The Q&A Archives: Choosing a magnolia tree

Question: I live in Boston, Massachusetts and would like to plant a magnolia tree on the southern side of my lawn. I've seen them growing in our area, so I'm optimistic that our climate will allow them to survive. What kinds of magnolias would you recommend for our climate? Specifically, I would like one that has a lengthy flowering period. It doesn't matter to me if it flowers in the spring or summer.

Answer: Wouldn't you know, National Gardening Magazine featured an article on magnolias in the March/April 98 issue! You can read the article by visiting the NGA website at, and searching the magazine article database (no pretty pictures, though!). Boston is plenty warm for quite a number of hardy magnolias; so many in fact, I can't list them all! Most are tree-sized (mature height at least 20' tall and almost as wide). Shrub sized magnolias include many varieties of Star Magnolia (probably the one you see blooming in the spring) and the Kosar-DeVos Hybrids. These range from 5-15' tall. Request these mail order catalogs so you can read up on the details of the different varieties: Fairweather Gardens, PO Box 330, Greenwich, NJ 08232, ph# 609/451-6261) and Roslyn Nursery, 211 Burrs Lane, Dix Hills, NY 11746, ph# 516/643-9347 (catalog, $3). Check with local nurseries, too - locally grown stock is best adapted to your garden. Also, the Arnold Arboretum no doubt has some nice specimen plants to view next year when they're in bloom. Enjoy!

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