WSU Clark County Extension

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Royal Star magnolia

Scientific name: Magnolia stellata 'Royal Star'

Type:Deciduous shrubs
Plant Requirements
Zone:4 to 8
Sun:Full to partial sun
Plant Characteristics
Height:20 ft
Width:15 ft
Bloom:Fragrant flowers
Bloom Time:March
Bloom Color:White
Additional Characteristics



Wildlife value

Description Northwest gardeners can look forward to March when the popular magnolia cultivar known as Royal Star bursts forth with large, double white fragrant flowers that appear before the leaves on this deciduous shrub.

As this cultivar sends up numerous suckers from the base of the plant, this species can be considered a shrub as opposed to a small tree. Under good conditions it can grow to a height of 15’-20’ with a width of 12’-15’ in an oval to rounded shape. It bears simple, alternate dark green leaves which are narrow and elliptic in shape. Leaves range in length from 2”-4”.
In mid-winter silvery buds open to clear white flowers, which are 3”-4” in diameter with up to 25 petals. The name for this cultivar is derived from its star-shaped flowers. This magnolia variant typically blooms 2 weeks later than the species (M. stellata) from which it was selected.

In the fall, well after the flowers have been shed, the greenish fruit pods split open to reveal red seeds within. Leaf foliage is not considered showy in the fall.

For best growth select a moist fertile site in full sun to partial shade. Alternatively, amend a garden soil with compost in order to maximize the growth of this species. To prolong the bloom, Royal Star magnolia should be set out in a location that is not excessively windy. If spring frosts are a problem avoid planting this shrub on a southern exposure as the sun’s rays can induce this plant to bloom too early.

Considered pest free.
For assistance, contact Dr. Charles Brun (, (360) 397-6060 5701
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