Ohio’s Blooming Magnolia Trees

Updated on March 14, 2018
TeriSilver profile image

Teri Silver is a journalist, commercial copywriter, editor, broadcast anchor, and Public Relations Specialist.

Magnolias are not only a symbol of America’s southern states—deciduous, evergreen, and semi-evergreen magnolia trees are growing throughout the country. In Ohio, our ever-changing spring weather determines when the most popular magnolia tree species will start to bloom.

There are four native magnolia (Magnoliaceae) species in Ohio; each has its unique characteristics. Depending on the weather, these flowering trees will bloom in early to late spring (March to June). However, when winter months yield unseasonably warm temperatures, magnolia tree flowers may start budding too early. Inevitably, falling temperatures and late frosts will damage the buds—keeping them from emerging into beautiful flowers.

Maggie is in full bloom!
Maggie is in full bloom!

Ohio’s U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zones are 5b, 6a and 6b. Suitable magnolia species are Cucumber Tree, Umbrella, Tulip Tree, and Bigleaf.

There are a variety of cultivars for each species.

Cucumber tree magnolia flower
Cucumber tree magnolia flower

Cucumber Tree

The Cucumber Tree (Magnolia x acuminata) is one of the hardiest and most common of Ohio’s magnolia species. Its leaves are about 10 inches long and 5 inches wide. When growing in slightly acidic soil, these trees will reach up to 70 feet high and span 30 feet wide–they typically bloom in late May with greenish yellow bell-shaped flowers.

Cucumber magnolia trees sprout in forests and woodlands around the state; some grow in Central Ohio counties but they mostly populate northern and eastern thickets. Transplanting cucumbertree magnolias is best done in early spring. Seedlings are often used as root stock for growing many ornamental cultivars.

Cucumbertree leaves are ovate, large, alternating and medium green; they turn chartreuse or light brown in the fall. The flower is several inches long. In the summer, cucumbertree magnolias sprout young fruits that do resemble tiny cucumbers. Mid-summer buds are silvery-green and fuzzy.

Umbrella magnolia tree flower
Umbrella magnolia tree flower

Umbrella Magnolia

One of the smaller species, Umbrella Magnolia (Magnolia x tripetala) grows up to 30 feet high with clustering leaves that are about 18 to 25 inches long. Seen mainly in southern counties (Jackson, Scioto, Vinton), Umbrella magnolias are an endangered species in Ohio. The blooms have six or nine yellow-white petals that sprout in late May; they are about 6 to 12 inches long.

Bigleaf magnolia tree bloom
Bigleaf magnolia tree bloom

Bigleaf Magnolia

Suitable for Ohio’s USDA plant hardiness zones 5 and 6, the Bigleaf Magnolia (Magnolia x macrophylla) is a rare deciduous species with leaves that grow from 12 to 36 inches long. This magnolia tree’s ivory flowers have six petals; they are 8 to 10 inches across. Depending on the environment, bigleaf magnolia trees can grow to nearly 60 feet tall in full sun or partial shade but their average height is 30 to 40 feet. Trees may suffer ice and wind damage, especially when buds emerge before the final frost of spring.

Tuliptree magnolia flower
Tuliptree magnolia flower

Tuliptree Magnolia

Tuliptree magnolias (Liriodendron x tulipifer) are most notable for their yellow and greenish foliage and colorful tulip-like flowers. Growing in Ohio (and other areas of USDA zones 4 through 9), tuliptree leaves emerge in spring and bring flowers by the middle of June. Tuliptrees may grow to more than 100 feet high and four feet around; they thrive in damp woodlands, forests, and water-draining downhill slopes.

Magnolia tree varieties bloom in white, pink, magenta, yellow, and many hues in between.
Magnolia tree varieties bloom in white, pink, magenta, yellow, and many hues in between.

