MAGNOLIA continued
last updated 30/10/2014

Magnolia stellata

I have developed a keen interest in the Star Magnolia of late, inspired by its potentially greater tolerance of difficult sites (remember our heavy wet alkaline clay in a frost pocket!) than many of the larger flowered cultivars.

Typified by narrower strap-like petals in shades of pink and white, these more shrubby growers are happiest in a sunny site, though they are more shade tolerant than many and can therefore be supremely effective in open woodland glades. Interestingly, the exact colour will be determined by temperature, with deeper pinks being displayed in a mild spring.

M. stellata cultivars have wonderful potential in the garden: as specimens in a small garden, in the border or even in a large pot. Typical growth rates are 30cm per year for the first 5 years, slowing subsequently. As with all magnolias, they like a moisture retentive soil, so a surface mulch after planting will be invaluable.

We are developing an extensive range of these, as well as their allied cousins (selections of M. x loebneri). Additional selections will become available, initially in small number, over the next few years. Watch the website for details.

MAGNOLIA stellata 'Alixeed'
The highly scented flowers of this chance seedling are light pink in color, and the petals do not flop but are held upright. It generally develops a tree-like form, growing with a single leader, and can reach 5m in 12 years.

MAGNOLIA stellata 'Centennial'
Raised at the Arnold Arboretum, Massachusetts it was named in 1972 to celebrate their centennial year. The impressive, larger white flowers have up to 33 petals.

NEW MAGNOLIA stellata 'Chrysanthemiflora'
This wonderful seedling from M. stellata 'Rubra' was selected in Japan. Each flower has over 40 clear pink tepals.

MAGNOLIA stellata 'Dawn'
Each flower can potentially have more than 50 pale pink petals.

MAGNOLIA stellata 'Dr Massey'

NEW MAGNOLIA stellata 'Jane Platt'
This garden selection from Oregon produces gorgeous flowers which are dark pink in bud, maturing to a pink-blushed white. The floral display is enhanced by the fact that the flowers have 20-30 petals. 

MAGNOLIA stellata 'Keiskei'

MAGNOLIA stellata 'Kikuzaki'
The small light pink flowers boast up to 30 petals and are produced abundantly, even on very young plants.

MAGNOLIA stellata 'King Rose'
The pretty flowers are white flushed pink.

NEW MAGNOLIA stellata 'Rosea'
Typically having 8-12 petals, the flowers are therefore more airy, giving a more delicate effect. Pink in bud, they fade to white. 

MAGNOLIA stellata 'Royal Star'
A 1960 seedling from 'Waterlily' the silver-pink buds open to pure white. But since it is 2 weeks later than most stellata clones, it often escapes the frost.

MAGNOLIA stellata 'Shi banchi Rosea'
This is an invalid name - though it is the name it was introduced under. No doubt in the fullness of time someone will allocate it a new one! It resembles 'Chrysanthemiflora', but the double pink flowers are darker. 

MAGNOLIA stellata 'Scented Silver
This delightful American selection was raised in 1973, but not distributed until 1990, so is still very scarce. A seedling of M. stellata ‘Green Star’, the flowers are completely white, with an exquisite citric fragrance. Characteristically compact in growth with small leaves, eventually forming a tidy small tree taller than it is wide.

MAGNOLIA stellata 'Water Lily'
Unfortunately there is an element of confusion surrounding this one. The typical American clone ('Waterlily') has pink flowers whilst that prevalent in Europe ('Water Lily') has white. This is the latter. Perhaps the most vigorous cultivar, the petals have great substance, making this a robust but beautiful choice.

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