There are more than 80 types of magnolia trees in the world. They can be evergreen or deciduous, but all are resistant to most diseases and insects. Magnolia trees produce large, fragrant flowers and are easy to grow.
The Southern magnolia can reach a height of 60 to 80 feet and a width of 30 to 50 feet. It is an evergreen with large white flowers. The Southern magnolia is hardy from zones 4 to 7. While most Southern magnolias have a single trunk, some have two. They are most often used as standalone specimen plants.
The cucumber tree, also known as Magnolia acuminata, grows to 60 feet tall and 60 feet wide, although it has been know to grow to more than 100 feet tall in the wild. The cucumber tree is a deciduous (leaf-shedding) tree that produces white flowers in late spring and is hardy in zones 3 to 8. The cucumber tree gets is name from the shape of the pinkish 3-inch fruit that appears in late summer.
The star magnolia is a deciduous tree that grows 15 to 20 feet tall and 10 to 15 feet wide. Large white flowers will appear early in the spring. It is hardy in zones 5 to 9. It is best not to plant a star magnolia in a location with a southern exposure--it can expose the tree to spring frosts that can damage early flowers.
The saucer magnolia is a deciduous tree that grows to about 25 feet tall and 20 feet wide. It produces large white and pink flowers and is hardy in zones 5 to 9. The saucer magnolia can be grown in a container and is a good choice to shade a deck or patio.
There are nine planting zones in the continental United States as designated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Zone 2 is the coldest and zone 10 is the hottest. Zones are determined by the coldest nighttime winter temperatures.