Magnolias are one of the oldest flowering plants ever discovered. Get to know more of the spectacular varieties of this ancient flower.
Magnolia flowers belong to the Magnoliaceae family and have around 210 species. They’re considered as the most ancient flowering plants, appearing before bees did. Fossilised specimen of one type of magnolia dated 20 million years while another dates back 95 million years.
Magnolia flowers can live for a century or more. It is believed that they have evolved to encourage pollination by beetles. The flowers don’t yield true nectar but protein-rich pollen.
Alba Superba (Magnolia x soulangeana)
A type of saucer magnolia, it has white tulip-shaped petals that are flushed with a purple-pink color at the base and large, dark green leaves that perfectly complement the petals. Preferring full sun and partial shade, this tree has fragrant flowers and is perfect for small gardens, as well as landscapes of all sizes.
Anise Magnolia (Magnolia salicifolia)
With willow-like petals that are a beautiful shade of white, this type of magnolia grows up to six inches wide and sometimes has a pink tinge at the base. Its fragrance is lemony and slightly anise in scent, and its leaves are copper-red to start out with and have whitened undersides, then they fade to a beautiful shade of golden yellow in the Fall. They also come in several different varieties for the gardener’s convenience.
With beautiful four-inch-wide blossoms in striking shades of medium pink or reddish-purple, this is an elegant flower that blooms very early and gets up to ten feet in height. They make a great specimen plant, and they are perfect for both cottage gardens and city gardens. The medium green leaves turn yellow-gold in the fall, and they do best in full sun or partial shade.
Like its name suggests, this magnolia looks a lot like a tulip and is usually deep burgundy in color. They can grow up to twenty feet high and love moist but well-drained soil, and they do great as a specimen plant. Pruning in mid-summer is highly recommended, and the flower looks great in large containers or tubs.
With sunny yellow petals and bronze-orange centers, this type of magnolia adds beauty to landscapes, borders, and flower beds. It has a rich lemony fragrance, and it can be cultivated as either a shrub or a tree. It also thrives in both heat and cold, and it blooms in mid-spring, especially when planted in slightly acidic and well-drained soil.
This plant has large flowers that look like water lilies and are pure white with a beautiful pink tinge to them. They bloom in late winter or early spring, and they can get up to twenty feet tall. The winner of several international flower awards, the Centennial loves full sun or partial shade, and looks extraordinary in gardens and as a specimen plant.
Copeland Court (Magnolia sprengeri var. diva)
Also known as Sprenger’s Magnolia, this flower has goblet-shaped petals that are sugar-pink in color and has dark green leaves with a silver-like undertone. The winner of several international flower awards, this magnolia does well in full sun and partial shade, as well as moist but well-drained soil. Mid-summer pruning is highly recommended, and they are compact and symmetrical in shape.
The Daybreak magnolia tree is small and deciduous, and it blooms in mid- to late spring. It can grow up to forty feet tall and has large flowers that start out rose pink in color but get a light green tint when they age. The winner of several international flower awards, this magnolia does best when kept away from cold winds, and it can grow in almost any type of soil.
Diva (Magnolia sprengeri var. diva)
The Diva has saucer-shaped blooms in deep rose pink with centers that are dark pink and spikey. One of the largest types of magnolia trees, this tree grows up to fifty feet in height and loves slightly acidic, moist soil. Best planted when it’s dormant – meaning late fall or winter – they do best when you prune them in mid-summer when in full leaf.
With large, cup-shaped petals in a gorgeous shade of yellow, this magnolia blooms in early- to mid-spring and can get as tall as thirty feet high. The blooms are fragrant and fade to cream as they age, and the leaves are oval, glossy, and dark green in color, although they fade to yellow-gold in the fall before falling off.
Forrest’s Pink (Magnolia denudata)
With an upright habit that gets rounder with age, this tree has petals that are bubble gum-pink with flushes of darker pink at their bases, and they love full sun to partial shade. They resemble lilies when they are in full bloom, and they can take almost any type of soil. Their dramatic spring blooms make them truly stunning.
The Galaxy magnolia has deep purple-red buds and produces petals that are light purple-pink in color and a pale rose pink on the inside. It gets up to forty feet tall and twenty-five feet wide, and its leaves are oval and dark green in color. It prefers full sun or partial shade, and has won several international flower awards. It also makes a great specimen plant.
The Genie is a small, compact tree with petals that start out deep red then turn to light magenta-rose as they age. Growing up to 13 feet high, the tree does best in moist but well-drained soil and full sun or partial shade. Mid-summer pruning is highly recommended, and it is an early bloomer that makes the perfect specimen plant.
With upright, rich yellow petals that look similar to tulips, this magnolia blooms late in the season and is rarely damaged by late frosts. Growing up to thirty feet high, the plant looks great in both cottage and city gardens, and it grows in nearly all types of soil. Mid-summer pruning is recommended, and it prefers a slightly acidic soil that is well-drained.
Like its name implies, this type of magnolia is a creamy ivory color and blooms in late winter or early spring. It is a hybrid magnolia, and it grows upright but then turns to a pyramid shape as it ages. It can grow up to forty feet high and does best in full sun or partial shade. It also looks beautiful in both city and cottage gardens.
