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Little Gem Dwarf Southern Magnolia

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Little Gem Dwarf Southern Magnolia
Magnolia grandiflora 'Little Gem'

USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 7a-9b   Find Your Zone >

Special Attributes

Unlike it's larger cousins, which grow to 50 feet plus in height, 'Little Gem' is the dwarf in the family of Southern Magnolias, maturing to a height of little over 20 feet with a width of about 8 to 10 feet. This makes Little Gem an excellent choice for those who want the beauty of a Southern Magnolia but have limited space to work with. You might also be happy to know that Little Gem doesn't produce the large, grenade-size seedpods that larger varieties do, and that it starts blooming at 2 years old!  

In addition to its smaller size, there are other big differences between Little Gem and its larger cousins. It produces flowers at a much early age. As mentioned, we've seen trees produce a good number of buds and blooms in their second summer. The flowers are highly fragrant, with a fresh lemony scent, and are 6-8 inches in diameter when fully open. The blooming period is much longer as well. Provided there is ample moisture throughout the season, Little Gem will start flowering as early as May and continue through the first frost that comes in late fall or early winter. When planted where happy, Little Gem grows about two to three times as fast as its larger cousins. We've seen 2 feet or more in height added in a single growing season. 

Landscape & Garden Uses

Growing upright to 20 to 25 feet tall and 8 to 10 feet wide, Little Gem Magnolia has many uses in the landscape. We use it most often in evergreen screen plantings, as a focal point specimen, to frame in the corners of tall homes or other structures, or as espalier (trained to grow against a wall) on tall, open walls. Can also be grown in large pots, planters and containers of 18 inches or more in rim diameter. A fine addition to fragrance, bird, wildlife, cut flower and cottage gardens. 

Spacing:  6-8' for solid screens;  18 feet or more for space between trees

Cultural Preferences

Little Gem Magnolia is very easy to grow in most an average moist but well-drained soil, preferring one that is rich in organic matter. It grows well in full sun or part shade. We suggest 4 hours or more of direct sunlight or all-day filtered sun. 

Helpful Articles

Click on a link below to find helpful advice from our experts on how to plant, prune, feed and water Southern Magnolia trees.

Plant Details

USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 7a-9b   Find Your Zone
Plant Type:  Evergreen Flowering Tree
Height at Maturity:  20-25'
Width at Maturity: 8-10'
Spacing:  6' for solid hedge;  14'+ for space between plants
Growth Habit / Form:  Conical, Dense, Upright
Flower Color:  White
Flower Size:  Large, 6-8"
Flowering Period:  Late Spring to Frost!
Flower Type:  Single
Fragrant Flowers:  Yes - extremely fragrant!
Foliage Color:  Dark Green, Copper-orange undersides
Fragrant Foliage:  No
Attracts:  Visual Attention
Resistances:  Deer, Disease, Drought, Heat, Humidity, Insect
Sun Needs:  Full Sun or Mostly Sun, Morning Sun with Dappled or Afternoon Shade, All Day Filtered Sun, Morning Shade with Evening Sun
Water Needs:  Average, Low when established
Soil Type:  Clay (amended), Loam, Sand (amended), Silt 
Soil Moisture / Drainage:  Well Drained Moist
Soil pH:  4.5 - 7.5 (Acid to Slightly Alkaline)
Maintenance / Care:  Low

Plant Long & Prosper!

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