Recommended Magnolia Trees for Ohio

The USDA Plant Hardiness Zones are established by combining the lowest average temperatures over a specific time period. In Ohio, the zones are 5b to 6b—between minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit and zero. Some magnolia tree cultivars suitable for Ohio include:

  • Magnolia virginiana ‘Sweet Bay’: leaves are thin and green with white flowers that bloom in May or June. The tree grows from 15 to 30 feet tall and wide. Varieties of ‘Australis’ and ‘Jim Wilson Moonglow’ are popular Sweet Bay magnolias.
  • Magnolia soulangeana ‘Saucer Magnolia’: growing up to 20 feet tall and wide, the flowers often bloom in March (and may be damaged in extremely cold weather). ‘Alexandrina’ and ‘Lennei’ are recommended for zone 6.
  • Magnolia grandiflora ‘Brackens Brown Beauty’: (Southern Magnolia); evergreen with large dark green foliage and perfumed white flowers. Trees grow to about 30 feet tall in direct or filtered sunlight. Blooms in May or June.
  • Magnolia stellate ‘Star Magnolia’: a small tree—growing about 15 feet tall—with white flowers. Blooms in early spring. ‘Royal Star’ and ‘Waterlily’ are cultivars that grow well in zones 5b to 6b.

Consult your local garden store, greenhouse or nursery for advice on the magnolia cultivars (and colors) most suitable for your yard or landscape.

Frost damage
Frost damage

Frost Damage to Magnolia Trees and Shrubs

In Ohio, we often get late spring frosts; no surprise there! Temperatures drop when the sky is clear because there are no clouds to keep heat close to the earth. Frost protection strategies may include irrigation or wind turbines, but these methods are meant for large commercial operations; they are not practical for residential yards and landscapes.

One simple way to protect trees and shrubs from damaging frost is to cover them with light sheets or plastic cloths–if it can be done. Smaller trees and bushes are easy to manage, however, larger magnolias (and other trees) in your landscape can be damaged; there is very little we can do about it. Remove the sheets when the sun comes up because direct sunlight over heat covers can lead to tree and leaf damage.

Questions & Answers

  • I live in Ohio. My magnolia tree has scale, and has been treated several times with Neem oil. The tree is still heavily infested. Do you have any suggestions?

    Scale insects that suck sap from the host tree can cause damage, if they remove large amounts, but otherwise, magnolias tolerate small infestations. One thing to do; keep the tree healthy by pruning dead branches, watering, and mulching. Depending on how widespread the scale infestation on your magnolia is, you can manage it without chemicals. Neem oil really can be effective, but the process for killing off insects is very slow. It is a product that messes with insects' brainwaves, causing them to stop eating and mating -- eventually. You might find that it will be very effective in the long run, but it is not a chemical insecticide that works overnight. Scale insects are vulnerable when they are in the "crawler" stage -- insecticidal soaps and horticultural oils typically do work on them --- but not so much as adults. Adults die off after reproducing (you can remove their bodies by hand). I cannot make a particular brand recommendation here, unfortunately, but you can check with your local nursery or garden store for insecticidal soaps and organic products that will help destroy scale in its infancy.

  • How do I determine hardiness zone?

    Most of Ohio is in USDA plant hardiness zone 6a, where average cold hardy temperatures are minus 10 to minus 5. Some parts of Southern Ohio are in USDA zone 6b, where the cold hardy temps are five below to zero (degrees Fahrenheit). There are a couple of areas around the state at 5b (minus 15 to minus 10). The United States Department of Agriculture's Plant Hardiness Zones map is available on its website, through this page: http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/

  • Where can I find seedlings of the pink and white hued Magnolia in front of the White House?

    Southern magnolia trees are noted to live up to 120 years in the right climatic environments. The magnolia tree at the White House is called a Jackson Magnolia; Andrew Jackson planted it in memory of his wife, who had died within days of his election (1828). The story is that Rachel Jackson wanted to plant a sprig of a tree growing on their Tennessee farm. In 2017, arborists recommended the removal of the nearly 200-year-old dying tree; saying it would have been removed a long time ago if it was not "historic." The upside is that groundskeepers at the White House kept offshoots of the tree, which are growing in a greenhouse. The "baby" is to be planted at the White House.

    To the best of my knowledge, seedlings of the original Jackson Magnolia are not available to the public. You might inquire with your local congressional representative's office.

© 2018 Teri Silver

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • TeriSilver profile imageAUTHOR

    Teri Silver 

    6 months ago from The Buckeye State

    Thank you!

  • Angel Guzman profile image

    Angel Guzman 

    6 months ago from Joliet, Illinois

    An article like this makes you appreciate nature and want to take a walk around beauty. Good read and great pictures.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, dengarden.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://dengarden.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)