last updated 30/10/2014


The majority of the deciduous Magnolias listed here are grafted plants of the more recent hybrids. These have been bred (particularly in America and New Zealand) for large flowers, reliability of flowering and most importantly, to flower from a young age. This is enhanced because they are grafted.

Thus it is no longer necessary to wait over 25 years for your Magnolia to flower; indeed some of these have flowered on the nursery. It is possible that once planted, they will grow strongly for a season or two and not flower as result. However, they have the capability to flower and will do so profusely as soon as they settle down to their new site!

Magnolias are totally cold hardy and foliage blackened by a late frost will soon sprout again in an incredibly resilient manner. However, the flowers can be spoilt by frost. Thus, in colder areas choose the later flowering varieties. I would suggest that the M. campbellii forms are best considered only in Cornwall and favoured Western locations.

Traditionally considered to have a preference for acid soil, we have concluded that the structure of the soil is more important than the pH. They hate to dry out in the summer. This condition alone will damage them more than anything else.

Important: In many cases, large plants are available, some of which have already flowered. Sometimes we have a choice of sizes, both big and small. Other times it's only big or only small. In many cases there are only a few of each cultivar because we have such a large collection. Therefore it is impossible within the time I have available to indicate exact size availability on each cultivar. Suffice it to say therefore that the smallest Magnolias are 2 year olds in 3 litre pots - these are around 3' (1m) tall and are fundamentally a single stem. Where older plants are available, they will be more expensive of course! However, they will be larger, will have more side branching and are generally more substantial. If planting in September or late spring, then it is usually possible to establish a smaller plant. Within this time I would strongly recommend larger plants - our experience is that Magnolias establish much more reliably from larger plants.

MAGNOLIA acuminata var. subcordata 'Kinju'
This selection has particularly large and brightly coloured flowers. They are produced very late in the season, as the first leaves unfurl In April-May so are most unlikely to be spoilt by frost.

MAGNOLIA acuminata 'Koban Dori' 
Smaller growing form, of upright graceful habit. Small upright poised canary yellow cupped blooms open as growth commences in the spring.

(M. x soulangeana ‘Lennei’ x M. sprengeri ‘Diva’) A delightful pink magnolia from the garden of Maurice Foster in Kent. Of very upright habit, the small soulangeana-shaped flowers are crowded on every spur up the stems. When the plant is grown in shade, the flowers are a noticeably deeper pink at the base.

(M. ‘Yellow Bird’ x M. x brooklynensis) From Ian Baldick in New Zealand this very recent selection has essentially yellow large flowers, but these have more of an orange tint, being of a wonderful honey-amber colour. Blooming late spring (May) the flowers are seldom damaged by frost.

MAGNOLIA 'Ambrosia'
(M. brooklynensis 'Eva Maria' x M. brooklynensis '#143') This most unusual selection originated in the hands on David Clulow in Surrey, having multi-coloured cup-shaped blooms of barium yellow shaded with chartreuse green, centrally striped and stippled throughout with purple. These are produced freely from an early age. It forms a tree of vigorous, pyramidal habit to 7m.

(M. cylindrica x M. x soulangeana ‘Sawada’s Pink’) So far I have only seen a photo of this hybrid from Dennis Ledvina, but it looks so gorgeous, I can’t wait for mine to flower…hopefully this spring?  According to  Dennis: “ ‘Angelica’ has nine round, cup shaped tepals that measure over 3 inches in diameter. The colour is pure white. The flower retains its bowl shape and does not flop with age. ‘Angelica’ will develop into a medium sized tree. The flowering time is intermediate between that of M. cylindrica and M. x soulangeana. The seed of this hybrid was collected from the original cross made by Phil Savage.”

(M. acuminata x M. 'Elizabeth' ) Raised and selected at the Belgian Arboretum Wespelaar, this is a spectacular introduction, flowering as it does for more than a month (from mid April to the end of May). Green in bud, the flowers open to deep yellow on the outside and sulphur yellow within, creating a spectacular and vigorous tree of erect habit.

([M. acuminata x M. x soulangeana ‘Picture’] x [M. acuminata x M. x sargentiana var. robusta)] There is a certain amount of uncertainty surrounding the precise parentage, but it becomes almost irrelevant when one sees how beautiful the flowers are. Essentially white, there is just the faintest flush of pink at the base of the broad petals.

MAGNOLIA 'Anticipation'
A superb hybrid from M. cylindrica. In mid-April huge white flowers 10-12 inches across appear in abundance, even after severe winters.

(M. campbellii mollicomata 'Lanarth' x M. liliiflora 'Nigra') From the late Felix Jury in New Zealand, the same breeder who was responsible for the renowned 'Iolanthe'. Deep violet-pink buds open to enormous bowl-like flowers which are paler within. The star-shaped flowers are huge – they can be 25cm-30cm across. With maturity, the narrower than usual petals reflex to show off the prominent central boss of richly coloured stamens. ‘Apollo’ forms an open, spreading, often multi-stemmed small tree to 5m. Mid to late season flowering.

MAGNOLIA 'Archangel'
(M. sprengeri ‘Diva’ x M. x soulangeana ‘Brozzoni’) This superb Phil Savage selection displays huge, heavy textured, white flowers.

MAGNOLIA 'Asian Artistry'
(M. denudata x M. sprengeri 'Diva') The abundant large pink flowers, with 9-12 tepals, open out flat to up to 30cm across. They are pearly white inside whilst stained deep purple-red at the base of the tepals. These gorgeous blooms inherit the gloriously intoxicating fragrance of 'Diva'. Hardy and fast growing, potentially making an imposing large tree. Flowers later in the spring than most other Gresham hybrids.

(M. 'Mark Jury' x M. x soulangeana 'Lennei Alba') Another hybrid from the late Felix Jury. The large cup and saucer shaped flowers are white-rimmed, shading in to rosy purple with an ivory white cup to give a bicolour effect. Richly fragrant, they appear in mid-spring. Upright and vase shaped when young, it matures into a rounded small tree of perhaps 6m.

(M. 'Mark Jury' x M. x soulangeana 'Lennei') This Felix Jury hybrid boasts some of the largest flowers in the Magnolia world. The huge cup shaped blooms can be up to 35cm across, with individual petals measuring 15cm wide.  They are lilac pink with a creamy white interior and fragrant. Upright when young, it becomes more rounded with age. 6m. It flowers mid season, but flowers of that size will inevitably last longer in a more sheltered site. Potentially spectacular!

(M. ‘Starwars’ x M. sargentiana var. robusta) A superb recent selection from Blumhardt in New Zealand, the gorgeous flowers are similar in shape to those of ‘Starwars’, but in a delightful clear pink. It forms a tidy tree of upright habit; expect 4m x 1.5m in 10 years.

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