Magnolia stellata

Star Magnolia

mag-NOL-i-a steh-lat-tah
Pronunciation Audio


Growth Habit

Dense oval to rounded shrub or small tree usually of thick constitution from the close-set leaves and stems.


This species should be protected as much as possible; try to avoid southern exposures since the buds will tend to open fastest in this location; prefers a peaty, organic-based soil, does quite well in heat of South; full sun for best flowering.

Facultative Status
Deep, moist, well drained, acidic soil. Supplement with leaf mold or peat moss.
Landscape Use

Star Magnolia is a dense oval to rounded shrub or small tree usually of thick constitution from the close set leaves and stems. It grows 15-20 feet in height with a spread of 10-15 feet. Bark is smooth gray. The bark is quite handsome on mature trees. Leaves are alternate, obovate to narrow elliptic and 2-4" long. Foliage is dark green in summer and yellow to bronze in the fall. Pure white, fragrant flowers emerge in April. Flowers are generally 3-4" in diameter. Since they open early, they can be susceptible to frost damage. Star magnolias are relatively disease and pest free. They may excellent specimen plants. Quite popular in the trade and often used in foundation plantings.


Dark green in summer. Yellow-bronze in fall.


Buds are densely pubescent, flower buds .33 to .5 inches long; vegetative - smaller, pubescent.


Smooth, gray, handsome on mature plants.


White, fragrant, 3 to 4 inches in diameter, 12 to 18 tepals, each tepal 1.5 to 2 inches long, narrowly oblong or strap-shaped, often wavy, at first spreading, finally reflexed; peak flower mid to late April at Morton Arboretum.


Aggregate of follicles, 2 inches long, twisted, and usually with only a few fertile carpels.


Seed should be stratified for 3 to 6 months in moist media at 32 to 41 degrees Fahrenheit to overcome embryo dormancy.

None serious.

'Centennial' - 28 to 32 white petals, more open flower, and petals are brushed with slight pink tinge on the outside.

'Rosea' - Flower buds pink, fading white at maturity; 12 to 15 petals.

'Rubra' - Flowers are purplish rose, fading to pink, 16 petals, slightly twisted; compact shrub with yellow-green foliage.