A number of spring-blooming magnolias (Magnolia spp.) bear pink flowers. Bloom times are extremely variable, depending on location, species and weather. Bloom duration is unpredictable for the same reasons. Late spring-flowering pink magnolias are less common than early-flowering ones. Pink-flowered late bloomers include the Little Girl series of hybrid lily magnolia (Magnolia liliiflora) and some varieties of saucer magnolia (Magnolia x soulangiana). Pink coloring in magnolias can range from blush to rose-purple.
Saucer magnolia, hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9, grows 20 to 30 feet tall and generally blooms in mid spring. In the species, the flowers can be white, pink or purple, depending on variety. "Big Pink" is a pink-flowered cultivar that blooms later than other saucer cultivars. The flowers are deep rose and even larger than the 5- to 10-inch wide blooms borne by other soulangianas. Because "Big Pink" blooms relatively late, the flowers are less likely to be affected by cold snaps and will last longer on the trees.
Little Girl Hybrids
Little Girl hybrid magnolias are the result of crosses between lily magnolia (Magnolia liliiflora), hardy in USDA zones 5 through 8, and "Rosea", a pink-flowered star magnolia variety (Magnolia stellata "Rosea"), hardy in USDA zones 4 through 8 or 9. The breeders of the Little Girl magnolias deliberately created trees that would flower later than either of the parent varieties, thereby avoiding spring frosts. "Pinkie" (Magnolia "Pinkie") is the lightest pink of the Little Girl series. The Little Girls are hardy in USDA zones 4 to 6b or 7.
The Loebner magnolia "Leonard Messel" (Magnolia x loebneri "Leonard Messel"), hardy in USDA zones 5 through 8 or 9, is a late spring-blooming hybrid of star magnolia and kobus magnolia (Magnolia kobus), hardy in USDA zones 4 through 7 or 8. The backs of the petals are pink, while the fronts have a purple-pink strip. Each flower is 4 to 6 inches across, with 12 to 15 petals apiece. The fragrant flowers are borne on trees that grow 15 to 20 feet tall, with a rounded habit.
"Ballerina" (Magnolia x loebneri "Ballerina") is another Loebner hybrid that flowers in late spring. The flowers are mostly white, but blush pink in the centers. The trees are somewhat shorter than other Loebner hybrids, but they resemble the others in the handsome foliage that is bronze-green in spring, deep green in summer and yellow in fall. Michael A. Dirr, professor emeritus at the University of Georgia, notes that "Ballerina" and the other, mostly white-flowered Loebner hybrids perform as well in the cold climate of Maine (where frosts are late) as they do in warm Athens, Georgia.
- Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, Fifth Edition; Michael A. Dirr
- Growing Shrubs and Small Trees in Cold Climates: Revised and Updated Edition By Nancy Rose, Don Selinger, John Whitman
- University of Illinois Extension: The Homeowners Column -- Use Late Flowering Magnolia Varieties
- The American Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers; Christopher Brickell, Editor-in-Chief
- Photo Credit Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images