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Ashe Magnolia, Magnolia Ashei: Dramatic Focal Point for the Shade Garden

Magnolia Macrophylla, more commonly called Bigleaf Magnolia, is a very rare plant native to the Southeastern United States. It is one of the most beautiful plants I have ever seen. Huge leaves can be up to 18 inches long! The flower is large--up to 6 inches across--and very fragrant. If pollinated, a seedpod will develop that sports very juicy-looking red seeds that are very ornamental, providing food for the birds.

Magnolia ‘Ashei’ is a variety of Bigleaf Magnolia that blooms at an earlier age than others. Shown in the photo above is our own plant with a bloom while only slightly taller than knee high.

Smaller and more bushy than macrophylla, Ashe Magnolia reaches a height of about 15 feet with a spread of about 12 feet, growing in a more rounded form.

Hardiness: USDA Zones 6 - 9.

Site: Prefers moist woodland soil rich in organic matter.

Light: Partial shade. Tolerates morning sun. (Needs plenty of moisture with more sun.)

Water: Needs regular water.

While some botanists have put this magnolia as a subspecies of Magnolia macrophylla in the past, the new Flora of North America has decided Ashei is a species in itself. It is much smaller & often multi-trunked, blooming at an earlier age (3 to 4 years). Magnolia ashei is the rarest Magnolia in North America.

Magnolia Macrophylla will provide a tropical look to your garden and is at home in any southern style garden. Provide some shelter from wind and hot sun, since the huge leaves are somewhat sensitive.

Source for this plant: Shady Gardens Nursery.