Magnolia ‘Little Gem’ is an evergreen magnolia which is a cultivar of Magnolia grandiflora and is readily available for sale in most states.
Although sometimes referred to as a ‘dwarf variety’ Magnolia ‘Little Gem’ will still reach 5m depending on conditions. Admired for its foliage which has a felted brown appearance on the underside and is a nice glossy green on the upper side (see picture below left) ‘little gem’ also carries fragrant white flowers from late spring through summer.
These useful landscaping plants were first developed in the 1950s and have certainly proved themselves in cultivation.
‘Little Gem’ prefers a moist but well drained soil and a sunny position, it grows well in many climate zones however growth will be quicker in warmer climates.
Water well for the first two years and provide a cool root run by mulching well. After settling in water is usually only required during summer or dry periods.
- Growth rate is average around 6′ in 4-5 years and eventually reaching 15′ with a spread of 10′ depending on conditions.
- Can also be grown in a large pot or container if pruned to maintain a smaller size.
- Grows well in Zones 7-9.
- Overwatering or poor drainage are the main problems.
- Over fertilising can also be a problem.
- Generally these plants require little care once established except pruning to size if required.
Prune Magnolia ‘Little Gem’ in early spring to keep in shape or to a smaller size if required. Like most plants spent flowers can be removed to improve appearance and encourage a second flush of flowers.
Magnolia grandiflora ‘little gem’ with its dense foliage can be used as a screen or hedging plant also suitable as a specimen tree. Growth rate is average around 6′ in 4-5 years and eventually reaching 15′ – 20′ depending on conditions. Also works well in a large pot or container.
Best suited to USDA zones 7 – 9.