Magnolias For Small Gardens: 20 Options To Choose From


Compact plants are becoming more and more popular among gardeners every year. And this is no accident because the smaller the garden and the plants in it, the less effort it takes to maintain them.

This trend has not passed over magnolias. Magnolias are generally quite large plants but thanks to the hard work of plant breeders there are many compact and beautiful varieties. That is what we will talk about today.

Magnolia Ann

magnolias-for-small-gardens-ann Ann is one of the best magnolias for a compact garden. It has large, bright purple-pink flowers. This tree usually does not reach more than 10-12 ft (3-3.5 m) high and 8-10 ft (2.4-3 m) wide. Which means it can be grown in a relatively small yard.

It is tolerant to a wide range of soils. Grows best in neutral or slightly acidic soil. Does not need pruning.

Ann is hardy and is recommended for cultivation in 3-8 USDA hardiness zones. So it can be grown in almost all areas of the U.S.

Disadvantages include the risk of late frost damage in northern states. Also compared to other magnolias Ann is less fragrant. And lastly, it very rarely reblooms while other magnolias do so more often.

Pros Cons
Big purple flowers Can be damaged by late frosts
Big leaves No reblooming
Compact size Low scent

Magnolia Genie

magnolias-for-small-gardens-genie This variety is also suitable for growing in small gardens because it averages 10 feet tall and 2 feet wide. The flowers are one and a half times the size of Ann magnolia. The number of petals is 10, which makes the flowers delightful.

The color is very rich and bright. It is one of the best magnolias in terms of flower color. Very often it blooms again in the second half of summer.

Of the disadvantages, it is worth mentioning the medium frost tolerance. This variety is recommended for cultivation no further north than the 5 USDA hardiness zone. But it does have a better tolerance to heat and can be grown in zone 9.

Also with strong winds and rain, flowers can lose their shape.

Pros Cons
Large flowers Medium frost tolerance
Reblooming Flowers can lose shape
Great heat tolerance

Magnolia Susan

magnolias-for-small-gardens-susanSusan is another compact magnolia. It reaches no more than 11 feet high and the same width. It blooms with large flowers up to 5 inches wide. It has a very interesting contrast – the middle of the flower is light pink and the outside of the petals are bright pink-purple.

Often blooms a second time in the summer, though not as many flowers as in the spring. It belongs to the late-blooming magnolias, so it is rarely damaged by spring frosts.

In the northern USA Susan should be planted in a place sheltered from cold winds. Can sometimes be attacked by insects.

The leaves are beautiful and add to the value of this variety.

Pros Cons
Slow growth rate Pests
Two-color flowers USDA hardiness zone 3 needs to be planted in a location protected from cold winds.
Reblooming

Magnolia sieboldii Colossus

magnolias-for-small-gardens-colossusMagnolia Colossus is a very ornamental variety with wonderful white flowers 6 inches wide. One of the main advantages is the long flowering period, from late spring to the second half of summer.

The compact size allows this magnolia to be grown in a small yard. It will not be more than 7 feet tall and a little less wide after 10 years. You will not have to prune it every year. Also tolerant of a wide range of soils and other growing conditions.

It is recommended to grow from 6 to 9 USDA hardiness zones. This is a disadvantage as it is not available to gardeners in zones 4-5.

Pros Cons
Long blooming period Low frost tolerance
Big leaves No reblooming
Strong fragrance

Magnolia Black Tulip

magnolias-for-small-gardens-black-tulipBlack Tulip is not as compact as previous magnolias. The adult plant is 20 feet tall, which is a lot for a small garden, but it is feasible to grow it in a small area. It can reach up to 10 feet wide.

This magnolia has very large (over 6 inches across) flowers. The color of the petals is very rich and vibrant, ranging from pink-purple to burgundy. There are many flowers and the tree often blooms repeatedly in August.

The only downside is the size. But it is easy to keep it compact with annual pruning. Although it requires more care, its appearance during flowering is worth it.

Pros Cons
Fast growth rate Needs pruning
Big flowers Size
Reblooming

Magnolia Pinkie

magnolias-for-small-gardens-pinkieMagnolia Pinkie is a real find for fans of flowering trees. Firstly because it has a very modest size. After 10 years of growing, it will not be more than 10 feet tall and 8 feet wide.

Secondly, it is probably the record holder among magnolias for flower size. Its flower can reach eight inches in diameter! The inside of the petals is white while the outside is light pink. This two-tone coloring is very delightful.

Magnolia Pinkie is an early bloomer (April-May) so there is a risk of late frost damage. But generally hardy and can be grown almost anywhere in the U.S.

It grows well in full sun as well as in partial shade. Does not require annual pruning.

Pros Cons
Big flowers Can be damaged by late frosts
Many flowers No reblooming
Compact size

Magnolia grandiflora Little Gem

magnolias-for-small-gardens-little-gemLittle Gem Dwarf Southern Magnolia is an extremely popular variety. The main advantage is snow-white flowers with wide petals reminding something of gardenia. It also has dark-green waxy leaves against which the white flowers look fabulous.

