'Little Gem' Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora 'Little Gem')

  • This cultivar (man-made variety) of Southern Magnolia has a compact, upright growth habit more typical of a multi-stemmed shrub than a single-trunked tree. It grows at a slow rate to a height of perhaps 30 to 35 feet with an 8 to 12-foot spread, and forms a dense, dark green oval or pyramidal shape, making it suited for screen or hedge planting.
  • The leathery, shiny leaves are shed as new foliage emerges in the spring (which is beginning to happen now on our trees).  The large, slowly-decomposing leaves drop on the sidewalk or patio and are considered by some people to be messy or a nuisance to clean up.
  • In late spring and sporadically throughout the summer, huge, 8-inch-diameter, fragrant, white blossoms open to perfume the entire garden. Fuzzy brown cones follow these blooms, ripening in fall and winter to reveal bright red seeds which are used by a variety of wildlife.
  • If moist, organic soils are available, these trees will thrive in full sun and hot conditions once established. If irrigation cannot be provided periodically, plants located in partial shade for several years after planting seem to grow better. Very drought tolerant when grown in areas with plenty of soil for root expansion. Only moderately drought tolerant in restricted-soil areas or in areas with poor, dry soil. Southern Magnolia prefers acid soil but will tolerate a slightly basic, even wet or clay soil.

Information Source: Magnolia grandiflora 'Little Gem': 'Little Gem' Southern Magnolia

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Photos by Alicia Lamborn