New Series: A Few of My Favorite Things – ‘Kay Parris’ Magnolia

IMG_0788‘Kay Parris’ Magnolia Blossom

If you have a small garden you can still grow a Magnolia. Consider ‘Little Gem,’ which I have grown in two of my past gardens. I planted two ‘Kay Parris’ magnolias (a seedling of ‘Little Gem-next generation) in my last garden, and couldn’t leave one of them behind. A little dazed at first, this Magnolia has settled into the new garden at “The Cottage for Two.” It is doing great.

IMG_0792A Year After Transplanting

‘Kay Parris’ is a fast grower, with a more refined, upright habit than Little Gem. There are pure white flowers that begin to set in late spring here in North Carolina and blooming now. They will sporadically bloom into summer. The foliage on this tree is attractive starting with new growth that is pink, quickly turning bright green on top, fuzzy orange-brown on the underside. The leaves have rippled edges that add texture to the garden.IMG_0793

Expect it to reach 6-9 feet tall and 10 feet wide at maturity. Drainage does not have to be perfect, as long as the soil stays consistently moist and never completely dries out. Kay Parris is also very adaptable to pruning and is one of the more cold-hardy cultivars available.  Zones 6-9.

IMG_0789I highly recommend a lovely article written by Rachel Billington  reflecting on the Magnolia tree outside her childhood bedroom. She includes great info and photos.


About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her:
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3 Responses to New Series: A Few of My Favorite Things – ‘Kay Parris’ Magnolia

  1. pbmgarden says:

    Hard to believe it’s over a year at your Cottage for Two. I’ve never heard of this Magnolia. Beautiful photo of the flower.

  2. Since getting an I-phone, I use the camera on my phone. It is convenient to run into the garden for a quick photograph, but I’m never satisfied with the color, which your photographs always have. ‘Kay Parris’ is a great choice for small gardens.

  3. I love magnolias, one of the things about the South that soothes my soul. We planted a magnolia in our yard but it was completely eaten by deer, poor thing!

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