An undoubted advantage is that this magnolia does not shed its leaves in winter and you can enjoy them in winter.

The size of Little Gem is not small, it is 20 feet high and 10 feet wide. And yet many gardeners keep it in small areas. This is achieved with regular shortening.

The second disadvantage is its low hardiness. It is recommended to grow in USDA zones 7-9. This means that it is not available to nearly half of U.S. horticulturalists.

Pros Cons
Big white flowers Poor frost tolerance
Big dark glossy leaves Size
Evergreen

Magnolia Vulcan

magnolias-for-small-gardens-vulcan Magnolia Vulcan is a fantastic variety with huge flowers. Each flower can be up to 12 inches in size! It is a crime not to have such a magnolia in your garden! The color of the petals is red with shades of pink or crimson. The color will get richer and darker over time.

A height of 15 feet and a width of 10 make this magnolia perfect for our purpose (small gardens). As it ages, its shape becomes oval and looks very pretty without pruning.

Like most plants, this variety can be damaged by spring frosts.

Also, after flowering, the entire surface around it will be covered with many fallen petals. This is not much of a drawback compared to other magnolias.

Pros Cons
Huge flowers Can be damaged by late frosts
Heat tolerance Messy
Compact size

Magnolia loebneri Encore

magnolias-for-small-gardens-encoreMagnolia Encore is a unique magnolia 15 feet tall and as wide. It grows in a large oval-shaped bush. During flowering, the entire plant is covered in white flowers and looks like a cloud because there are no green leaves at this time (early spring).

It blooms very abundantly. Flowers are white with a yellow center. The petals are long and their number is more than 20. The flowers are gathered in small clusters which looks mesmerizing.

It blooms very early and can get frostbite as a result. But it usually recovers fairly quickly.

Good heat and cold tolerance make it possible to grow it in most states.

Pros Cons
Big white-purple flowers Can be damaged by late frosts
Many petals No reblooming
Small size

Magnolia Leonard Messel

magnolias-for-small-leonard-messel Magnolia Leonard Messel is somewhat similar to the previous variety as it has the same long petals. The difference is the smaller number of petals (11-13). The petals are also bi-colored – pink and white.

After many years of cultivation, this magnolia will be up to 20 feet tall and 15 feet wide. With regular pruning, the size can be much smaller.

It tolerates a variety of soils well. Also grows well in semi-shade and full sun. Recommended for growing in 4 to 9 USDA hardiness zones.

This variety blooms mid-spring as a result of frost can cause damage. But the excellent frost tolerance makes it easy for the plant to repair the loss.

Pros Cons
Long-petals flowers Can be damaged by late frosts
Bi-color Needs pruning
Excellent hardiness

Magnolia soulangeana Lennei

magnolias-for-small-lennei Saucer Magnolia Lennei has medium-sized flowers 4 inches wide. The color of the outer side of the petals is pink and the inner side is creamy white. The result is a bicolor effect just like the previous magnolia.

Medium hardiness allows this variety to be grown in only a part of the U.S. (zones 6-9). Besides, it is at risk of being damaged by low temperatures due to its early flowering.

Unfortunately, Lennei is not a dwarf magnolia, but rather a semi-dwarf. At maturity, it reaches a height of 20 feet. But that doesn’t stop you from growing it in a small area, as pruning can easily fix it.

Pros Cons
Bi-color flowers Medium hardiness
Big leaves Needs pruning
Reblooming

Magnolia soulangeana Lilliputian

magnolias-for-small-gardens-liliputian Lilliputian is one of the smallest among the Saucer magnolias. It is ten feet high and eight feet wide. Over time, its shape resembles an elongated sphere. It grows slowly so it is ideal for small gardens.

Another strong point of this variety is the flowers. The tips of the petals are white but from the base to the center they have pink veins. As a result, the flowers have a unique pattern and bicolor effect.

Besides, the smell coming from the flowers is very strong. It is one of the most aromatic magnolias.

Since Lilliputian blooms very early there is a risk that flowers can be damaged by frosty weather which often occurs in spring.

Pros Cons
Small size Can be damaged by late frosts
Good heat tolerance No reblooming
Good frost tolerance

Magnolia liliiflora Nigra

magnolias-for-small-gardens-nigra Black Lily Magnolia has many advantages. The first is its dwarf size. It usually does not exceed 12 feet in height. At the same time, it can be 8-12 feet wide, which means the plant can be shaped like an oval or a large sphere.

The second advantage is the flowers, the petals can reach 6 inches in length. The color is reddish pink. Depending on growing conditions and the age of the plant the color may be more saturated.

The only disadvantage is the poor fragrance of the flowers. This magnolia has a good scent, but compared to other varieties it is weaker.

Another advantage is its excellent frost resistance (5-9 zones). Also, late-flowering allows it to avoid spring frost damage.