Jane Platt (Magnolia stellata)
One of the best pink flowering magnolias available, the Jane Platt has scented pale pink petals and leafless branches by the time it blooms. Growing up to fifteen feet high and twelve feet wide, this magnolia has won several international flower awards and makes a beautiful and eye-catching specimen plant.
Lennei (Magnolia x soulangeana)
The Lennei grows large blooms profusely with flowers that grow up to five inches wide and are deep purple-rose in color. When the flower opens, it reveals a creamy white inside, and it may bloom sporadically throughout the summer. Its dark green leaves are larger than most, reaching up to ten inches in length, and it makes a beautiful specimen plant.
Leonard Messel (Magnolia x loebneri)
With deep pink petals with a white tinge on the inside, these four-inch-wide flowers bloom profusely in early to mid-spring and come with ovate, narrow leaves. Their habit is compact and multi-stemmed, and they grow up to twenty feet high. If the soil is too wet or isn’t drained properly, it may be difficult to grow this tree, but if all conditions are met it is a low-maintenance tree that you’ll be able to enjoy for a very long time.
Lilliputian (Magnolia x soulangeana)
Also called the Chinese Magnolia, this plant is one of the smallest saucer magnolias and has pale pink flowers with delicate pink streaks along the petals and a dark pink base. The petals are very fragrant and look a little like tulips, and the flower has an upright, pyramid-like shape, especially as it ages. The Lilliputian smells citrusy and can reach up to eight feet wide.
Loebner Magnolia (Magnolia x loebneri)
This is a hybrid magnolia that has small blossoms that come in colors such as pink, blush pink, pure white, or lilac-pink. At the end of their blooming season, they can have cone-like fruits that ripen and turn to red. They are a hardy plant but still susceptible to late frosts, and they make great shrub borders.
Merrill (Magnolia x loebneri)
The Merrill is a small deciduous tree and a hybrid magnolia, with oblong-shaped white petals that mimic a star-like shape. Growing up to thirty feet tall and thirty feet wide, this magnolia has won several international flower awards, and since it blooms at a young age, you can enjoy its beauty for many years to come.
This magnolia has large, cup-shaped petals that are reddish-purple at the base, pale pink further up, with white tips. A hybrid magnolia, the Pinkie grows up to fifteen feet high and blooms later than other magnolias, which means it usually escapes most frosts. It is attractive enough to go in city and cottage gardens, and it does best with mid-summer pruning.
Royal Star (Magnolia stellata)
The winner of several international flower awards, this magnolia is large, multi-stemmed, and has pure white petals with tinges of pink that hang down slightly as if reaching for the ground. It grows up to twenty feet tall, and it has medium green leaves that fall off before the blooms appear, making it a truly striking plant.
With masses of upright, bright yellow petals that bloom in early spring, this magnolia makes a perfect focal point for your outdoor area. They prefer soil that is slightly acidic and moist but well-drained, and the blooms appear after the leaves fall off, which means they always appear on bare stems. They grow up to thirty feet tall and twenty feet wide.
With rosy pink flowers that bloom in mid-spring and grow up to eleven inches across, this magnolia has glossy green leaves with tapering tips. It has won several international flower awards, and it makes a great specimen plant, especially since it can grow up to fifteen feet tall. It loves organically rich, moist soil that remains well-drained, and mid-summer pruning is highly recommended.
These magnolias have petals of bright yellow-gold and a base that is blushed with purple-rose colors. The trees grow up to twenty-five feet in height and have leaves that fall off before the flowers bloom. A perfect specimen plant, it does best when planted while it’s dormant, meaning late fall or winter. Be careful for late frosts which might damage the buds.
Growing up to twelve feet high, its goblet-shaped petals grow up to five inches across and are fragrant, reddish-purple in color and have a paler color underneath each petal. The tree has won several international flower awards, and it produces dramatic spring blooms that are truly eye-catching. Because of all these things, the Susan makes a great specimen plant.
Sweet Bay Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana)
Also known as the Swamp Magnolia, it is a graceful, slender flower that is creamy white in color and opens in the morning, only to close up each evening. It can grow up to 35 feet in height, and it eventually grows cone-like fruits with red berries, making it a truly striking plant.
This magnolia starts out upright but gets rounder as it ages. It has rich ruby-red petals that bloom in early to mid-spring, and it is very fragrant. Perfect for small gardens, its petals get redder and redder as it ages, and it can grow up to fifteen feet in height. Its ovate, deep green foliage makes the petals stand out even more, and it is eye-catching when it’s in full bloom.
Wada’s Memory (Magnolia salicifolia)
A type of Anise magnolia, this tree is a hybrid and has willowy white petals with yellow centers. They are very showy and conspicuous, which is why they have won several international flower awards. Aside from being extra careful with them in late frosts, the Wada’s memory is easy to maintain, and it makes a great specimen plant.
Yellow Bird (Magnolia x brooklynensis)
With a shape that is upright and conical to pyramidal, the flowers are lemon yellow in color and are breathtaking when they are in full bloom. They grow up to forty feet tall and have elliptic green leaves that turn to a golden-brown in the fall. They are perfect for specimen plants and in city or cottage gardens.
Yellow River (Magnolia denudata)
This magnolia has sparse, willowy petals that are large and butter yellow in color with a center that is a little darker shade of yellow. It is very fragrant and slow-growing, and the flowers can grow up to six inches in width. The tree itself can grow to fifteen feet in height, and it makes a great specimen plant and addition to cottage or city gardens.