Plant Taxonomy of Star Magnolia Trees:
classifies star magnolia tree as Magnolia stellata
. An example of a cultivar
is M. stellata
Characteristics of Star Magnolia Trees:
Star magnolia tree normally reaches a height of 15 to 20 feet at maturity, with a spread of slightly less than that. The shape of its white flowers
give it both its common name and its scientific name. It blooms in March or April, making it one of the true harbingers of spring. Fuzzy, pussy willow
-like buds precede the spring display of mildly fragrant flowers
Planting Zones for Star Magnolias:
Sun and Soil Requirements for Star Magnolia Tree:
Grow these Japanese magnolias in well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Plant in a loamy
soil enriched with humus
Uses in Landscaping:
Although usually classified as a tree, these Japanese magnolias will sometimes exhibit a tendency to grow as multi-stemmed shrubs (bushes). If you wish to avoid this look, prune away any suckers so as to train your specimen to assume a tree form.
When and How to Prune Star Magnolia Tree:
The plant blooms on old wood, so prune after blossoming to avoid losing flowers. People don't generally prune magnolias much (although M. stellata is sometimes a bit more tolerant of pruning than other members of its genus), but I prune away lower growth as it emerges on established star magnolia trees, while letting the rounded, spreading crown become dense.
Outstanding Characteristic of Star Magnolia Trees:
These Japanese stalwarts often blossom a bit earlier (March-April) than do saucer magnolias
. We value their precociousness after a long, hard winter, when we most desperately crave spring flowers
How to Care for Star Magnolias:
On the one hand, you don't want strong March winds whipping around the flowers too much, because that will cause them to drop their petals prematurely. But on the other hand, planting them in a sheltered spot with a southern exposure can be a bigger mistake, because if the buds open up too early, they can be damaged by frost. Find a balance that's right for your area.
New growers are sometimes alarmed by the "funny growths" that appear on star magnolia trees in the latter part of the growing season. No need to worry, though: those odd lumps are just the pods in which star magnolia tree seeds are contained.