Monday, April 12, 2010

A Star of a Magnolia

From In the Garden
A new addition to Tiger Gardens in 2009 was this star magnolia, aka Magnolia stellata 'Royal Star'. This is the only magnolia I have growing here and I chose it carefully dur to its ability to grow in partial shade. It is a stunner and has a fragrance reminiscent of jasmine. It is a keeper.

I planted this magnolia in a dry shade area of the Secret Patio garden. It is flanked on either side by a ''Tamukeyama' weeping red Japanese maple. These three shrubs along with two mature oak trees provide a buffer for the secret patio. They are joined by wildflowers and a few perennials. This is a garden that pretty much has to take care of itself because it is quite a distance away from the main outdoor living area. All three small shrubs get only about three hours of sun during the midday. I think it is enough judging by the show this magnolia is putting on this year.

There is another similar type magnolia that is a favored magnolia in this area; that magnolia is a pink flowering one and is known as Magnolia soulangiana, or saucer magnolia and sometimes it is called tulip magnolia. A cultivar readily found in the big box stores is 'Jane', but there are many types available. I love this magnolia as well as the star magnolia but chose the star magnolia for its wonderful fragrance, white color and shade tolerance. Both magnolias bloom about the same time each year. Most years the bloom is outstanding but should a late freeze come along all blooms will quickly turn to mush, not a pretty sight. A protected site is beneficial for these early blooming Asian magnolias, though they are hardy from Zones 4-8.

The star magnolia will grow to about 20'x 10-15'. There are a few specimens around town and they are simply stunning and unmistakable. The largest star magnolia I know of is located at the Clarksville Post Office on Madison Street. It is a very mature specimen and probably a good 20-30' feet tall and about 15-20' around. Star magnolias are slow growers so you can only imagine how long this magnolia has been in its spot by the post office. It and all star magnolias sparkle just as a star....

in the garden....

Happy Birthday to Zachary!

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team,

In the Garden


  1. Tina ~ What a stunningly, lovely white magnolia, plus it has a scent. That's wonderful! This will bring you joy for many years while you watch it grow. Your little secret garden are sounds great.


  2. Hi Tina girl ! This tree is in the front yard of a neighbor and I never did know what it was until I stumbled on it through the net .. and it is a gorgeous tree .. I didn't know there was a fragrance though .. I might sneak a wiff if I can ? LOL
    There are the "saucer" magnolias around too .. but this one is outstanding : )

  3. Hubby was just saying the other day about getting one of these trees. They are blooming all about, alot of pink ones too. I'll have to keep the scent in mimd.

  4. That's a lovely shrub with beautiful blooms! I potted up my Michelia (Magnolia's Cousin) yesterday and am hoping that it'd bloom this summer.

  5. Magnolias! Yum! Do you ever float them Tina? I don't have any, but if I ever come across one, I love to float it in a pretty bowl!

  6. I have a star magnolia and love it very much. This is the first year that the blooms lasted a long time without getting cold damaged. My tree is about 20 feet tall and was pretty large when it was added to my landscape. It gives my patio much needed shade in the summer. I would reccomend this tree to anyone. Carla

  7. That's a good magnolia! It might be one to put on the list for our garden. Over Easter I planted a Jane for my mother-in-law. I prefer the deciduous types.

  8. Oh, she is indeed a Star! I don't have that one, but she's on my wish list. A perfect patio tree.

  9. I have one of these beauties on my list. The only decision is whether to get the one that is a double, '"Royal Star' or the pink blush 'Rosea' --oh the possibilities!!! Your first photo is stunning. Great shot!

  10. Good Morning everyone. I hope your day will be a productive & happy one.
    That is a stunning tree Tina. It seems it would lighten up a "dark" area, as in shade. I like the fact if is a slow grower. It's so white. I have the Japanese Magnolia that blooms in Spring before the foliage appears. It has had 1 bloom on it for the past 2 yrs. Of course it's small yet. Patience.

  11. Flowerlady, Thanks!

    Joy, Me too! That's also how I identified it. Blogging is so good for learning.

    Dawn, It smells wonderful! Go get you one!

    Chandramouli, Fingers crossed for lots of blooms for you!

    Linda, No, I haven't floated them but have camelias. They would look fabulous floated!

    Monica, Thanks!

    Carla, This year has been so good for magnolias. Lucky you to have a large one in your yard. They are stunning.

    Dave, Jane is a stunner!

    Cameron, It would look great near your sweet bay-and the scent is wunderbar!

    Janet, Get them both:)

    Lola, You are correct. They do lighten up dark areas. They are so charming. You have a great day too. I'll be in the garden here. Last minute things to get done prior to wedding plans kicking in and Christy will be home for Iraq for a few days. Can't wait!

  12. Happy Birthday to Zach. WOW, WOW, WOW, what a pleasant variation and the fragrance too, ou la la, sounds like a winner all around!

  13. Very beautiful blooms.... I am sure the scent is awesome too.... Blossom up your life with all the sweet scent & the beauty around in your backyard.... Lovely!!!!!


  14. I love this magnolia and haven't added it to the garden thinking it might be a difficult plant. Now I must find a spot for it! Thank you! gail

  15. I love the pure white blossoms of this variety, Tina; it's going to be a "star" in your garden, I know. This has been a great year for magnolias with all the warm temperatures. We had a big saucer Magnolia at our former house, and every year I would cross my fingers that we wouldn't get a freeze before it stopped blooming. It was so disappointing when, about every other year, the cold would zap it, and all the blooms would turn brown.

