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. Best sited in a location protected from high winds, but generally avoid southern exposures where the buds may be induced to open too early in late winter. This cultivar blooms about 2 weeks later than the species is accordingly less susceptible to frost problems.
Star magnolia is a small deciduous tree that typically grows 15-20’ tall with a spreading, rounded crown. It is also often grown as a large oval to rounded shrub. It is noted for its compact size and late winter to early spring bloom of star-shaped white flowers. Each flower typically has 12-18 tepals. ‘Royal Star’ is a popular cultivar that has slightly larger and showier flowers than the species. Fragrant white flowers (3-4” diameter), each with 25-30 tepals, open in March before the foliage emerges. Obovate to narrow elliptic dark green leaves (2-4” long) are attractive throughout the growing season but produce little fall color (mediocre brownish-yellow). Red seeds form in greenish pods that split open in fall. Specific epithet, cultivar name and common name are in reference to the star-like shape of the flower. Magnolia honors Pierre Magnol, French botanist (1638-1715). Magnolia stellata is synonymous with M. kobus var. stellata.
No serious insect or disease problems. Frost damage to flowers is a concern.
Beautiful specimen flowering tree or shrub for lawns, foundations, shrub borders or woodland peripheries. May be grown as a tall informal hedge.