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Saucers and stars; here are new deciduous magnolia.

For a flowering tree, saucer magnolia (M. soulangiana) has long been a popular choice. Lately, however, new kinds of deciduous magnolias are enticing gardeners. Below, we give seven you'll find dormant in nurseries this month; prices range from $20 to $30 or more for a 5-gallon can. All these magnolias are 25 feet or under. Leaves drop around November, with bloom coming in spring and lasting three to six weeks. Trees tolerate cold (as low as -200), but flowers of early bloomers can be damaged by frost. Of the ones listed here, the saucer magnolia is most tolerant of hot, dry winds; in inland areas, plant other kinds in protected areas. Flowers are spectacular when set off by a dark background. Use smaller kinds behind perennial borders. When you plant, choose a spot with moist, well-drained soil; add organic matter where needed to increase acidity in alkaline soil, and make sure the trunk is above soil line. Trees need full sun (in the hottest areas, they require afternoon shade). M. liliiflora 'Nigra' (lily magnolia). All Sunset climate zones except 10 through 13. Grows 10 to 15 feet tall and as wide. Late, frost-evading 8-inch-wide flowers appear over a long period and have strappy petals that are purple-red on the outside, pink inside. M. loebneri 'Leonard Messel' reaches the same size and shape as 'Nigra' and grows in the same regions. Late-blooming flowers are white on inside, deep pink outside. Even young plants in containers bloom profusely. M.I. 'Merrill' is similar to 'Leonard Messel', but flowers are pure white and slightly fragrant; leaves are a rich dark green. It also blooms when very young. M. soulangiana 'Alexandrina'. All zones but 11. Multitrunked shrub or tree grows to 25 feet tall and as wide. Compared with the common saucer magnolia, its 6-inch-wide flowers are more tulip-like, white inside and purple-pink outside. It blooms late a plus if you live where late frosts are likely. M. stellata 'Royal Star'. All zones but 10 through 13. Upright-branching plant grows to 15 feet. Late-blooming, many-petaled 4inch flowers are fragrant and pure white. M. 'Galaxy' (a stellata-type hybrid). All zones but 10 through 13. Small, upright-branching tree grows 10 to 18 feet tall, 6 to 12 feet wide. Abundant 8- to 10-inch-wide flowers are reddish purple. Opening late, they avoid frost. Leaves are particularly bright green and attractive. M. 'Randy' (also a stellata type). All zones but 10 through 13. Medium-size, open-branched shrub grows to 15 feet tall and as wide. Reddish purple, star-shaped 4-inch-wide flowers bloom later and for a longer time than other star magnolias.
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Date:Jan 1, 1991
Words:432
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