Magnolia × loebneri 'Ballerina'
Common Name: magnolia
Type: Tree
Family: Magnoliaceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 15.00 to 20.00 feet
Spread: 15.00 to 20.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: White with pink blush
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy, Fragrant, Good Cut

Culture

Best grown in moist, organically rich, well-drained loams in full sun to part shade. Generally intolerant of soil extremes (dry or wet). Intolerant of most urban pollutants. May take 3-4 years before first blooms appear. Best sited in a protected location, because early spring frosts can damage flowers.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Loebner magnolia is a deciduous hybrid magnolia (M. kobus x M. stellata). It is a small tree typically growing to 20-30’ tall with a rounded crown. It is more often grown in a multi-trunked form that as a single trunk tree. Fragrant star-like white flowers (4-6” wide) with 10-15 petals appear in early spring before the foliage (March – April in St. Louis). Flowers give way to cone-like fruits that ripen to red in late summer, releasing individual red coated seeds suspended on slender threads at maturity. Fruits are sometimes absent on this hybrid. Obovate, medium green leaves (to 5” long).

Genus name honors Pierre Magnol, French botanist (1638-1715).

Specific epithet honors Max Loebner, a German horticulturist, who made the first cross of this hybrid in the early 1900s.

A number of hybrid cultivars are now available in commerce featuring flowers that are white, blush-pink, lilac pink or pink.

‘Ballerina’ is a popular cultivar (M. x loebneri ‘Spring Snow’ x M. stellata ‘Water Lily’) that is noted for its large white flowers that are blushed with pink. It produces its fragrant, star-like white flowers (4-6” wide) in early spring before the foliage (late March into early April in St. Louis). Each flower has 30 or more tepals that are blushed with faint pink at the base. Obovate, medium green leaves (to 5” long).

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Beautiful specimen flowering tree for lawns.