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


Best grown in moist, slightly acidic, organically rich, well-drained loams in full sun to part shade. Appreciates consistent and even moisture in summer. Generally intolerant of soil extremes (dry or wet). Intolerant of most urban pollutants. Best sited in locations protected from high winds, but generally avoid southern exposures where the buds may be induced to open too early in late winter. Mulch (compost or bark) helps retain soil moisture. Prune only if needed immediately after flowering.

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.


No serious insect or disease problems. 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.