Is there more than one kind of magnolia?
Grown as specimens or in mixed groups, magnolias are basically trouble-free shrubs and trees. There are many species and hundreds of varieties from which to choose. From the handsome evergreen southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora, Zones 7-9) to the dramatic star magnolia (M. stellata, Zones 4-8), which covers itself in star-shape white flowers on bare wood in earliest spring, they are a treasured and valuable addition to the landscape. Flower colors vary from white, cream, and pale yellow to pink and even purple. Southern magnolia 'Samuel Sommer' bears creamy white flowers that reach up to 14 inches wide. There is a type of magnolia for almost every region. Magnolias prefer moist, acidic soil (pH 5.0-6.5) high in organic matter. They like full sun but will tolerate light shade. Mulch annually in early spring with compost, such as manure or leaf mold, especially if the soil is dry. In colder zones, buds of early-flowering types sometimes are damaged by late frosts.
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