Magnolia wilsonii

Wilson's magnolia

Outstanding Qualities

Magnolia wilsonii is a shade-tolerant, broad-spreading, multistemmed tree. Its elegant, nodding, bell-shaped flowers are sparingly produced at the ends of silken, leafy branches in late spring. Each fragrant flower is composed of nine pure white petals (more correctly called tepals) surrounding a showy central ring of rose-red staminodes. The nodding to fully pendent blooms are best enjoyed from beneath the canopy of this tree. The silvery undersides of the leaves and pure white flowers play well off of the dark purple twigs and dark blackish brown bark. This treasure was named after the famous plant explorer Ernest Wilson, who discovered it in western China in 1904.

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.

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Quick Facts

Plant Type: vase-shaped tree

Foliage Type: deciduous

Plant Height: 15 ft. 0 in. (4.57 m.)

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

Hardiness: USDA Zones 7 to 9

Flower Color: white

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

Water Requirements: occasional to regular watering during dry months