PlantFiles is getting a new look! Just in time for spring, we're rolling out a new look for the best online plants database. It will also work with your smart phones and mobile devices, so now you can take it with you on garden center visits or botanical garden tours. Questions or comments? Please post them here.

Southern Magnolia
Magnolia grandiflora 'Little Gem'

Family: Magnoliaceae
Genus: Magnolia (mag-NO-lee-a) (Info)
Species: grandiflora (gran-dih-FLOR-uh) (Info)
Cultivar: Little Gem

Category:

Trees

Height:

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

Spacing:

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Danger:

N/A

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Foliage:

Grown for foliage

Evergreen

Smooth-Textured

Other details:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

By grafting

By air layering

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

Regional

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

,

Little Rock, Arkansas

Arcadia, California

Oakley, California

Van Nuys, California

Wildomar, California

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Wilmington, Delaware

Auburndale, Florida

Bartow, Florida

Dunnellon, Florida

Maitland, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Palm Bay, Florida

Punta Gorda, Florida

Barnesville, Georgia

Decatur, Georgia

Bargersville, Indiana

Williams, Indiana

Dawson Springs, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

New Orleans, Louisiana (2 reports)

Scott, Louisiana

Millersville, Maryland

Carriere, Mississippi

Las Vegas, Nevada

Brooklyn, New York

Roslyn, New York

Yonkers, New York

Raleigh, North Carolina

Wake Forest, North Carolina

Norristown, Pennsylvania

Souderton, Pennsylvania

Columbia, South Carolina

Mount Pleasant, South Carolina (2 reports)

Okatie, South Carolina

Summerville, South Carolina

Crossville, Tennessee

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee

Austin, Texas

Bedford, Texas

Converse, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Houston, Texas

Katy, Texas

New Caney, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Spring, Texas

Charlottesville, Virginia

Richmond, Virginia

Round Hill, Virginia

Ames Lake, Washington

Spanaway, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

9
positives
1
neutral
0
negatives
RatingContent
Positive

On Nov 29, 2014, snowbound from Minneapolis, MN wrote:

I live in the frozen North, our winters are brutal; but I have a Little Gem magnolia in a large wooden container that I bring inside for the winter. So far I have had it for 2 years and it is beautiful, even now in November I have a flower blooming! I realize I probably won't be able to keep it surviving for ever but I will do my best. I will prune it a little next spring to keep it smaller, I adore southern magnolias and thought I would give this one a try, I have a lot of other magnolias which survive our winters outside, I definitely have a "thing" for all magnolias; but I love the large, glossy leaves of the southern ones and their larger flowers. So I keep telling my Little Gem how beautiful she is and hope I can keep her for a very long time.

Positive

On Jan 19, 2014, billyvanbakker from Yonkers, NY wrote:

Wone this at a silent auction at The New York Botanical Garden 25 years ago. Planted it against my home, Eastern exposure. Have suffered some snow load damage. Now it's about 21'. This magnolia blooms from June till frost in my zone 7 NY garden. Best of all 3 southern magnolia cultivars I grow.

Positive

On Jun 3, 2010, 1501island from Fort Lauderdale, FL wrote:

I planted this tree in a north facing patio in fort lauderdale,fl about a year ago. It gets about 6 or 7 hours of full sun in the summer, and no sun in the winter. I fed it as directed in the early spring and have enormous new leaf growth and about 8 blooms already. Does anyone know what is going on? there is so much leaf growth that hasn't laid down yet, the blooms don't have the room to fully open! Any feed back appreciated.
Thanks!

Positive

On Jul 24, 2006, janlark from Auburndale, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Gorgeous small tree, symmetrical, slow to moderate growth, bronze underside to foliage adds interest, although some don't like it. Very little pruning needed except to remove suckers. Blooms prolifically although blossoms are short lived. We have two.

Positive

On May 11, 2006, violabird from Barnesville, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

I highly recommend Little Gem. Stuck in a pot for 5 months it survived hot, wet, dry and dusty, the hurricane winds and still kept blooming. The huge fragrant flowers smell like lemon and I currently have 6 buds right now @ 5', it blooms late spring to fall for me. The only problem is the Japanese Beetles like it too.

Positive

On Mar 5, 2005, TREEHUGR from Now in Orlando, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

According to the tag on the tree (from the nursery) the Little Gem is the fastest growing of them all. Even though it doesn't get that tall (max's out at about 20'), it's supposedly faster growing. I'm curious to know for sure if someone has compared the growth rate.

Positive

On Dec 6, 2004, mantis212 from Roslyn, NY (Zone 7a) wrote:

Dec 6, 2004
Here in Long island on the Sound side next to Queens, this amazing mini-evergreen tree has survived and thrived in some of my zone's (6/7) nastiest weather. This will be its third winter and not one leave has browned or dropped do to the cold. When I purchased my "Little Gem" from a mail-order web site, it was all of 18" tall and already WITH TWO BUDS! I only paid $9 for it ! It has bloomed all three seasons that it has been in the ground. It gives me one or two blooms constantly all growing season but amazingly it's had five blooms at once. These flowers are huge on such a small and young tree. At 5" to 6" each, just one flower open is stunning. In the time it has graced my garden, it has grown to around 4'. As a testiment to Little Gem's blooming season range, ... read more

Neutral

On Mar 15, 2004, patischell from Fort Pierce, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

The Florida Nurserymen and Growers Association has just chosen this plant to be one of it's "Plant of the Year" This program was established in 1998 by the FNGA to promote underused but proven plant material. For a plant to be considered a Florida Plant of the Year, it must have good pest resistance, require reasonable care and be fairly easy to grow.

Positive

On Jun 17, 2003, akitakitty from Gonzales, LA wrote:

I purchased a 'little gem' shortly after they became available at local nurseries 9 years ago and had extremely good results with it. in spite of planting it near the canopy of a water oak. it is probably 12-14 feet tall now and other than the usual "leaf litter" i would recommend it. i also started one from seed (very easy to do)2 years ago and it is about 2 feet tall in a pot. the fact that i live in so. louisiana (which is similar to the tropics) probably benefits the rate of growth. they are extremely popular down here and are beautiful planted as an evergreen screen or in groups of three.

Positive

On Jan 6, 2003, WAYNEB wrote:

'Little Gem' is a popular cultivar. It is more compact and slower growing than the species, usually reaching about half the height of the species. Height in the northern part of its range ( zones 6 and 7 ) will be closer to 15' to 25' and in warmer areas may approach 40'. The leaves are also about half the size of the species while the flowers are approximately the
same full size as the species.