How to Plant a Magnolia Star Tree

Magnolia star trees bloom white star-shaped flowers image by Dawn Sword/


Magnolia stars (Magnolia kobus var. stellata), also known as star magnolias, are trees that bloom white, long-petaled, star-shaped flowers in the spring, even before the leaves appear. They are suitable for colder climates and grow in USDA hardiness zones four through nine. Magnolia stars should be planted in the spring.

Step 1

Purchase a container-grown magnolia star tree from your local nursery. Be sure it is healthy, pest-free and disease-free. Magnolia star trees with roots that are balled or covered in burlap do not transplant as well as ones still in their containers.

Step 2

Select a location in full sun. While magnolia star tree can tolerate some shade, it will not bloom as much as ones in full sun. It may also not grow as symmetrically as ones planted in full sun. In addition, plant in a location that is protected from strong winds.

Step 3

Add several inches of compost or peat moss to your soil if it is not already well-draining. Mix in with your regular soil in the planting location.

Step 4

Dig a hole that is about three times as wide as the magnolia star's container. As for depth, just dig it as deep as the depth as the container.

Step 5

Take your tree out of the container and place it in the center of the hole. Be sure it is completely straight. Have a second person help you so one can hold the tree and the other can backfill the soil. Backfill it half way and water well. Pat down the soil to get rid of any air pockets. Fill the rest of the way, water and pat down again.

Step 6

Cover the planting site with a couple of inches of mulch, such as bark mulch. This will help retain water and keep the plant's roots warm during the winter months. Reapply as necessary.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost of peat moss
  • Mulch
  • Water


  • Sunset Plant Finder
  • University of Minnesota of Extension Service
Keywords: Magnolia kobus var. stellata, Zone star magnolia, grow magnolia

About this Author

Melissa Lewis is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has also written for various online publications. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Photo by: Dawn Sword/