Magnolia stellata

Plant of the month: April

A superb plant for spring, many can be seen as specimen plants in front gardens. Unfortunately sometimes these gardens are more exposed to winds, frosts and early morning sun, which can cause the flowers to die quickly. In a sheltered position they are stunning.

The Star Magnolia, as its common name suggests has star shaped flowers, the petals of which can be upright or drooping in white or pale pink. The large silky buds add further interest.

The plant can grow to 3m in height and 4m across, and is deciduous, which also allows the flowers to be seen at their best as there are no leaves to obscure the view. The leaves can reach 10cm in length and are mid-green in colour. It requires neutral to acid soil that is moisture retentive but well drained, because if the plant is short of water in late summer the newly formed flower buds will drop off, a most upsetting sight.