Magnolia grandiflora “Little Gem”
Little Gem is a compact, evergreen southern magnolia. Although its a slow-grower, it starts blooming at a younger age than most Southern Magnolias, usually when it’s only 2 to 3 years old. Many think Little Gems are dwarf Magnolias but it can actually grow quite large, around 30 – 40 feet. While it is big, this is small when compared to other Southern Magnolias that can grow to 60 plus feet. Little Gem’s thrive in a variety of light conditions, from partial shade to full sun, although it is important to note that too much shade can decrease flowering.
Their foliage is a leathery, dark green on top, and rust-colored on the bottom. This Southern Magnolia has an exceptional bloom time that lasts longer than any other magnolia. In late spring and sporadically throughout the summer, white and very fragrant flowers fill the Little Gem. The flowers are followed by cone-like fruiting clusters with red seeds which are used by a variety of wildlife.
Little Gem is great for planting as a screen or hedge. Its slow growth and smaller stature also makes it good for a long lasting large container plant. It is truly a beautiful tree with outstanding versatility for multiple landscape applications.
Little Gem, Dwarf Southern Mag
Hardy Range: 7A to 10
Mature Height: 40’ to 60’
Mature Spread: 10’ to 15’
Growth Rate: 20 to maturity
Form: upright or erect
The flowers are small, abundant, white, fragrant and showy and last spring through fall. Little Gem has an extended bloom time (10 months). Foliage is black-green with bronzebrown undersides and no change in fall. The fruit is brown and red, dry, elongated, attractive, and edible by birds, and attracts animals.
Soil: well-drained; loamy, sandy or clay
Exposure: partial sun to full sun