Star magnolia royal star

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.

Black Tulip

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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.


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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.


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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.

Hot Flash

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.

Ivory Chalice

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)

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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.

Solar Flare

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.

Star Wars

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.

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Magnificent Magnolias

SERIES 26 Episode 30

Sophie profiles some of the most stunning spring bloomers

I’m in the Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens in the Adelaide Hills. I just love magnolias and they have a fantastic collection here. Look at all these stunning colours and forms. They really are the aristocrats of flowering trees.

Magnolias are an ancient group of deciduous plants that are native to the northern hemisphere. Most come from eastern Asia as well as north and central America and the West Indies. They evolved long before bees and get pollinated by beetles, which are attracted by their fruity fragrance.

The most widely grown and adaptable magnolias in Australia are the soulangeana hybrids (Hybrid Magnolia – Magnolia x soulangeana cv.). They have these beautiful open goblet shapes and come in a range of colours from pure white through to the deep, dark pinks. If left alone, they form a large multi-stemmed shrub like the one here, however you can train them when they’re young to make more of a single-trunked small tree. They reach about 5 metres high in 20 years and another great thing about them is that they don’t mind alkaline soils.

Another favourite is Magnolia liliiflora ‘Nigra’ (Lily Magnolia). It has these beautiful deep pink flowers, a more upright shape like a champagne flute. Most magnolias flower on bare stems in late winter/spring. The one thing I’ve found with this variety is not only does it flower then, but it gives you some repeat later in spring. It’s best grown as a multi-stemmed shrub and it’s absolutely delightful. They prefer a deep moist soil in a sheltered spot and are happiest in a mild area that doesn’t get early spring frosts.


This is an evergreen called Magnolia doltsopa (Chinese Magnolia – Magnolia doltsopa syn. Michelia doltsopa ). They used to be classified as Michelias , but recently have been grouped together with magnolias. It’s grown because it produces these beautiful creamy-white flowers for many months in winter, however it also has the most incredible sweet, fruity perfume. The scent will actually waft for up to 50 metres – enough to perfume your whole backyard.

This is Magnolia stellata or the Star Magnolia. They have these loose daisy-like flowers and come in white or pink. They’re the earliest of magnolias to flower. They have a delicious sweet peppery scent and they only grow to about two and a half metres – like a large multi-stemmed shrub. Great for any sized backyard.

They’re not overly fussy and can be grown in a range of soil types, but if given the choice, they prefer a deep acidic soil. One look at these flowers and you’ll understand why so many people fall in love with magnolias. They’re big, beautiful and fragrant and make a great addition to any garden.

star magnolia, Magnolia stellata

Scientific Name

Magnolia stellata

Common Name

Star magnolia


Star magnolia is native to Japan. It was introduced into cultivation in 1862.


Not native to Kentucky.


Growth Habit and Form

Star magnolia is an oval to rounded shrub or small tree that will grow15 to 20 feet in height with a spread of 10 to 15 feet. The habit is a very upright conical crown when young; crown spreads some with age.


Leaves are alternate, simple, obovate or elliptical, and 2 ½ to 4 inches with entire margins. Leaves are glabrous and dark green above and light green below.


Fragrant white (or pink) flowers emerge from conspicuously wooly buds in early spring. Flowers are 3 to 4 inches in diameter with 12 to 18 narrow petals, each petal to 2 inches long, strap-shaped and often wavy. Star magnolia flowers at a young age; flowers often bloom early enough to be damaged by frost.


Fruit is a cone-like, twisted, aggregate of follicles, 2 to 2 ½ inches long. Fruit matures in late summer.


Smooth, silvery gray bark is attractive on mature plants and adds winter interest.

Wild and Cultivated Varieties

Many cultivars have been introduced, showing a range of flower shape and colors.

‘Centennial’- flowers are white, blushed with pink, 25 feet.

‘Pink Stardust’-numerous petals, pink, turning lighter as flower opens.

‘Rosea’ flowers pink fading to white.

‘Royal Star’-pink buds open to white flowers, 15-20 feet.

‘Waterlily’- pink buds open to white flowers, later flowering.


Landscape Use

Star magnolia’s modest size makes it one of the best magnolias for small gardens. It is an attractive accent plant.

Hardiness Zone

Hardy in USDA Zone 4 to 8(9).

Growth Rate

Slow, 3 to 6 feet over a 5 to 6 year period.

Cultivation and Propagation Information

Although one of the hardiest magnolias, star magnolia’s early flowers are susceptible to late frosts and it benefits from some shelter. Star magnolia prefers full sun and moist, well-drained slightly acid soil. Star magnolia can be difficult to transplant due to fleshy root system. Propagate by seed and semi-hardwood cuttings.