  16. It's beautiful Tina. The added bonus of fragrance makes it special. I've seen several in this area, they are very distinct.

  17. Good morning! I hope everyone had the same beautiful weekend we had! We finally got the boat to the lake for some relaxation. Spring is wonderful....

    I was so tempted to get a Saucer Magnolia for my birthday but opt for something else instead. They were spectacular here this spring with long lasting blooms with mild weather.

    I do not recall the one at the Post Office on Madison street but should as I walked to the PO with my grandmother weekly it seems. I will have to take a peek at it next time I am in Clarksville...

    Happy Birthday Zack! Time sure does fly....

  18. Hi Tina, we just had visitors from India who were blown away by all the tulip magnolias in blossom here right now (M. soulangiana), so much so that they asked me to find out about growing them from seeds. As far as I could research it, it looks like that's very difficult to do, and seeds are not commercially available. Would you agree with that? However, there are seeds available for star magnolias! I suggested that to them and after looking at the pictures they told me that they grow all over India and are responsible for the wonderful jasmine-like aroma wafting through the air there in warm evenings. Lovely! Barbara

  19. Tina, The Star Magnolia sounds and looks beautiful. I wonder if I dare try it in my zone 3 garden. I suppose it will depend if I can even find it in my local nursery :)

  20. Lzyjo, My word exactly!

    Ashkuku, Thanks so much!

    Gail, It has tolerated dry shade well-way better than I expected. Very easy too.

    Rose, Yes those freezes have us all on edge when the magnolias bloom. This has been a great year though. Maybe the old tree is outstanding this year?

    Marnie, They are very distinct yes indeed. And the fragrance-oolala as Lzyjo says.

    Skeeter, My good friend works two doors down from the PO and she is a master gardener and didn't know until last year that this particular tree was a star. It is on the right side of the PO right in front. You'll not know what you are looking at unless you see it in bloom but it is there. Check it out.

    Barbara, Since I have not tried to propagate the magnolias I checked Dirr's Manual of Woody Landscape plants and he says this about both the soulangiana and stellata magnolias: "Seed should be stratified 3-6 months in moist media at 32-41F to overcome embryo dormancy. My work indicates 3 months is sufficient with plants flowering 4-6 years later. In general it is best to collect cuttings when the terminal (flower bud) is formed, cuttings should be wounded and dipped in 10000 to perhaps 20000 ppm IBA, peat:perlite, mist; rooting generally occurs in high pecentages; this aproach is much preferable to grafting. Soulangiana is more difficult to root than stellata..." I guess if you can get seeds you can conceivably start the trees (both) from seeds but it would be better to do cuttings. Now would be the time to take cuttings too. Good luck to your friends on getting one established. Let us know how it goes.

    Melanie, You might find it available but if you are a hard Zone 3 I don't think I'd try it. The problems always come in with the blooms getting zapped by freezes but hey, zone denial is alive and well here so why not go for it anyhow?

  21. I have always LOVED Magnolias and always watched for the one to bloom each spring at the bank on the corner of Main and Cumberland Street. It is in bloom right now and is so gorgeous.

    Happy, happy day day and year to Zachary!!!! With 5 kiddos, the birthdays must come around pretty quickly as I know they did with only 4 kiddos.

  22. I love Star Magnolias, but I don't think I've ever gotten close enough to smell one. I had no idea they could grow in dry shade. They sure would brighten an area up.

  23. It is gorgeous! I have never seen a magnolia like this!

  24. Thanks for that great information, Tina. I'll pass it on to my friends. It does sound more like a task for advanced gardeners, though, which they are not. I read that the procedure is necessary because in nature the seeds first need to go through a bird's stomach before they sprout! So you're right, cutting is probably the way to go.

  25. I love this Magnolia, look at my Zauberbuch, hugh Kathrin
    and also happy birthday

  26. What an absolutely gorgeous Magnolia! I love the shape of the flowers and the fact that they are fragrant is such a bonus. I can only imagine how much of a statement it will make in your garden as it grows.

  27. Beautiful!! Wish I could smell the flowers.

  28. I would really love to have a star magnolia, but we just have simply run out of room and I don't see how we can ever gain least where we live now.

  29. I prefer the Star Magnolias and they tend to be neat shrubs and slow growing. Lovely to see them in full bloom.

  30. Hi Tina -thanks for making my Zachary feel super special. Thank you everyone for all the birthday wishes -they really mean alot.

    My lilacs are in full bloom -oh I just can't describe the beauty of that scent -I think it gets better each year:0)

    Tina, you have had some really awesome flowers blooming this year but that doesn't surprise me -you have such an incredible garden.

    I know the excitement abounds with all the wedding plans closing in -it will be beautiful! I want to see pictures -either I will drive over or you will have to make the trek to my place once things get all settled, okay?

    Time to start rounding up my kiddos from school -have a beautiful day all!

    Jean -I want to see you -squeeze a second of free time and Lil Bundle and I will make our way to you:0)

    Lola -I hope you are having a wonderful day -you really made my day -it was a boost of sunshine from a special garden gal:0)

    Skeeter -hoping you come this way soon too -we miss ya girl!

  31. Yes, that's a special one. How cool that you've been able to pick out a sister plant at the post office.

    I'm taking it easy on the new shrubs because we may move soon - I would love to plant one of these, though!

  32. Anonymous, I will be up there soon! Be on the lookout...

  33. Please excuse my old age mind but I wanted to say

    I hope you had a great day.

    Sure missed meeting you Anonymous but you were busy. lol

  34. These trees are great! The wait will be the worst part but at least it puts on a show well it is growing.