Plant Profiles | Star magnolia (Magnolia stellata)

Plant Info

One of my very favorite ornamental trees, Magnolia stellata, or star magnolia, is just a showstopper in the springtime.  Its strappy white blooms flutter in spring breezes (or sometimes FLAP in Iowa’s bluster!) and are such a welcome sight early in the season.

The tree is native to Japan and handles our central Iowa culture and climate well.  It grows to around 15-20′ tall with a spreading, rounded habit, making it an easy addition to most home landscapes- thatshape is like a neutral in an outfit – it goes along with anything!  Its deep green, leathery foliage is lovely in the summer, but its season to shine is right now- early spring in zones 4-8.

The darling blooms will last as a cut flower just about a day, but they’re worth it.  Up close you can see the hot pink tones on this unknown cultivar at our farm.

With no real pests or disease issues to worry about, you only have to be prepared for the occasional early frost to nip these beautiful buds.  It will happen on occasion throughout the years, but I think this beauty is worth the risk.