flowers steal the spotlight in early to mid-spring. The tree quickly grows to its mature height of 20 to 25 feet. Large blossoms to 8 inches across exude a beautiful perfume. In regions with lingering late spring frosts, don’t plant it near the southern side of a structure because retained heat might trigger early flowering, which frost can quickly wipe out. Hardy in Zones 4-9.
Star magnolia bursts into bloom in early spring, when the first daffodils are just starting to show color. ‘Centennial Blush’ star magnolia (Magnolia stellata) opens pale pink flowers rich with fragrance. Blossoms unfurl before leaves, staging a stunning show. Star magnolias flower best in full sun but tolerate part shade (they actually benefit from shade during the hottest part of the day in warmest zones). Feed plants in spring using a slow release shrub and tree fertilizer with sulfur and/or iron to help green the leaves. This star magnolia grows 12 to 18 feet tall and 10 to 15 feet wide. It’s hardy in Zones 4-9, which means it can welcome spring from Minneapolis, to Mobile, to Medford, Oregon.
This gorgeous Southern magnolia is sold as Timeless Beauty magnolia. Classic white magnolia blooms appear over a long season. Flowers are fragrant and blend beautifully with glossy evergreen leaves. Plant form is strongly upright with dense branches. It’s the perfect accent tree in a small landscape. Give this magnolia a spot in full sun to part shade, providing mulch over the root zone to help soil retain moisture. This is a large tree that's usually wider than tall. It grows 15 to 20 feet tall and 20 to 25 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 6-9.
Large, bright pink flowers with a lemony fragrance cover ‘Rose Marie’ magnolia in spring. The flowering window is luxuriously long, lasting up to six weeks. Created by a plant breeder in Wisconsin, ‘Rose Marie’ has good winter hardiness. It flowers about four weeks later than other magnolia varieties, which helps reduce the likelihood of frost damaging blooms. Unlike other saucer magnolias, bright green leaves are present when flowers unfurl, creating a striking color contrast. This is a small tree, growing 10 to 12 feet tall and 8 feet wide. Keep magnolias mulched beneath the drip line to help insulate fleshy roots. Hardy in Zones 5-8.
If pink is your signature color, look for Fairy Magnolia Blush (Michelia x ‘Mic Jur01’). Lilac-pink blossoms cover the plant in spring, peeking out among the lush evergreen leaves. With all Fairy magnolias, plants often rebloom with a lighter flowering in summer. Fragrant blooms provide good forage for bees and other pollinators in spring. The evergreen leaves offer nesting habitat for birds. Use Fairy magnolias as a hedge, specimen plant or tucked into containers. Plants grow 9 to 12 feet tall and 5 to 7 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 7b-11.
Discover the beauty of a magnolia cousin that flowers heaviest from early to late spring. Fairy magnolia white (Michelia x ‘Mic JUR01’) opens fragrant blooms along branches covered with glossy evergreen leaves. Although the plant has a naturally compact, bushy habit, you can also grow Fairy magnolia as a small tree by removing lower branches. This magnolia adapts to full sun or part shade and grows best in well-drained soil. Use it as a showstopper in your landscape—it will deliver. Plants grow 9 to 12 feet tall and 5 to 7 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 7b-11.
Give your yard some springtime drama with the deep black-purple blooms of Black Tulip magnolia (Magnolia ‘JURmag1’). This stunner boasts perfumed, goblet-type flowers that measure 6 inches across. Black Tulip is one of the darkest magnolias on the market, with flowers appearing before green leaves emerge. Trees bloom at a young age and have an attractive branch structure in winter. This is a small tree, reaching 10 feet in 10 years. Use it in a dooryard garden so you can savor the fragrance each spring. Plants grow 10 to 15 feet tall and 8 to 10 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 5-9.
Usher in spring with the deep claret-red flowers of Burgundy Star magnolia (Magnolia ‘JURmag4’). These blooms open to 6 inches across with a light fragrance. The tree’s shape is columnar. It’s the right choice when you need a magnolia with a narrow footprint, like along a drive or sidewalk. Or plant several in a circular bed, under-planting with a groundcover rose like Flower Carpet White. Trees grow best in full sun to part shade with well-drained soil. Flowers unfurl before leaves appear. Plants grow 10 to 15 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 5-9.
Creamy gold-toned blossoms welcome spring on Honey Tulip magnolia (Magnolia ‘JURmag5’). Opening to 6 inches across, the goblet-shape flowers cover the tree in early spring. This magnolia has a narrow growth pattern, reaching only 4 to 6 feet wide. It fits neatly into small gardens or can play a supporting role in a larger landscape. Count on Honey Tulip to provide spring color in a shrub or perennial border. Trees grow best in full sun to part shade with well-drained soil. Flowers unfurl before leaves appear, creating a stunning showpiece in a yard. Plants grow 10 to 15 feet tall and 4 to 6 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 5-9.
If you’ve always wanted a magnolia but don’t have the space for a big tree, Baby Grand is the plant for you. It has classic Southern magnolia style with brown felt-backed evergreen leaves and creamy white perfumed blooms. Overall plant size after 12 years is 11.5 feet tall and 6.5 feet wide. That means it fits in small yards, entry gardens or even containers. Better still, this small beauty makes a stunning evergreen hedge (space plants 5 feet apart). Prune plants after flowering to form a tree, topiary or espalier. Left untrimmed, plants grow as a shrubby bloomer. Look for the white flowers in spring. Feed plants in the ground once annually after flowering. In containers, fertilize twice a year: after flowering and again in early fall. Hardy in Zones 7-11. The botanical name is Magnolia grandiflora ‘STRgra.’