Description & Overview

One of the smallest varieties, Centennial Blush StarMagnolia is touted as one of the best Magnolias for landscapes with its more upright habit and spectacular flower display. Soft pink, fuzzy buds (almost at every node!) open to fragrant, waterlily-like light pink flowers that are borne on leafless branches in mid-spring, creating an exceptional display that has maximum impact. Soon after, green foliage begins to unfurl and outline its interesting branching structure. Late in summer, attractive, cone-like seed pods appear, revealing their reddish-pinkish-orange seeds. In fall, the foliage turns yellowish-bronze as next year’s fuzzy flower buds become visible. Winter will accent the tree’s stately structure and smooth, silvery gray bark.

Core Characteristics

Category: Tree

Wisconsin Native: No - Introduced

USDA Hardiness Zone: to zone 4

Mature Height: 12-18 feet

Mature Spread: 10-15 feet

Growth Rate: Slow

Growth Form: Oval, upright

Light Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade

Site Requirements: Moist, well-drained

Flower: Pale pink, water-lily-like 30 tepals per blossom

Bloom Period: May, mid-spring

Foliage: Green, oblong, 4" long

Fall Color: Yellow-bronze

Urban Approved: Yes

Fruit Notes: Mid-spring, pink cone-like pod containing many red-orange seeds, 2-3" long

Suggested Uses

Centennial Blush Star Magnolia is highly ornamental and should be planted where its spring flowers can be enjoyed. It can be grown as a large shrub or a small tree and is adaptable to most soil types though it does not grow well in poorly drained soils or dry, windy areas.

This is a great residential landscape tree for smaller areas, as it is more upright than other varieties. Place in front of a window to watch the fuzzy flower buds open up into a starry mass of fragrant, beautiful flowers.

It is an excellent choice in a city park setting where those jogging or walking their dogs can appreciate the blooms and fragrance.

Centennial Blush Star looks particularly nice against a dark background, such as a grouping of evergreens that accents the pale flowers.

One of the smallest varieties, Centennial Blush StarMagnolia is touted as one of the best Magnolias for landscapes with its more upright habit and spe…
One of the smallest varieties, Centennial Blush StarMagnolia is touted as one of the best Magnolias for landscapes with its more upright habit and spe…

Wildlife Value

Beetles and Magnolias have a symbiotic relationship, with Magnolias providing food for the beetles and in turn, beetles pollinating the flowers as they move from one blossom to another.

Magnolia’s characteristic structure provides shelter to birds and wildlife, and the seeds provide food for migrating songbirds.

Maintenance Tips

We always recommend contacting a certified arborist for any pruning matters; however, light pruning may be done immediately after flowering if needed. There’s usually little need for pruning, other than to remove broken or crossing branches.

Magnolias prefer consistent moisture and would appreciate a generous mulch layer. It’s especially important to provide regular irrigation throughout the first growing season. Supplemental watering should be performed during times of drought.

Blossoms are susceptible to damage from late frosts or wind and should be planted in a sheltered area.

One of the smallest varieties, Centennial Blush StarMagnolia is touted as one of the best Magnolias for landscapes with its more upright habit and spe…

Pests/Problems

Black Walnut Tolerant: Yes
Deer Resistant: Yes
Rabbit Resistant: No

Potential insect problems include scale, thrips, and weevils. Magnolia scale produces honeydew, a sticky substance as they feed with piercing-sucking mouthparts. This honeydew is a platform for sooty mold, which can harm the tree. Magnolias heavily infested with scale are more prone to winter kill problems. Applying insecticide in early September will kill the susceptible crawler stage when they are out on the new growth.

Rabbits may eat the leaves and seed pods.

Leaf Lore

The genus Magnolia was named after French botanist Pierre Magnol. The specific epithet stellata means “starry.”

Centennial Blush Star was released in 1972 and was named to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the National Arboretum.

Star magnolias (Magnolia stellata) are native to the Japanese island of Honshu.

Traditionally, flowers and flower buds were cooked and eaten or used to make tea. Older leaves were powdered and sprinkled as a seasoning on foods.

Companion Plants

Other mid-spring bloomers that pair nicely with Centennial Blush Star Magnolia include Rozanne Geranium (Geranium ‘Gerwat’ PP12,175), Rome in Red Lenten Rose (Helleborus ‘Rome in Red’), Spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis), Firewitch Dianthus (Dianthus gratianopolitanus ‘Firewitch’), Cat’s Pajamas Catmint (Nepeta ‘Cat’s Pajamas’ PP31,127), Twinkle Toes Lungwort (Pulmonaria ‘Twinkle Toes’ PP30,258), Lucerne Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium ‘Lucerne’), Winterglow Bergenia (Bergenia cordifolia ‘Winterglut’), Blue Emerald Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata ‘Blue Emerald’), Blue Ice Amsonia (Amsonia x ‘Blue Ice’), Stairway to Heaven Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium reptans ‘Stairway to Heaven’ PP15,187), and Large-flowered Bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora).

One of the smallest varieties, Centennial Blush StarMagnolia is touted as one of the best Magnolias for landscapes with its more upright habit and spe…
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Written by Beth DeLain