Magnolia figo
Common Name: banana shrub
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Magnoliaceae
Zone: 8 to 10
Height: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to June
Bloom Description: Creamy pale yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 8-10 where this magnolia is best grown in evenly moist, fertile, slightly acidic, organically rich, well-drained loams in part shade. Tolerates full sun, but foliage may turn a less attractive yellow green. Also tolerates substantial shade, but plant foliage tends to open up. Site in locations protected from strong winds. In areas near the northern edge of the growing range, avoid locating plants in southern exposures close to houses where the buds may be induced to open too early in spring. Plants appreciate consistent and regular moisture throughout the year, and are generally intolerant of soil extremes (dry or wet). Mulch root zone.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Magnolia figo, commonly called banana shrub, is a dense, rounded, multi-stemmed, broadleaf evergreen shrub that typically matures over time to 6-10' tall and as wide. It is native to China. Common name is in reference to the intense banana-like fragrance of the 6-petaled, cup-shaped, creamy pale yellow flowers (to 1 1/2" diameter) which bloom from spring to summer (April-June). Each flower petal has a very thin red margin. Glossy, oblong, evergreen, dark green leaves (to 3-5" long) are attractive throughout the year.

Synonymous with and formerly known as Michelia figo.

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

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for scale. Late frosts may damage flowers.

Garden Uses

Excellent understory magnolia for part-shade areas of the landscape. Bushy foundation plant for privacy hedge. Specimen/accent. Shrub borders. Plant in areas where the fragrant flowers can easily be appreciated.