Magnolias

Magnolia x loebneri ‘Leonard Messel’ – This cross of Magnolia kobus and Magnolia stellata bears abundant pale lilac-pink blooms (similar to star magnolia) that emerge in early spring from pussy willow-like buds. It can be grown as a large multistem shrub or trained to a single-stemmed standard form, reaching heights of 15-18′ tall by 15′ wide. Hardy to zone 5.

Magnolia sieboldii (syn. Magnolia parviflora) – The Oyama magnolia flowers from late spring into summer, with egg-shaped buds that open to nodding, pure white fragrant blooms, contrasted by burgundy stamens. This species tolerates partial shade and forms a broad vase-shaped tree, growing to about 15′ tall and slightly wider. Native to Japan, Korea and China. Zone 6 hardy.

Magnolia liliiflora ‘Nigra’ – This cultivar of the lily-flowered magnolia has many attributes – it blooms at a very young age and it is more compact than the species, maturing at about 8′ tall. The slender upright reddish-purple blooms are borne in early summer and sporadically into autumn. The only downside to this tree, is that it can be a little hard to find. Hardy to zone 6.

Magnolia ‘Elizabeth’ – This cross of Magnolia acuminata and denudata bears fragrant soft yellow blooms in mid to late spring, just as the leaves emerge. ‘Elizabeth’ forms a reasonably tall tree at 30′ and features coppery-bronze autumn tones. It is an RHS Award of Garden Merit winner and like most Magnolias, prefers good soil drainage. Grows 15-30′ wide. Hardy to zone 5.

Magnolia x soulangeana ‘Lennei’ – The old-fashioned saucer magnolia is usually too large for most urban gardens, but for those with some room, ‘Lennei’ is a good choice. This RHS Award of Merit winner features goblet-shaped purplish-pink flowers that are white inside. Average height and spread is about 20′ with the tree being covered in coarse green leaves in summer. Zone 5.

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