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Plant of the Week: Magnolia ‘Leonard Messel’

Magnolia ‘Leonard Messel’ is the Plant of the Week this week. This small tree or large shrubs is a delight of spring. It has a very nice habit and can fit into many locations of the landscape. I chose this tree in my own yard for its fragrance and early bloom.

Like most magnolias in Northeast Kansas, ‘Leonard Messel’ is an early bloomer. The double pink blossoms arrive in April and can be cut short by a late freeze. The flowers can be attractive to early foraging bumblebees and honeybees.

I believe that the magnolia is vastly underutilized in our area.  With different options of leaves, flowers, size, and growth habit, this is an extremely versatile tree that has something for just about everyone – Nick Haedt, Certified Arborist at Grimm’s Gardens

This tree grows 10 to 15 feet tall and wide. It can be used as a screen for early fragrance, as a focal point, or near a house. The leaves of this magnolia are dark green and narrow, turning yellow in autumn. If you cut the branches, there is a sweet spicy fragrance from the cut wood.

Magnolia Leonard Messel in bloom

I have not noticed any major pest problems with this tree. I have not seen Japanese beetles attack it, nor does it get any fungus or leaf spot. One of my customers has one on the northeast corner of a building, and it is not harmed by winter winds.

Magnolia Leonard Messel flower closeup

I love my ‘Leonard Messel’ magnolia for its fragrance, which is like a mixture of gardenia, jasmine, and cloves. It looks great in my front landscape surrounded by perennials. – Andrew Mitchell, Nursery Specialist at Grimm’s Gardens

I often get customers coming to our Open House in April, looking for small trees for their yard. I love to recommend this magnolia to them, despite its issues with late freeze cycles. Come to the Garden Center in spring for our Open House or check out our selection of trees online.

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