PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Evergreen Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)

Want an evergreen small tree that isn’t a conifer and can function as a screening element in your landscape, AND creates mind-blowingly beautiful & fragrant flowers? That’s a lot to pack into one plant, but here it is.

Also known as Southern Magnolia, they’re popular in the southeastern U.S. They’re also very happy here in the milder parts of the Pacific Northwest. The most common varieties of Magnolia grandiflora will get 20-30 feet tall & there are some smaller dwarfing varieties. They make a great street tree and are happy in full sun to light shade. Once established, they are drought tolerant.

Here’s the list of all the beautiful features:

  1. Large, oval, leathery leaves are glossy deep green on top, and the undersides are fuzzy, sumptuous reddish brown that looks like suede. Great in flower arrangements.
  2. Blooms emerge mid to late summer. Gleaming white, like the snow cap on Mt. Tahoma, blooms can be 10 inches across and curl slightly at the edges to form a shallow bowl filled with butter yellow stamen, wine red pistils, and many very happy honeybees snarfing pollen and nectar.
  3. After the blooms, seed pods take the stage. They are two-inch cones that look like a space capsule designed by Timothy Leary with bright scarlet seeds and various bizarre looking details.

We grow a variety called ‘Kay Parris’. It gets about 25 feet tall and 10 feet wide here in the Puget Sound area.

Find them Tuesday-Sunday 10-5.