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Early spring–blooming Magnolias are one of life’s sweetest simple pleasures. These enchanting trees make a jubilant display of pink or white flowers as soon as the weather turns mild and winter is fading into memory. Marilyn Magnolia is an early bloomer that celebrates the changing of the seasons with 5-inch, rosy purple blossoms that look like tulips perched on the branches. The lightly fragrant flowers are borne in abundance. In summer, the 7-inch leaves give this flashy tree a bold presence, and in winter, the big, fuzzy, silvery buds hint at the floral show to come. Delightful!
- Hardiness Zone: 6-8
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Most early-blooming Magnolias are native to Asia, although they’re treasured all over the temperate world. Who can resist falling for these over-the-top beauties? Marilyn is a hybrid selection developed from Asian parents, the ‘Nigra’ Lily Magnolia from China and the Kobus Magnolia from Japan and Korea. The new tree took after its ‘Nigra’ parent in flower color (Kobus is a white bloomer). It was introduced to the trade by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in 1989. Marilyn is a choice tree that’s hard to find, and we’re very pleased to add it to our collection.
Marilyn Magnolia is a compact grower with a shrubby habit. It can be readily pruned to make the perfect specimen tree for the smaller property. It’s also a lovely addition to a seasonal privacy screen.
How to Grow
Marilyn Magnolia benefits from all-day sun, rich soil, and regular irrigation. This tree doesn’t like “wet feet,” so make sure drainage is adequate and don’t plant it too deeply; we recommend planting all trees 2 in. above grade, and this is especially important for Magnolias. Mulch well. You can prevent damage from late frosts to some extent by not planting your tree in a low spot where cold air pools—make sure that air circulates freely in the area. Any pruning should be done immediately after flowering, as the next year’s flower buds are set during the summer.
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