Magnolia 'Marillyn'

Common Name: magnolia 
Type: Tree
Family: Magnoliaceae
Zone: 6 to 8
Height: 10.00 to 15.00 feet
Spread: 8.00 to 12.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: Purple
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy, Fragrant


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).

'Marillyn' is a deciduous magnolia hybrid cultivar (M. lilliflora 'Nigra' x M. kobus) introduced in 1989 by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. It typically grows 10-15' tall as a multi-stemmed shrub or small tree. Features large, slightly-fragrant, tulip-shaped, purple magnolia flowers (to 5" long) in spring and large, obovate leaves (to 7" long). Flowers are sterile.


Potential disease problems include leaf spots, anthracnose, canker, dieback and powdery mildew. Potential insect problems include weevils, snails, scale, and thrips.

'Marilyn' exhibits good winter hardiness for the St. Louis area, but flower buds are susceptible to damage from early spring frosts. Chlorosis (yellowing of leaves) may develop in alkaline soils.


Excellent specimen or accent for sunny areas in the landscape where spring flowers can be appreciated. Small shade tree.