Hardy Magnolias?


Anyone growing a hardy magnolia? Do they take any special care, fussy? It appears we’re a bit cold for most but there might be one that will grow here. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen one, and I have a backwoods homestead orchard not a landscaped yard. But we’ve been working on a beautiful love song by Guy Clark & Shawn Camp called “Magnolia Wind”. And I got the idea it might be nice to grow a magnolia bush (after looking it up and finding, to my surprise, that there are indeed hardy magnolias). All sorts of ideas come to mind in the winter, especially when it’s dark and sub-zero cold outside and far from growing green things and pretty flowers. (but I love winter anyway!). Sue


I have a magnolia tree. I think variety is Jane, not sure. Smells good and late to flower in spring. Not sure how hardy it is. I’m in zone 7a and it gets down to 10 degrees sometimes. It has no issues with those temps. I’m not sure how easy it is to root those but I can send you cuttings if you want to give it a try.


The flowers I’ve seen got as big as dinner plates on some magnolias in the south but in my area they are the size of peonies. Regardless they are beautiful trees. Think 6A or 5B is about the end of their range but they may have better types of magnolia now. I really like the smells of jasmine and citrus blossoms but I live with honeysuckle and clove currents. Some plants just won’t grow in a range we are at.


There is a row of old, large magnolia trees on Princeton University campus. They bloom beautifully every spring. I believe Princeton is in zone 6.


Zone 5b here, and there are magnolias all over the place. They grow just fine but the flowers are quite susceptible to frost at bloomtime


Thank you, @Susu, for the offer. But I’m not too confident in my ability to root a cutting. The only thing I’ve done are grapes (and they’re easy). It sounds like a beautiful variety though, and late blooming would be good.
As @clarkinks notes, maybe I should stick with known hardy things! The -16 temps last night, and a “high” of 0 today, reminds me of where I live (we’re used to lows like that and more but not in Dec). Doesn’t mean I might not give it a try though. Maybe plant it like an apricot – late winter shade and protection from wind. I’ll have to do some more checking on variety possibilities. Sue


Z5a magnolias usually will bloom and get frosted here, 1yr in 5 they are ok otherwise not much good to say for them. Lots of winter damage and rot problems.


Hi Sue,

What it sounds like you’re looking for is Magnolia liliiflora:

" ‘Ann’ is the favorite of Michael Dirr (author). Other cultivars include: Betty, Jane, Judy, Pinkie, Randy, Ricki, & Susan. Dirr says, “The flowers open before the leaves and make a magnificent display. Again in summer, sporadic flowers occur but are lighter colored owing to the heat. They root easily from softwood cuttings and have been successfully flowered at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum (Zone 3) and Athens, GA (Zone 8).”

Ann: 8 to 10’ height, 10’ wide, more open than Betty, deep purple-red, 7 to 9 petaled, slightly earlier than Betty… good grower."


Magnolia kobus: 30 to 40’ high. “The species is hardy in Zone 4, the variety in zone 3.” Magnolia kobus var. borealis


Magnolia acuminata (zone 3 to 8). Not showy flowers at all and a large tree. I’ve seen these in flower and while the leaves are large and the tree is lovely, it should not be grown for its flowers.



I’ve been a fan of magnolia sieboldii for a few years (my lack of having one growing here is simply due to space restrictions and I did lost one due to neglect the year my dad passed).

most sources claim zone 5 hardiness, though grower reports listed on dave’s state its is being grown into zone 4 without dieback…

It blooms later and has an interesting flower… My ex wife was not a fan as she said they looked obscene to her…



Not sure if i’ve seen them growing around here. I’ve been tempted to try one.