Georgia Gardener Newsletter Cool Plant: April 3, 2008

Ashe's Magnolia
Magnolia ashei

Flower close-up Image from Nearly Native Nursery

Species Native Range: Florida panhandle
Hardiness: USDA Zones (5)6-9
Mature Size: 15-20 feet tall x 10-15 feet wide
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Soil: Rich, moist but well-drained
Drought Tolerance: Good/very good
Ease of Culture: Easy

Ashe's magnolia is one of several native magnolias that are collectively known as the big leaf magnolias and forms enormous leaves up to 18 inches wide and 30 inches long with 10-12 inch white flowers with a purple blotch in summer. Ashe's magnolia is rare in the wild and as such is listed as an Endangered species by the state of Florida. However, these trees can be purchased from nurseries and grown in the landscape.

With such large leaves, it lends a tropical look to the landscape and can be used as an alternative to banana trees which may not make it through a north Georgia winter. It is surprisingly easy to grow and blooms at a very young age. Trees as small as 2 feet have been known to produce blooms almost half their height!

Grow Ashe's magnolia in full sun to partial shade. Blooming and foliage growth will be better in full sun. The soil should be rich and well-drained and it tolerates growing in sand. For a tropical look, good companion plants include hardy palms, larger hostas (shade), cast iron plant, ferns (shade), Japanese aralia, etc.


This plant can be purchased from nurseries that carry native plants:

Nearly Native Nursery: Fayetteville
Meadowbrook Nursery: mailorder
Georgia Native Plant Society Nursery List

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