Magnolia 'George Henry Kern'
Common Name: magnolia
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Magnoliaceae
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 6.00 to 15.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 15.00 feet
Bloom Time: March to April
Bloom Description: Pink
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy, Fragrant

Culture

Best grown in organically rich, neutral to slightly acidic, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Appreciates a root-zone mulch to help retain soil moisture. Also appreciates a location protected from strong winds, but avoid warm southern exposures which may promote premature bud opening in spring. Fleshy root system is easily damaged during transplanting, so it is best to select a landscape location carefully and leave this magnolia undisturbed once planted. Prune as needed immediately after flowering. Usually requires little pruning other than removal of dead or damaged branches.

Noteworthy Characteristics

The genus Magnolia consists of about 100 species (plus numerous additional hybrids and cultivars) of deciduous or evergreen trees and shrubs. Most plants feature large simple leaves and showy, sometimes fragrant flowers (yellow, white, pink or purple) which bloom in early spring before or while the leaves are emerging or in late spring to summer when trees are fully leaved.

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

'George Henry Kern' is a slow-growing, deciduous, hybrid magnolia (Magnolia stellata x Magnolia liliiflora) that typically grows in a multi-stemmed shrub form to 6' tall over the first 10 years, but may eventually mature to 15' tall. It is noted for its very fragrant, light pink flowers which blanket the plant with bloom in early spring (March-April in St. Louis) before the foliage appears. Flowers emerge from showy deep rose pink flower buds. Each flower has 8 light pink petal-like tepals. Dark green leaves are attractive throughout the growing season, turning coppery bronze in fall. Red seeds form in greenish pods that split open in fall.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Potential disease problems include leaf spots, anthracnose, canker, dieback and powdery mildew. Potential insect problems include weevils, snails, scale, and thrips.

Frost damage to flowers in spring is a concern.

Garden Uses

Beautiful compact flowering tree or shrub for lawns, foundations, shrub borders or woodland peripheries. May be grown as a hedge. Group or mass.