Just as its name suggests, this specimen tree is quite a ‘little gem’ with all the wonderful qualities you’d want from a magnolia and more! Also known as the dwarf southern magnolia tree, the Little Gem Magnolia tree can be planted as a privacy screen or hedge.
The Magnolia grandiflora Little Gem tree features smaller dark green foliage and a very compact narrow form and grows much slower than its other Magnolia relatives. The evergreen leaves of this southern tree are leathery with a deep glossy green color on top and fuzzy, rusty-brown undersides.
The magnolia gem tree produces large, fragrant, creamy white, saucer shaped flowers that are 4-6 inches wide. Its beautiful and creamy white flowers bloom in the early spring to early summer growing season. The hardy tree has a bronze brown bark all year long that looks nice paired with the glossy leaves.
The white fragrant flowers on the Little Gem Magnolia Tree will give way to spherical, cone-like fruiting clusters that mature in the late summer to early fall months of the year. They release individual rose-red coated seeds suspended on slender threads at maturity. These seeds are food sources for many types of wildlife including birds, squirrels, and deer.
Little Gem Magnolia Care
This privacy tree prefers full sun to partial shade and is generally tolerant of soil extremes including acidic soils as long as they are well drained soil. It can be moderately drought tolerant after the root system establishes. The Little Gem is useful in small gardens or landscapes and does well with seacoast exposure as it is salt tolerant.
Not the most cold hardy flowering magnolia tree as it does better in the southeastern United States. Grow this little gem southern magnolia in USDA plant hardiness zones 6-10. If you are looking for a more cold hardy evergreen tree – check out the Bracken’s Brown Beauty Magnolia.
The Little Gem Magnolia growth rate is slower than other semi-deciduous magnolias. The slow growth rate is up to 1-1.5 feet per year. Little Gem magnolia size will grow to around 20 to 25 feet tall over the first 20 years and 10-15 feet wide.
If planting Little Gem Magnolia hedge, space the flowering trees at least 10 feet apart. They are the perfect small trees for privacy if you are not looking for height. They are pest and disease resistant and easy to grow. Be sure to apply a thick 2 inch layer of mulch surrounding the root ball to help retain moisture.
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For information on planting your new magnolia tree, check out our Magnolia Grow Guide.
Magnolia grandiflora 'Little Gem'
- Fragrant, white flowers
- Attractive foliage
- Compact size