Magnolias for northern gardens

Discussion in 'Magnoliaceae' started by subarcticgardener, Nov 24, 2009.

  1. subarcticgardener

    subarcticgardener Member

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    Prince George, BC. Canada
    I am new to these forums and am hoping someone will have some advice for me. I live in a zone 3b/zone 4 area and have been researching to find a large shrub or small tree for a corner of my yard. Recently, I was surprised to find that a plant nursery in the lower mainland sells two kinds of Magnolia trees that they list as being good for zone 3. One was a Magnolia (Saucer Magnolia or Tulip Tree) x soulangeana which I would dearly love to have in my yard. However, I have read in other places that these are not good in anything less than a zone 5. According to my Lois Hole books which are my plant Bibles, the only two magnolias which are good for this zone are Star Magnolia and Merrill Magnolia and even they require winter protection. Could Lois Hole really be wrong? Or could this be a misprint in the company's on-line catalogue? As much as I would love to have a saucer magnolia, I don't want to spend a bunch of money on something that will not grow and bloom for me.
     
  2. kevind76

    kevind76 Active Member

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    My area is rated zone 2b, and I have had a Star Magnolia for many years. I cover it each year, and sometimes it dies back a bit, but it keeps growing. Flowering is different, though. It did flower very nice one year, and sporadically other years, but not what I was hoping for. So, given that, in a 3b/4 zone, it should do very well. It's not the one you were wanting, but I thought I'd give you my experience.
     
  3. subarcticgardener

    subarcticgardener Member

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    Thanks a lot. A zone 2! I used to live in the Yukon and although I miss it, I am happy to live in a warmer zone where I can grow a wider variety of plants. I am still pushing the limits though. I have been thinking that a Star Magnolia might be what I would have to settle for but I am hoping for the Saucer one as well.
     
  4. skunkyjoe

    skunkyjoe Active Member

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    Yes, I agree Star Magnolia is probably the hardiest . Mine is Royal Star . I live in Zone 4b/5a it it never has any die back and flowers regularily .
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    The Sunset Western Garden Book has an easily read magnolia table, with [Sunset] climate zones for each kind treated.

    When I was a student at WSU in se WA (Palouse bunchgrass ecosystem, with hot and dry summers, cold winters and too dry for forests to develop on most sites) there was some nice saucer magnolia growing between two buildings on campus.

    You might also want to look for Searles, The Garden of Joy to see if he mentions any magnolias.
     
  6. subarcticgardener

    subarcticgardener Member

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    Thank you all so much. Since the Saucer magnolia is only borderline hardy here at best I don't think I want to waste $165.00 for a tree in a 5-gal. pot. I will look for a supplier of Star Magnolias instead and try that one. We only bought this place a year ago so there is lots that needs to be done. Perhaps someday when I have more experience at this gardening thing than I do now (and more money to squander recklessly) I will try the Saucer magnolia.
     
  7. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    You can often get saucer magnolias for less than that, I would not take that price as representative. In fact, that is so high I suspect it is for the 'Black Tulip' cultivar from New Zealand via Monrovia nursery. This has been listed as a saucer magnolia but is not in fact of that parentage. Monrovia stock of 'Black Tulip' in 5 gallon pots at garden centers down here has usually been priced at 90-something dollars US.

    Since (typical of Monrovia-grown stock) these specimens have always been obviously badly root-bound I have never shelled out for one even when they have been marked down significantly, for fall clearance. One outlet near me had nice, green and healthy ones for half off or nearly so this past fall. But there is no point in planting a tree grafted on a stock with badly deformed roots, no matter how attractive the variety or the pricing.

    Searles mentions no magnolias for "The Chinook Zone". However, if you are in Sunset 2b then according to their table you can just manage cucumber magnolia, 'Butterflies', kobus magnolia, the Kosar-De Vos hybrids, 'Royal Crown', anise magnolia, saucer magnolia, star magnolia and 'Wada's Memory'. They do indicate a couple valleys in se BC as being in Sunset 2b, otherwise the bulk of the parts of BC shown in the book are Sunset 1A.

    In nature cucumber magnolia grows all the way up to Maine. Kobus and star magnolias are native to northern Japan, where it gets very cold. 'Butterflies' was selected in Michigan, and has become a bit of a favorite in cold climates. Here on the coast its flowers may tend to be overtaken by its leaves.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2009
  8. subarcticgardener

    subarcticgardener Member

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    Well, I live in central BC where we get snow from end of October to mid April and sometimes like this past year into May as well. Our winters get to -40 Celsius on occasion but don't usually stay there for long. Not too sure about your "Sunset" zones. I think US and Canada have different zone maps. According to the Canadian zone charts I am in a Zone 3b/Zone 4 area. We have about 85 frost free days a year.

    Prices from the US to Canada probably vary a lot. The quote I got was from a nursery in Aldergove, BC. So far I have never been to it and don't know if they are a reputable place or not. I have to do some research on them as well. I was shopping on-line and found this company. Their location is a good one for me to get to when I make a trip to Vancouver.

    I also don't mind getting a smaller tree for a little less money simply because getting it home 400 miles could be a problem.
     

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