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Products > Magnolia grandiflora 'Little Gem'
Magnolia grandiflora 'Little Gem' - Dwarf Southern Magnolia

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Tree
Family: Magnoliaceae (Magnolias)
Origin: Southeast US (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Summer
Fragrant Flowers: Yes
Height: 20-30 feet
Width: 10-15 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: < 0 F
Magnolia grandiflora 'Little Gem' (Dwarf Southern Magnolia) - A small tree that grows in a more compact and upright form than other Southern Magnolia. Listed as maturing within 20 years to a height reaching 20 feet tall and 10 feet wide and easily kept smaller but we have seen older trees of this cultivar approaching 30 feet. The dark green leaves are to 5 inches long by 2 inches wide with an elliptic to oval shape and with the underside having a cinnamon-brown pubescence. The fragrant white flowers, are about 4 to 5 inches wide, so smaller than the size of the flowers of a typical Southern Magnolia. They appear mostly in summer and are followed by cone-like fruiting clusters hold red seeds. Plant in full sun or light shade where it will grow slower with a more open growth habit. Give deep infrequent watering. It is hardy to well below 0 degrees F and useful in USDA Zone 7 through 10, though may become partially deciduous in cold winters in Zone 7. Mulch to keep the roots cool and moist and give an occasional deep soaking in prolonged dry weather. Prune and fertilize in early spring. A great plant for those with less space to plant a typical Southern Magnolia cultivar though trees 30 years old or better have been noted to be as tall as 30 feet. Its slow growth and smaller stature also makes it good for a long lasting large container plant. It requires minimal care once established and is relatively insect and disease free. This cultivar was selected in 1952 by Warren Steed as a seedling from seed collected at Candor, North Carolina. It was grown at U.S. National Arboretum since 1959 and given wider distributed starting in 1974. The species is native to the southeastern United States, from Virginia south to central Florida, and west to eastern Texas and Oklahoma where it grows best on rich, moist, well-drained soils of the bottoms and low uplands. The name for the genus honors the French botanist Pierre Magnol (1638-1715) with the specific epithet from the Latin words 'grandis' meaning "great" or "large" and "flora" for flowers in reference to the large flowers. Other common names include Evergreen Magnolia, Bull Bay, Loblolly Magnolia, Sweet Bay, Swamp Bay, Big-laurel and Large-flower Magnolia. The name Bull Bay reportedly came from the location Bulls Bay in South Carolina that the American plant explorer John Bartram first found, collected and sent specimens of Magnolia grandiflora to England. The plant had also been previously collected and sent to England by British naturalist Mark Catesby in 1726, who was sent on a plant-collecting expedition to the Carolinas on behalf of the Royal Horticultural Society.  The information on this page is based on the research that we have conducted about this plant in the San Marcos Growers library, from what we have found on reliable online sources, as well as from observations made of our crops of this plant growing in the nursery and of plants growing in the nursery's garden and those in other gardens where we may have observed it. We also have incorporated comments received from others and welcome getting feedback from those who may have additional information, particularly if this information includes cultural information that would aid others in growing Magnolia grandiflora 'Little Gem'.