Diseases and Insects

Magnolia scale

Wildlife Considerations

Magnolia trees provide homes, shelter and food for wildlife.

Maintenance Practices

Star magnolia needs minimal maintenance.


Star magnolia was introduced into cultivation in 1862.

Enjoying Star Magnolia Flowers: Caring For A Star Magnolia Tree

The elegance and beauty of the star magnolia are a welcome sign of spring. The intricate and colorful star magnolia flowers appear weeks ahead of other spring flowering shrubs and plants, making this tree a popular choice as a focal tree for early spring color.

What is a Star Magnolia?

The star magnolia (Magnolia stellata) is known as a small tree or large shrub that is native to Japan. The habit is oval with low branches and very close-set stems. There are many cultivars available such as Centennial, which grows to 25 feet and has white flowers with a pink tinge; Rosea, which has pink flowers that fade to white; or Royal Star, which reaches a mature height of 20 feet and has pink buds with white flowers. All cultivars are equally adored not only for their lovely shape, alluring flowers but also their fragrance.

Growing Star Magnolia Trees

Star magnolia trees thrive in the USDA planting zones 5 through 8. They do best in slightly acidic soil, so it is always a good idea to get a soil sample before planting.

Choose a sunny location, or partly sunny spot in hot areas, with soil that drains well for best results. Although the tree does well in a small space, allow plenty of room for it to spread. It does best when not crowded.

As with other types of magnolia trees, the best way to plant this flowering beauty is to purchase a young and healthy tree that is in a container, balled or burlapped. Check that the tree is robust and has no damage.

The planting hole should be at least three times the width of the root ball or container and just as deep. When placed in the hole, the root ball should be even with the ground. Be sure that the tree is straight before replacing half of the soil that you took from the hole. Fill the hole with water and allow the root ball to absorb the moisture. Backfill the hole with the remaining soil.

Star Magnolia Care

Once planted, caring for a star magnolia tree is not overly difficult. Adding a 3-inch top dress layer of mulch will help retain moisture and keep weeds away.

A couple of inches of compost in late winter will encourage prolific blooms. Water during times of drought and prune dead or damaged branches when needed but only after the tree has flowered.

Star magnolia

Tree & Plant Care

Grows best in full sun, well-drained, organic rich moist soil.
Shallow roots benefit with a layer of mulch to moderate soil temperature and conserve moisture.
Avoid extremely windy sites.
Minimal pruning required.

Disease, pests, and problems

Chlorosis in high pH soils, magnolia scale, early frost damage, powdery mildew.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to Japan.

Bark color and texture

Young plants have a smooth, shiny chestnut brown bark turning a silvery gray with age.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Alternate, 2 to 4 inch long, elliptic leaves.
Star magnolias leaves are dense and smaller than other magnolias.
New leaves emerge with a bronze cast turning to a medium green and yellow-brown fall color.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Very showy, fragrant white flower with a pink tinge.
Solitary, each flower has 12 to 18 petals (tepals) and is 3 to 4 inches across.
Flowers before leaves emerge.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Mature 2 inch fruit is a knobby cluster (aggregate) that opens to reveal reddish-orange seeds.

Cultivars and their differences

Centennial star magnolia (Magnolia stellata ‘Centennial’): Small-size, upright, pyramidal tree; has numerous, large white flowers with pink tinge.

Rosea star magnolia (Magnolia stellata ‘Rosea’): This cultivar has an oval to round shape with a dense, bushy habit. Pink buds open to fragrant, light pink, star-like flowers. This plant flowers in late April, a little later than the species.

Royal Star star magnolia (Magnolia stellata ‘Royal Star’): oval to round shape; flowers later than species; star-shaped fragrant, white flowers.

Magnolia kobus var. stellata ‘Centennial’ ‘Centennial’ Star Magnolia1

Edward F. Gilman2


Star magnolia is one of the hardiest of the magnolias (Fig. 1). It is a small tree or large shrub, 15 feet tall with a 10- to 15-foot spread. Typically branching close to the ground, the multi-stemmed form develops with a dense head of foliage. Star magnolia makes a wonderful patio, lawn specimen, or accent tree. Lower foliage can be removed to show off the trunk and to create more of a tree form. Otherwise, the persistent lower branches and oval to round form lend a “large bush” look to the plant. When planted against a dark background, the branching pattern and light gray trunk will show off nicely, particularly when lighted at night. The leafless winter silhouette looks great shadowed on a wall by a spotlight at night. The white flowers have a slight touch of pink coloration, and are produced in spring before the leaves appear, even on young plants. They are extremely fragrant, unsurpassed by most, if not all other star magnolias. Flowers are usually not as sensitive to cold as saucer magnolia, but they can still be injured if cold weather arrives during flowering.

