The Q&A Archives: Royal Star Magnolia

Question: Is the Royal Star Magnolia a tree or a bush? The one we purchased says tree. We are concerned approximately how large/wide this gets. Mainly we are interested if the branches start low like a bush or higher up like a tree. We are feeling this may be to wide for the use we wanted. Can you please help. We are getting conflicting opinion. One nursery told us it could be either a tree or a bush.

Answer: Some of the confusion is because there is no cut and dried size definition from large shrub to small tree. This plant has a rounded more shrubby shape but it can get pretty big.

Also, plants tend to have a size range to which they mature. The ultimate size will depend on the climate and growing conditions, in Minnesota for instance this magnolia might only reach 8 or 10 feet tall, but it might be twice that height in Georgia. The width is usually described as being about 10 to 15 feet.

I realize those are big variations, but this plant can also be pruned to maintain a slightly smaller size. I would not recommend trying to keep it small enough to grow under a window, but a limited amount of size control can be achieved without making the plant look totally unnatural.

I hope this helps with your selection process.

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