Ask Elaine: Spring Blooming Trees

Dear Elaine,

I know that the snow will eventually stop, and I am looking forward to a blast of color and flowers soon. What landscape trees can we expect to bloom in April? I like the tree near the Gazebo.

Thank you.

Dear Audrey,

Ahhh spring! Daffodils, tulips, hyacinth, and many more flowering bulbs. The spring-blooming tree near the Gazebo and Laurel Pond is a magnolia, specifically, saucer magnolia (Magnolia x soulangeana).

Magnolias are great and noble flowering trees. The famous “father of botany,” Linnaeus, named the magnolia for a French botanist, Pierre Magnol. Magnolias are the oldest of the true flowering plants and have been very successful on a global level by the way that they are located in many parts of the world.

Magnolias species can be deciduous or evergreen. The flowers will appear in spring before the leaves emerge in yulan, saucer and star magnolia. They bloom so early in the spring that the buds and blooms can be damaged by frosts and freezes. Sometimes there is a good bloom only one out of every three years. The evergreen magnolias bloom later in the season (southern magnolia, Magnolia grandiflora, and sweetbay magnolia, Magnolia virginiana).

Stroll through the roads and paths of Laurelwood Arboretum. Besides the saucer magnolia by the Gazebo, notice the star magnolia up Brook Road and Ridge Road. Sadly, our yulan magnolia near the Pines Lake Drive parking lot fell during a storm two years ago. Evergreen ‘Edith Bogue’ southern magnolia is growing well in the Native Plant Garden.

As plant nursery open for spring, pick out a magnolia in bloom to bring home for your garden. Notice the scent. The star magnolia is the smallest species — ten feet tall by eight to ten feet wide. Saucer magnolia grows to about 25 feet in height with an equal spread. Give the southern magnolia lots of room; it can reach 60 feet into the sky and 40 feet in width.

Think spring!

Elaine Fogerty, Executive Director

Scroll to Top