Little Gem Magnolia Tree ( Magnolia grandiflora ‘Little Gem’)

Little Gem Magnolia
Little Gem Magnolia

This magnolia came with the house. It was overshadowed by an oak. When I pulled all the over grown heather out of the bed it was planted in, I found paint and paint thinner. The contractors cleaning the home for sale had used that bed as a dumping area for chemicals.

This magnolia is not as full as the traditional grandiflora. There are several in the neighborhood, none are fuller than mine. They tend to look scraggly even when happy. They grow 15′-20′ tall and 8′-10′ wide. They are very slow to grow and slower to fill out, but the upside of that is that it won’t shade out everything around it like a traditional magnolia will do.

I find they flower more profusely and longer than the traditional magnolias.

They prefer full sun, watering needs are average.  They do prefer the regular rains of the east coast to our flood/drought climate.

Houston summers and cold winters like the ’09/’10 do not bother this tree.

Magnolias, this one especially, shed leaves in the spring, not to panic when that happens. This is normal. The first year we were here it shed almost all its leaves. It is shedding less each year, but will always drop some leaves come spring.

Oils can be used to control scale, we’ve had good luck with orange oil available at most plant stores. I find if any branches are at or near ground level scale will attack. Keep the bottom of the tree trimmed up.

Magnolias are one of the oldest flowering plants containing about 177,000 different species. The name is from French botanist Pierre Magnol.

Surviving the 3 months of extreme heat and drought summer 2011. It never really looked good, so I chopped it down. Now there is a very healthy magnolia growing from the roots. It’s too soon to tell if it’s a Little Gem or it’s a Southern One that had a Little Gem grafted onto the root stock?

Magnolia grandiflora, Little Gem