Big magnolia is little seen

Rare trees for your garden

Sometimes native plants are tough to find! We'd love any leads on this one:

Do you happen to know a source for (that bigleaf magnolia you showed in issue #171) Magnolia macrophylla 'Whopper'? I have a perfect place for it. I appreciate the warning about the falling leaves in fall, it is the sort of thing we just don't think of in the excitement of seeing something new. - C.V. -

Glad to hear we're giving you useful information, and happy to put you on the hunt, but sorry to say we have no source for that variety. There are so many plant species and varieties that no one can carry them all. As they go in and out of vogue, they also rotate out of production.

Keep an eye on the market through one of our favorite plant source databases, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum's plant finder. Not every nursery is included but oh so many are.

You might contact some growers of the species  M. macrophylla  to arrange a special order. We've known the folks at Gossler Farms and Greer Gardens (both listed in that database as bigleaf magnolia growers) to do some special growing. It all starts with a request such as, "If you have a stock plant of 'Whopper', would you care to start one for me?"


Did you know...

That the bigleaf magnolia (M. macrophylla), native from Maryland, southern Ohio and Kentucky on down to the Gulf Coast, is endangered in Arkansas and Ohio, and threatened in Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia?

If growing an endangered species makes you nervous, do your homework before you select a site. Site is the critical element in any plant's welfare.

At, which exists:

"to assist people who want to help preserve these rare (native tree) species by growing them on their own properties or other suitable locations in their communities"

we're admonished to:

"Give this plant moist well-drained soil, and water it during droughts. A mulch will help keep the soil moist. If possible, put it in a sheltered spot where strong winds are less likely to shred the leaves."