What’s the best Yellow-flowering Magnolia?

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What’s the best Yellow-flowering Magnolia?

Categories: Blog, Newsworthy

I have gotten several requests to recommend the best new “yellow-flowering magnolia.”  It’s a tough question to answer so here are some pictures of Powell Gardens’ new yellow-flowering Magnolias.  Most are still greenish or creamy and combinations of yellow but I find that combination quite beautiful!

Here’s Magnolia ‘Sunsation’ with large flowers of substance and a unique blush of pink and green. It grows on the south side of the Visitor Center trolley stop.

Here’s fresh new flowers of Magnolia ‘Solar Flare’ that start our lovely apple green then fade to creamy light yellow as they age.  Solar Flare Magnolia grows east of the walk off the northeast corner of the Visitor Center’s Conservatory.

Magnolia ‘Lemonade’ has light yellow flowers with a flush of rose at the base, you can sort of see on the lower left side of the top flower.  Our Lemonade has been a favorite deer antler rubbing tree so has been reduced to a bush twice — it’s off to the east of the Fountain Garden.

Magnolia ‘Maxine Merrill’ is possibly my favorite of the yellow hybrids.  This tree is off the Dogwood Walk  (in background of image)and has never missed a bloom season.  This image shows a first day open flower (right) and a second day flower (left).  It’s a soft yellow with only a slight greenish overtone.  Sweet!

This is a first bloom for us: Magnolia ‘Luminescence’ which is nigh impossible to find in the trade.  It is hard to capture the luminous character of its flowers which range from greenish, creamy yellow on the outside to glowing cream in the center.  Luminous indeed!  You can see this tree at the beginning of the Dogwood Walk.

Magnolia ‘Yellow Bird’ has deeper yellow flowers but is pretty leafy when it blooms.  It is back-crossed with the Missouri native Cucumbertree (Magnolia acuminata), the parent of ALL yellow-flowering magnolias as it’s the only species with yellow pigment.  Magnolia Yellow Bird is on the lower part of the Dogwood Walk on the upper side towards the Visitor Center.

Here’s a picture of me in a Cucumbertree (Magnolia acuminata) in Loose Park.  Cucumbertrees become huge trees at maturity and have greenish-yellow flowers that won’t be out for a few more weeks.  Powell Gardens’ largest tree is over 20 feet tall in the Perennial Garden while this tree in Loose Park is around 80 years old.  They are a spectacular shade tree!

The later flowering magnolias are currently in bloom at Powell Gardens, the early varieties were spectacular but a frost hurt some of the mid-season varieties.  The late season blooming cultivars are gorgeous now — all the above photos taken at Powell Gardens were on Sunday or today.