Star Magnolia

{{{This post was written for my website A Southern Garden}}}

Size: 10’ – 15’ feet in height and spread
Leaves: 2” – 4” inch oblong, coarse and dense, much smaller than other magnolias
Flowers: White, sometimes pink tinged, star-shaped with thin petals
Growth Rate: Slow
Culture: Does best in partial sun in moist, acidic soils but is adaptable to a wide range of soil pHs

This delicate and fragile beauty blooms so early that it is often nipped by frosts which can be a frustrating experience. I once saw a spectacular specimen growing at a local dentist’s office and had to have one. I’ve had it now for twelve years and I’ve had those stunning shows maybe twice. I almost always get blooms but they may only last a few days before the cold get them. But on those occasions, when all the buds manage to open, it is a sight to behold. One year, during one of the rare fantastic displays, a passer-by stopped and asked me what kind of tree it was and went on to say that it was the prettiest tree he ever saw.

This is a small tree, unlike the popular traditional magnolia, and some might even refer to it as a large shrub. It is a slow grower with an oval and compact shape and will reach a height of anywhere from 10 -15 ft, maybe larger, depending on conditions. The leaves are small and dense and turn yellow in the fall. The flowers are fragrant and appear before the leaves do in late February and early March in my garden. It is a good tree for a courtyard or patio. If a sheltered spot is available, you might have more success with it.


  1. A beautiful tree, is that bloom from this year? We have a magnolia called Jane that blooms later to avoid those frosts, but it got zapped with last year's later than normal heavy freeze.

    Frances at Faire Garden

  2. I think I have a cultivar of this. (It came with the house.) Last year when we had that awful April freeze, every Star Magnolia got zapped but mine. It blooms reliably every year & rarely gets damaged. (There, I've just cursed myself.) It is surprising that it doesn't do better down south by you.

  3. I saw your comment about photo sizes on Pam's blog. Here's what I know about Blogger & photos. When I started blogging, I didn't realize that uploading photos in the over 3400 pixel range would take up too much space on Blogger's (Picasa) storage of my photos. I edit mine now to about 500 pixels on my printer's photo editor. (This can also be done on one of the external photo services.) I then click on the "Large" option. For larger photos, I up the pixel size. I don't know if Blogger allows huge photos in posts, as my 3400 range photos were never huge. You might want to check out Blogger's help center. But remember that photos with more pixels take longer to load.

  4. What a wonderful flower Phillip. I'm so ready for spring and summer!

  5. I have one also! It blooms in April here in Michigan.

  6. I love Star Magnolia and my experience has been opposite. Great shows 10 out of 12 years. I guess there is a little benefit from living up north.

  7. I stumbled upon your blog while trying to identify a flowering tree. I actually linked your blog in my post as well. I think you may enjoy the photo I took.Your post was a great help to me. Thank you.I am over at
    I like your blogs name-I feel the same way about gardening!


Post a Comment