Royal Star Magnolia
For the gardener we enter an exciting time of the year. It is a time when the garden awakens and day-by-day, month-by-month it unfolds and unfurls itself with vivid splendor. One of the first plants to get in on the act is the Royal Star Magnolia, Magnolia Stella ‘Royal Star.’
This small tree comes to life with dainty, but large white blossoms that scream LOOK AT ME! Here in Portland, OR you can expect it to blossom in early March. Warm and sunny late winter/early spring weather summons them into action. The flower is resilient and stands up well to the wet Pacific Northwest weather.
The Royal Star or Star Magnolia is no one hit wonder. In addition to a spectacular floral display it has nice form and can take pruning well. Left to its own devices it will grow 10-15’ tall and 10-12’ wide. It is a magnolia that drops its leaves in the fall. Thus revealing ornate fuzzy buds that provide intrigue throughout the winter months. It’s also worth noting that the nice structure of the Royal Star Magnolia makes it willing to support lights for the holiday season.
As Magnolias go the Royal Star has top-notch heat and cold tolerance. It’s a USDA Hardiness Zone 4-9 plant. It does fabulous in Portland and I’ve heard they do well in the Midwestern state of Indiana.
Shasta Daisy Snowcap catching a bit of shade beneath the canopy of a Royal Star Magnolia.
From a design perspective I find the Star Magnolia to be a sly small specimen tree that can mingle in a variety of settings. Certainly a seasonal center point of an all white garden, it can also hold its own in an Asian garden. I like to use them amongst groupings of colorful perennials. They set the pace for an evolving color scene that arrives at a crescendo in mid summer.