Magnolia × loebneri 'Leonard Messel'

Common Name: magnolia 
Type: Tree
Family: Magnoliaceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 10.00 to 20.00 feet
Spread: 10.00 to 18.00 feet
Bloom Time: March to April
Bloom Description: White to purplish-pink
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Fruit: Showy


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

Magnolia × loebneri, commonly called Loebner magnolia, is a deciduous hybrid magnolia (M. kobus × 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). A number of hybrid cultivars are now available in commerce featuring flowers that are white, blush-pink, lilac pink or pink.

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.

'Leonard Messel' is a compact cultivar with a multi-stemmed habit and beautiful two-toned flowers at an early age. The strap-like petals are similar to star magnolia, white on the inside and purplish-pink on the outside. The flowers are less susceptible than most magnolias to late frosts. 'Leonard Messel' is a cross of M. kobus and M. stellata 'Rosea'.


Late spring frost may damage early blooms.


Excellent specimen tree for the lawn or shrub border. Also effective on the periphery of a woodland area.