Magnolia denudata

lily tree

Outstanding Qualities

Yulan magnolia was introduced from China in the late 1700s and has been a mainstay in gardens around the world ever since. It flowers in early spring, its creamy white flowers covering the tree. The coarse foliage is handsome and makes an excellent shade tree. The bark is gray and similar to beech trees making it attractive in winter as well, fall color is golden yellow. Plant it with golden- or orange-flowered witchhazels, Corylopsis pauciflora, Mahonia x media cultivars or Stachyurus praecox and wintergreens like Daphne odora 'Aureomarginata', Pieris japonica 'Valley Valentine', Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis and Viburnum davidii. winter flower bulbs and perennials are excellent groundcovers for yulan magnolia, try helleborus x hybridus and foetidus, Cyclamen coum, Galanthus and Crocus tommasinianus

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: gold, silver, white, variegated

Great Color Partners: dark green, chartreuse, blue

Culture Notes

This magnolia is easy to grow. It flowers best when planted in full sun to light or open shade. It will thrive in a rich moist to well-drained soil, but will tolerate sand and clay if the drainage is adequate. Plant in an area that is protected from strong winds to help the flowers last their longest and keep the young foliage from being damaged. Regular summer water will allow the best flowering and healthiest growth, but well established plants can tolerate occasional watering during dry weather. Magnolias have fleshy roots that can easily be damaged so limit extensive gardening under established trees. Little pruning is required other than removing dead and broken limbs or poorly formed limbs. Pruning is best done after flowering.

© Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Quick Facts

Plant Type: tree

Foliage Type: deciduous

Plant Height: 12 ft. 0 in. (3.66 m.)

Plant Width/Spread: 12 ft. 0 in. (3.66 m.)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 to 8

Flower Color: cream

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun to light or open shade

Water Requirements: regular watering for best flowering