Magnolia ‘Pegasus’

hybrid magnolia

  • © Judy Newton

Outstanding Qualities

Pegasus is the winged horse of Greek mythology - a great name for this magnolia as it has flown around the world. It started as a seed of Magnolia cylindrica at Lu Shan Botanic Garden in China. It germinated (about 1936) under the care of the late Mrs. Norman Henry of Pennsylvania. In about 1950, cuttings were sent to the Seattle's Washington Park Arboretum and to the late Sir Harold Hillier in England. It was at Hillier Gardens that it became a star, attracting the admiration of all who saw it. It grows as wide as it does tall, with 6-inch-long, dark green leaves that smell of anise seed when crushed. Its 4-inch-tall flowers appear in April and show remarkable resistance to frost. They are white with a flush of pale pink at the base of each tepal. By late summer the flowers develop into 4-inch-long, bright red, cylindrical seed pods. Closer examination of this lovely tree indicated it to be a hybrid (perhaps with M. denudata). That is why Roy Lancaster changed its name simply to 'Pegasus'.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: tree

Foliage Type: deciduous

Plant Height: 10 ft. 0 in. (3.05 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 10 ft. 0 in. (3.05 meters)

Plant Height-Mature: 30 ft. 0 in. (9.14 meters)

Plant Width-Mature: 30 ft. 0 in. (9.14 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 to 8

Flower Color: white

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

Water Requirements: regular watering for best flowering

Wildlife Associations: birds

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.
Geek Notes
see Magnolias by Jim Gardiner, page 129, for story on this cv.