My Oh My, Magnolias!
By Kerry Ann Mendez
Magnolias always create a sensation when they are in bloom. Both Star (M. stellata) and Saucer (M. x soulangiana) have breathtaking, fragrant flowers. Star's blooms are smaller and consist of many slender petals (up to 18), while Saucer's flowers can be 5-10" in diameter with larger but fewer petals, which sometimes are referred to as tulip Magnolias. Both will flower before leaves appear in the spring.
Placement and Care
Star and Saucer Magnolias range in height from 8-25' and are usually available as multi-stemmed shrubs, but can be pruned into single trunk trees. Star Magnolias have white or pink flowers while Saucer's are white, pink, purple or yellow. Both Magnolias grow in sun to part sun and are hardy to Zone 4 or 5 depending on the cultivar.
While the early blooms of Magnolias are always a welcome sign of spring, thanks to breeding breakthroughs, there are now Magnolia hybrids that start flowering later in the season
These later bloomers typically flower 2 to 4 weeks later than Star and Saucer Magnolias, which makes their flowers less susceptible to frost damage. 'Sunsation' (soft yellow blooms) and 'Ann' (deep pink-purple) in the Little Girl series, are two of these unique varieties.
Estabrook's offers 12 different Magnolias that will make striking additions to any landscape.
About the Author
KERRY ANN MENDEZ is an award-winning garden educator, author and design consultant based in southern Maine. Her latest book is The Budget-Wise Gardener. You'll now find her at Estabrook's consulting on garden design, answering your gardening questions and much more. Plus, don't miss her Garden Webinar series!