Figure 1.

‘Centennial’ star magnolia

General Information

Scientific name: Magnolia kobus var. stellata ‘Centennial’ Pronunciation: mag-NO-lee-ah KOE-bus variety stell-AY-tuh Common name(s): ‘Centennial’ star magnolia Family: Magnoliaceae Plant type: shrub USDA hardiness zones: 5 through 8 (Fig. 2) Planting month for zone 8: year round Origin: not native to North America Uses: near a deck or patio

Availability: somewhat available, may have to go out of the region to find the plant

Figure 2.

Shaded area represents potential planting range.


Height: 12 to 20 feet Spread: 12 to 18 feet Plant habit: round Plant density: symmetrical habit with a regular (or smooth) outline and individuals having more or less identical forms Growth rate: slow Texture: medium


Leaf arrangement: alternate Leaf type: simple Leaf margin: entire Leaf shape: obovate Leaf venation: pinnate Leaf type and persistence: deciduous Leaf blade length: 2 to 4 inches Leaf color: green Fall color: yellow

Fall characteristic: not showy


Flower color: white; pink Flower characteristic: spring flowering Figure 3.

Flower of ‘Centennial’ star magnolia


Fruit shape: irregular Fruit length: 1 to 3 inches Fruit cover: dry or hard Fruit color: brown Fruit characteristic: inconspicuous and not showy

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: not particularly showy; no thorns; typically multi-trunked or clumping stems Current year stem/twig color: brown Current year stem/twig thickness: medium


Light requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sun Soil tolerances: clay; sand; loam; acidic; slightly alkaline Drought tolerance: moderate Soil salt tolerances: poor Plant spacing: 36 to 60 inches


Roots: usually not a problem Winter interest: plant has winter interest due to unusual form, nice persistent fruits, showy winter trunk, or winter flowers Outstanding plant: not particularly outstanding Invasive potential: not known to be invasive Pest resistance: long-term health usually not affected by pests

Use and Management

Star magnolia is intolerant of root competition or dryness, and plants grow slowly, perhaps one foot per year. Plant in the full sun in a rich, porous and slightly acidic soil. It is reportedly hard to transplant successfully and in the north should be moved balled and burlapped when actively growing. In USDA hardiness zones 7 and 8, transplant in late winter while the plants are still dormant, transplant after the growth flush in the spring, or plant from containers at any time.

Pests and Diseases

Basically trouble free although scales of various types may infest twigs and leaves. Magnolia scale is the most common scale and can be one half inch across. Overwintering scales can usually be controlled with horticultural oil.

Tulip poplar weevil (sassafras weevil) feeds as a leaf miner when young and chews holes in the leaves as an adult.

None particularly troublesome. Magnolia may be subject to leaf spots, blights, scabs, and black mildews caused by a large number of fungi or bacteria. Leaf spots rarely require chemical controls. Rake up and dispose of infected leaves.

Canker diseases will kill branches. Cankers on branches can be pruned out. Keep trees healthy with regular fertilization and by watering in dry weather.

Verticillium wilt may cause death of a few branches or may kill the tree. Prune out dead branches and fertilize regularly.


This document is FPS-359, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at

Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county’s UF/IFAS Extension office.
U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.

Outstanding Qualities

During the early days of spring, star magnolias are among the first ornamentals to burst into bloom. The bare branches of ‘Waterlily’ are crowded with white starbursts that open from pink buds. Each flower has double the number of supple, strap-shaped petals (more correctly called tepals) than does the wild type. Flowers perfume the air with a delicate, but substantial, fragrance. ‘Waterlily’ blooms one to two weeks later than typical star magnolias, giving it the advantage of missing some of the late frosts. It grows into a large, rounded shrub or can be trained into a small tree with careful pruning. Star magnolias get golden fall color and have an attractive, somewhat twiggy branching structure of soft, grey branches. Suitable companions include winter heaths and spring-blooming bulbs. Be careful when gardening under magnolias as their roots are fleshy and easily damaged. Three different clones of star magnolia are grown under this name, but the most widely available originated from Norfolk, Virginia.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: pyramidal tree

Foliage Type: deciduous

Plant Height: 12 ft. 0 in. (3.66 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 10 ft. 0 in. (3.05 meters)

Plant Height-Mature: 20 ft. 0 in. (6.10 meters)

Plant Width-Mature: 18 ft. 0 in. (5.49 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 to 9

Flower Color: white

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun to light or open shade

Water Requirements: regular watering for best flowering

Wildlife Associations: birds

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: gold, silver, white, variegated

Great Color Partners: dark green, chartreuse, blue

Magnolia stellata

Leaves: Deciduous. Leaves are 2-4” long, ½ as wide, oval shaped and pointed. Leaves are broadest towards the tip and rounded except for the point which sticks out abruptly. Medium to dark green color. Fall color is often a yellow-brown.

