List of Magnolia Trees for Zone 5

Magnolias might seem like a hallmark tree of the south, but that doesn't mean people in Des Moines, Iowa, and Portland, Maine, can't enjoy them too. There are several species of magnolia that are cold-hardy enough to endure minimal temperatures that average between 10 to -20 degrees Fahrenheit, which is what makes an area fall into zone 5.

Magnolias are famous for their large white flowers, although not all magnolias have them.

Cucumbertree Magnolia

Gardeners looking for a fast-growing shade tree can't go wrong with the cucumbertree magnolia (Magnolia acumiate). It grows between 60 to 80 feet tall with a 40-foot spread. It produces greenish-yellow flowers about 4 inches wide in May to early June. Flowers turn into a pinkish-red fruit that resembles a cucumber, which is how the tree gets its name. It can withstand flooding and has a moderate tolerance to drought. Soil should be moist, well-draining in sun to partial shade.

Umbrella Magnolia

One of the most striking features of the umbrella magnolia (Magnolia tripetala) is its 6- to 8-inch white flowers that bloom in May or June. Unfortunately, the flowers tend to have an unpleasant odor. It grows about 15 to 40 feet tall. Plant it in a moist, well-draining soil in partial shade or full sun.

Kobus Magnolia

The Japan-native Korbus magnolia (Magnolia kobus) is a slow-growing tree that typically reaches a height of 25 feet or less in the U.S. Although it does not flower well when it is young, with maturity comes showy white flowers about 3 to 4 inches wide with a light, pleasant fragrance. This is one of the first magnolias to flower in the spring. Plant Korbus magnolias in a well-draining soil in either part-shade or full-sun location. It tolerates a wide range of soil types.

Star Magnolia

The star magnolia (Magnolia stella) is a variety that requires a little pruning to develop a strong, tree-like structure. If not pruned, it tends to resemble a large shrub. It is a hardy magnolia that can withstand some flooding and has a moderate drought tolerance. It produces fragrant, 3- to 4-inch-wide white flowers in the spring. It will grow about 20 feet high and 15 feet wide. For best results, plant it in a rich, slightly acidic soil in full sun.

Sweetbay Magnolia

The sweetbay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana), or swamp magnolia, has 2- to 3-inch-long white flowers with a lemon scent. Flowers are visible, but not showy, in the late spring and early summer and turn into a bright red fruit that is attractive to birds. Its dark green leaves have a silver underside. It should be planted in moist, acidic soil in full sun to partial shade. It grows about 20 to 40 feet tall with a 20-foot width.

Saucer Magnolia

The saucer magnolia (Magnolia x soulangeana) is a hybrid that grows about 20 feet tall with a similar spread. It produces large pinkish purple flowers between late February and early April. Flowers can reoccur over the summer. It is fast-growing and has a good pollution tolerance. Plant it in full sun in a moist, deep, acidic soil.