Noted for its frost resistance, award-winning Magnolia x loebneri 'Leonard Messel' is a vigorous medium-sized deciduous shrub or small tree of remarkable beauty when in full bloom. Opening from purple buds, the fragrant flowers, 4 in. across (10 cm), are deep pink with a delicate white tinge inside their 12 narrow tepals. The strap-like petals are similar to Star Magnolia, white on the inside and purplish-pink on the outside. The flowers bloom profusely in early to mid spring, before the foliage of narrow, ovate leaves unfurl.
This plant is a hybrid Magnolia resulting from a cross between Magnolia kobus and Magniola stellata ‘Rosea’. Blooming later than the earliest Magnolias, the flowers of 'Leonard Messel' are less susceptible than most Magnolias to late frosts.
- Grows with a compact and multi-stemmed habit, up to 15-20 ft. tall (4-6 m) and 10-18 ft. wide (3-5 m)
- Winner of the prestigious Award of Garden Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society.
- A full sun to part shade lover, this plant is best grown in consistently moist, slightly acidic, organically rich, well-drained soils. Neutral to slightly alkaline soils are also suitable for growth if the soil is moisture retentive. Magnolias are adaptable to clay, loam or sandy soils, but most grow poorly in wet or poorly drained soils. Provide a site sheltered from cold, dry winds as buds and flowers may be damaged by cold winds. Late frosts may damage flower buds too.
- May be attacked by horse chestnut scale, snails and capsid bug, coral spot, honey fungus.
- Spectacular as a specimen plant for dramatic early spring blooms. Great flowering tree for city gardens or cottage gardens.
- Magnolia pruning should be carried out in midsummer when in full leaf
- Deciduous Magnolias are best planted when dormant, in late fall or winter in warmer climates and early spring in cold climates. Evergreen magnolias are best planted in early spring. For the first 6 to 12 months after planting, both types will benefit from mulch and regular irrigation during warm or dry weather.
- Propagate by softwood cuttings in early summer or semi-hardwood cuttings in late summer