Bark/Twigs: Smooth gray bark. Distinctive large hairy buds.

Flowers/Fruit: Showy white flowers are 3-4” across with multiple (at least 12), narrow, long delicate petals. Blooms in early spring (March-April) before the leaves emerge.

Mature size and shape: Small. 15’h. Low-branching with an overall oval or rounded shape. Often grown as a multi-stemmed, small tree or large shrub.

General information/special features: Plant in full sun or partial light shade. Moist, rich, slightly acidic soil preferred but is one of the few magnolias that will tolerate higher pH soils. Because they bloom so early, they are vulnerable to damage by late spring frosts.

Landscape use and Maintenance: Good specimen tree as a focal point. Slow growing rate. Average maintenance. Magnolias have fleshy roots, so be careful when transplanting. Prune after flowering.

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-9

Family/Origin: Magnoliaceae – Magnolia. Originally from the highlands of the Japanese island of Honshu, it is sometimes considered a variety of Magnolia kobus. The White Star Magnolia was originally brought to the U.S. from Japan around 1860.

Campus use: Extremely uncommon. Can be found south of the Union Building (Bld 53).

Royal Star Magnolia Tree

A Dramatic Display of Irresistibly Fragrant Snowy White Flowers

The Royal Star Magnolia is one of the most impressive and striking Magnolia trees. It comes to life in spring with huge, 4-inch double blossom flowers whose unique beauty is hard to put into words. Unlike any flower you’ve ever seen, these star-shaped beauties are such prolific bloomers they nearly cover the tree completely.

And when they do, it’s hard to look away! Given the name “Royal” for a reason, there’s something undeniably elegant about this tree.

The familiar Magnolia fragrance is strong and irresistible too. And with plenty of other benefits, it’s truly a must-have tree:

  • Late Blooming: Freeze is a concern for most Magnolia growers, but thankfully the Royal Star blooms after the threat of freeze has passed.

  • Adaptable as a shrub: Some Magnolias are huge, but as they grow only to 10-20 feet, you can easily train the Royal Star to be a large shrub.
  • Low-maintenance: Thankfully, you don’t have to do a lot of work to cultivate these elegant blooms in your garden.

Imagine all the ways you can add the pristine splendor of the Royal Star to your yard: Plant several in a row and line your driveway to create a jaw-dropping, royal entrance, or start the cottage garden you’ve always dreamed of. This beautiful specimen tree is surrounded by bright colored, small flowers for an absolutely stunning look. However you choose to plant it, the Royal Star will wow.

This unique and irresistible tree won’t stay in stock for long, so order yours today!

Planting & Care

Plant your Royal Star Magnolia in a spot that receives full sun or partial shade. Plant as a living hedge, a specimen, or line your drive or entryway. Plant in a hole twice as wide but just as deep as the root ball. Cover the ground with a thick layer of mulch to prevent weed growth and retain moisture. Water deeply after planting.

Watering: Water deeply 2-3 times each week for the first 3 months. Afterwards, maintain a consistent watering schedule when there is a drought (less than 1-2 inches of water each week). Magnolias do not like overly damp or overly dry conditions.

Fertilizing: If desired, add a slow-release fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season.

Pest Control: If you see any pests, use a stream of water to remove them.

Pruning: There is no need to prune, but you can trim as a hedge or to reduce growth and maintain as a shrub.

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Royal Star Magnolia

For discerning gardeners who want to stand out a bit from the pack, Royal Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata ‘Royal Star’) offers a special charm unlike any other. The unique flowers draw the eye of everyone who sees them.

Forgive us for waxing poetic, but these blooms look like a starburst of pristine white ribbons surrounding a tiny glowing sun. Each 4-inch long double bloom is comprised of 25 – 30 long, strappy petals surrounding a pale yellow center.

They’ll liberally cover the tree on branches bare of leaves – a display that is sure to be the envy of your neighborhood!