Pros Cons
Big red flowers Low scent
Reblooming
Compact size

Magnolia stellata Centennial

magnolias-for-small-centennial Star Magnolia Centennial is not too little, but quite suitable for growing in a small garden. It reaches 20 feet in height by 10 years of age. At the same time, it is 15 feet wide.

Flowers are white but can sometimes turn light pink. The petals are long and narrow, with rounded or slightly pointed tips. The number of petals exceeds 20, so the flower looks very lush. Its scent is slightly weaker than other magnolias.

It is not recommended to plant this magnolia in alkaline soil. It also needs to be protected from cold northern winds. But at the same time, it can be grown in the 4 USDA hardiness zone.

Pros Cons
Good hardiness Low tolerance to alkaline soil
Slow growth rate Low tolerance to frosty wind
Many petals

Magnolia Jane Platt

magnolias-for-small-jane-plat Magnolia Jane Platt is a beautiful variety whose main advantage is very fluffy flowers. Flower size averages 5 inches. The number of petals more than 30! They are long and make the flowers look like cheerleader pom-poms. The color is light pink.

The second advantage is the compact size. The plant is 15 feet tall and 10 feet wide. It does not need pruning. Tolerates most types of soil.

Jane Platt blooms in the first half of spring before the leaves unfold. As a result, she is at risk of frostbite like all early flowering plants. But the damage is never critical.

Pros Cons
Many petals Can be damaged by late frosts
Big leaves No reblooming
Compact size

Magnolia Royal Star

magnolias-for-small-royal-star

Royal Star Magnolia has one great advantage – it is very common throughout the country. With its snowy white, delicate flowers, it is more often chosen for the yard than other varieties.

The advantage of the flowers is that they have a large number of petals and look very lush (just like the previous variety). The second advantage is that the flowers are very fragrant, which not all magnolias can boast.

The Royal Star Magnolia is 20 feet tall and 10-15 feet wide. It is a semi-dwarf variety and with annual pruning, it can even be placed in a small area.

It is also an early bloomer and can be damaged by late frosts.

Pros Cons
Big white flowers Can be damaged by late frosts
Many petals No reblooming
Very hardy

Magnolia Petit Chicon

magnolias-for-small-petit-chicon Magnolia Petit Chicon is a compact magnolia that is usually no more than 10 feet tall and 8 feet wide. It grows slowly and therefore does not need pruning. It is an ideal candidate for a small garden.

Flowers of medium size. Several petals 6-8 but their form is spoon-shaped, which looks very original. Besides in the center of the flower is a very noticeable stem with pistils and stamens green-yellow, which also gives an additional decorative effect.

The disadvantage is the low hardiness. It is not recommended to grow north of zone 6.

It grows well in different types of soils. The best place for planting is in the semi-shade.

Pros Cons
Big white flowers Low hardiness
Big leaves Hard to find
Compact size

King Rose Star Magnolia

magnolias-for-small-king-rose Another star magnolia is a very small size. It is usually no more than 6 feet tall and 6 feet wide. It is a small plant that can sometimes have a width greater than its height. This variety does not need pruning and can grow even in very small locations.

The flowers are medium-sized (4 inches). The number of petals is larger than average. Like all magnolias of this species, its petals are long and narrow. The color is white but sometimes the outside can be pink.

High hardiness allows this variety to be cultivated all over the country. Unfortunately, it is not common in gardens in the USA.

Pros Cons
Big white flowers Can be damaged by insects
Big leaves No reblooming
Compact size

Magnolia Satisfaction

magnolias-for-small-gardens-statisfaction Magnolia Satisfaction is one of those magnolias that are still ahead of the curve. It is a relatively new variety, but due to its merits, it becomes more popular every year.

It is less than 10 feet tall and a little less wide. The flowers are creamy-white inside and pink outside. The veins on the petals are clearly visible as they are brighter pink. The petals are wide and oval but not numerous.

It tolerates low temperatures well. Magnolia Satisfaction can be grown from zones 5 and through 9.

Pros Cons
Big flowers Can be damaged by late frosts
Bicolor Rare reblooming
Compact size

Magnolia Gail’s Favourite

magnolias-for-small-gardens-gails-favourite

Magnolia Gail’s Favourite is a small plant in every sense. First, it is no more than 8 feet tall and 6 or a little wider after 10 years of cultivation.

The second is the small white-yellow flowers. Relative to other magnolias, the flowers really aren’t big. But they are ball-shaped and very pretty to look at.

The third is the leaves. They too are small and round and resemble mouse ears. Their color is dark green and the surface is glossy, as a result, they look very attractive.

A small disadvantage of this magnolia is its medium tolerance to low temperatures.

Pros Cons
White flowers Medium hardiness
Glossy leaves No reblooming
Compact size

Igor Viznyy

Hi friends, I have been growing plants for many years and love doing it. You can find more information on the page About Author.

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