Magnolia Caerhays Surprise
This is one of the finest magnolias that have been bred in the last 50 years it’s Magnolia Caerhays surprise and it’s extremely suitable for small gardens because it doesn’t grow into a great big tree. It flowers late in the year usually in early April. The flowers come out a very dark purple and gradually fade off to more of a pink.
Let me just explain a little bit about the history and breeding of this plant. It’s a cross between a tree species called Magnolia grandiflora the flowers in the spring is usually in early March and a bush magnolia called Magnolia liliiflora which flowers much later in the year. Normally in about mid-may.
One year about forty years ago Phillips Organa realized that he had viable pollen and flowers out on both plants which was quite exceptional so he made the cross and grew the consequence seed. Suddenly we’ve got a plant which is a mixture of the two parents part of the plant wants to be a small weeping shrub.
So you’ve got something that’s containable for a small garden. Magnolia which has high popularity for people in growing it in smaller gardens
Royal Star Magnolia
This beautiful small ornamental tree or flowering shrub can reach about 15 to 20 feet in height and about 10 to 15 feet wide of maturity. It does have multiple trunks so it does have a more shrubby appearance.
This magnolia has gorgeous double white blooms in mid to early spring with a touch of pink.
This magnolia prefers moist well-drained soil and protected locations from harsh winter winds. Winter winds and late freezes can harm some of the buds and flowering potential of this plant. So it’s best if possible to plant it in a slightly protected location.
These do work well as foundation plants I would recommend planting them six to ten feet away from the foundation to allow for the root system and adequate growth of the plant.
The contrast of the white blossoms and spring with the dark stems gives the illusion that they are floating from far away and are just absolutely beautiful this is a great ornamental choice for any style of garden.
If you’re planting this in a location that does not have ideal drainage I would recommend planting it two to three inches above grade and mounding the soil up around the base.
The royal star magnolia can take sun or part shade. In sun is going to be a denser shrubbier form. Whereas in part shade it’s going to get leggier and grow a little bit taller.
If you’re looking for a specimen to add ornamental value and bright beautiful impact to your early spring garden I would highly recommend the Magnolia stellata Royal Star.
Magnolia Leonard Messel
This is one of the earliest blooming magnolias and it’s often overlooked. You can see the hints of purple and the flower which is really attractive.
Probably 15 to 20 feet tall plant and fairly wide, probably 12 to 15 feet wide. Not a real fast grower probably 6 to 8 maybe 10 inches a year.
Well-drained soil and full sun are definitely preferable but will tolerate a little bit of light.
The frost knocks the flowers off this a little bit.
It is better than star magnolia, might hold its flowers a little bit better. Fragrant, very subtle fragrance to them.
Again one of the earliest plants to bloom in the spring is Leonard Michelle. It’s actually a cross between Copas and Royal Star and it’s just a really good functional plant in the landscape.
Stellar Ruby Magnolia
I actually have one of these planted in my yard. It is going to be a big seller, this is a new variety. The breeders Pat McCracken who lives in North Carolina.
This is a banana shrub hybrid, it gets pinkish ruby color flowers on it heavily in the spring and then kind of sporadically through the summer and fall.
It’s going to become a pretty big plant 10 to 15 feet in height. So it’s evergreen pretty fast growing going to be a great screening plant or a great plant for the corner of a foundation.
You can keep it much lower than that. You can prune this thing after its spring flowering and in fact, I have pruned it at my house and it reset flower buds again as soon as it puts on new growth. Which is kind of exciting for growers too because they’re going to be able to prune these things and get some additional flowers on them.
This is a great fast-growing evergreen plant it’s hardy in zone seven to nine. So it’s moderately cold hardy, not a tremendous amount of cold tolerance.
It’s disease and pest-resistant, super drought tolerant once it’s established. It’s just kind of a low-maintenance heat-tolerant plant. It’s just not going to cause you really any problems.
It’s also salt tolerant which is going to be important for many of you I know that live in coastal areas.