With larger, star-shaped flowers, this prize-winning cultivar is particularly sought after. They also bloom a bit later than others, which helps it resist frost damage in cold winter Zones 4 – 6.

Royal Star Magnolia is known for its attractive form and large oblong leaves. This ornamental, deciduous tree creates an outstanding specimen in your yard.

Use Royal Star Magnolia as either a small tree or large shrub. It becomes a wonderful focal point for your Spring Garden.

It is clear to see why the Royal Star Magnolia is such a popular Magnolia cultivar. Larger and later blooms, in addition to all the other stellar qualities of a Magnolia, make this a must-have for any landscape. Order today!

How to Use Royal Star Magnolia in the Landscape

Royal Star is a superb small tree for many landscape applications. It is a perfect specimen tree to anchor a foundation planting. Place it at least 10 feet from your house, so you can easily access the exterior, even when the tree is mature.

Angle it out from the corner to accent your home’s architecture or use closer to the picture window to provide a bit of screening. That’s especially true if you have a picture window to study the early spring flower show from inside your snug and warm home.

Use 3 or 5 trees in a berm or lawn planting. Plant them in a loose zig-zag and vary the spacing – from 10 – 25 feet apart – to create a wonderful, natural woodland look. If you want each tree to shine as an individual, give them at least 20 feet between their neighbor.

This plant is also great on the edge of a woodland garden. It looks fantastic when planted next to a pond or waterway.

Royal Star is extremely versatile. Lower branches can be pruned up into a high canopy, single trunk tree, or grow it as a pretty and effective privacy screen.

Keep it unpruned to use as a low-maintenance, large shrub. Plant them 8 feet apart (measuring from the center of one to the center of the next.) Allow them to fill in naturally to create a marvelous freeform “friendly fence” hedge along your property line. It will wow your neighbors every spring!

Another way to use this special kind of hedge is within your own landscape. Create a secret garden room with walls made out of Royal Star Magnolia. Give yourself a little space of your own to get lost in. People are loving Meditation Gardens, outdoor Yoga studios, or just a comfy place to cozy up with a good book and a small pitcher of your favorite adult beverage.

#ProPlantTips for Care

The Royal Star Magnolia grows in either full sun or part shade. It requires well-drained soil. If you see puddles that remain after a rain in the area you want to plant it, just “mound up”. Add additional soil in a mounded heap 18 – 24 inches above your soil. You’ll plant directly into the mound.

It loves organically rich, well-drained soil. In warm, dry climates, you’ll ideally want to check your soil pH and amend as needed to reach between 6 – 7. In areas with higher pH, plant where it will receive morning sun and give protection from the hot afternoon sun. Fertilize yearly with Dr. Earth Acid Lovers Premium Fertilizer to help maintain proper pH.

Give it a nice layer of mulch 3 to 4 inches deep and spread it to 3 feet outside of the canopy of the tree. Please don’t let the mulch touch the trunk.

The Royal Star Magnolia has no serious disease or pest problems and requires little pruning to get its great structure. It’s amenable to any pruning you choose to provide.

Water carefully at the start. You don’t want to overwater, but you shouldn’t let it dry out. The best way to see if your new plant needs water is by poking your finger in the ground. If it’s getting dry, give it a nice long drink. If it’s moist, no need to add any more water.

Even after they are established in your soil, baby it a bit. Magnolias love the warm weather but need a drink when it starts to get dry, especially in hot climates.

You’ll be happy to provide that tender loving care to this wonderful tree. Order today and get started with your new love affair!

Magnolia Tree – Royal Star – Potted Plant – 3 Pack

All orders to California will be shipped bare root in accordance with state regulations.

Considered pest free, the Royal Star Magnolia is a low maintenance shrub that likes fairly moist soil in full sun or partial shade.

Royal Star is a popular variety with slightly larger and showier blooms than other magnolia. Blooms are fragrant, star shaped with 15-30 narrow white petals, typical bloom is about 3”-4” wide. This cultivar blooms about 2 weeks later than other Magnolia varieties.

It is more often grown as an open-branched, multi-trunked large shrub or small tree.


  • You are purchasing a Royal Star Magnolia – 3.5″ Pot – 3 pack
  • Note: Images are of mature plants
  • Family: Magnolia stellata ‘Royal Star’
  • Mature Size: 15’-20’ tall with a spreading, rounded crown
  • Soil: Moist, organically-rich, well-drained loam
  • Hardiness Zone: 4-9
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun/Part Shade
  • Characteristics: Deciduous tree/shrub
  • Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Bloom: Spring, fragrant, white, showy flowers
  • Suggested Uses: Specimen, urban garden, woodland garden

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