The Star of Magnolias

Close-up of a cluster of star magnolia blooms

Star magnolia is considered a small tree, but smaller than the common saucer magnolia.

Flowering magnolias are in bloom everywhere now. And what we do not see frequently is the star magnolia species, but it is a showstopper too. Not as common as the pink flowering saucer magnolia, it has something very different to offer. As you can see from the image, its blooms are star shaped and white, thus the name. I especially like this magnolia because it is considered a small tree, but it is generally smaller than its cousin the saucer magnolia. The one shown in the picture is my neighbor’s tree, and it is about 10 years old. This star magnolia has been pruned to keep it open and multi-stem, but it was not required to be done every year. As you can see it is in a basically in a dry, well drained location with the shade of the house providing partial sun protection. While this is an excellent location, it will also take damp locations and full sun. Just last week I locally purchased the selection ‘Royal Star’ which is the common named selection available. It blooms about 2 weeks later than the species which is an asset, since in our area that helps them from being killed by a freeze when they are in bloom. This is an A-plus small tree from home landscapes in Birmingham.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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