Little Gem Magnolia Tree

Magnolia grandiflora 'Little Gem'

The Little Gem magnolia tree is the sweetest of all South Florida's small flowering trees - compact, hardy, and wonderfully fragrant.

'Little Gem' magnolia flower

The exquisite magnolia flower is said to produce nature's strongest perfume.

Just one blossom can fill a house with its heady scent.

Little Gem magnolia tree blooms while very young, unusual in a magnolia, with a longer bloom season as well.

Bronze-toned leaves provide a striking contrast to the creamy white blossoms and to other greenery in the landscape.

Small, shrubby and easy-care, this dwarf magnolia tree is equally at home in formal gardens or more casual landscaping.

It can be planted almost anywhere there's sunshine - even fairly close to the house. And its compact, upright form makes it an excellent specimen tree for a small yard.

If you prefer a larger, more stately tree, consider the D. D. Blanchard magnolia. 

Plant specs

The Little Gem magnolia tree grows slowly to about 15 to 20 feet.

It's a very cold-hardy tree and does well in all of South Florida (though it actually prefers cooler areas), and further north as well.

The tree produces a heavy bloom in spring and then blooms on and off the rest of the year (more in warm months).

Magnolias are considered to be deer-resistant, though we make no promises.

tree in a front yard

Plant care

Add a combination of composted cow manure and either top soil or organic peat humus to the hole when you plant.

Magnolias are evergreen, prefer a regular watering, and should be fertilized 3 times a year - spring, summer and fall - with a good granular fertilizer. You can supplement feedings with bone meal to promote heavier bloom.

Trimming isn't necessary other than any minor shaping snips you'd like to do.

Fallen leaves of the Little Gem magnolia tree are not the mess that the big magnolias are famous for, though you will have some leaves to pick up now and then.

Plant spacing

Come out at least 5 feet or more from the house. If you're planting a row of dwarf magnolias, place them 6 feet apart...or, for a privacy screen, 4 feet apart is fine.

For planting along a fence, position the tree about 4 feet out.

Though fine in a container while it's young, Little Gem (like most other plants) prefers to have its feet on (or rather, in) the ground.

Landscape uses for Little Gem magnolia

  • center of a circular drive
  • corner of the house accent
  • single yard specimen
  • privacy screen for a window or along a pool cage or patio
  • "hedge" along the property border
  • anchor for a garden bed
  • lining a driveway or fence
  • in pairs on each side of a gate or driveway entrance


COMPANION PLANT SUGGESTIONS: Consider other cold-tolerant plants that will contrast well in color and/or texture: Plum loropetalum, variegated pittisporum, drift rose, foxtail fern, Indian hawthorne and pygmy date palm.

Other small flowering trees you might like: Tibouchina Tree, Crape Jasmine Tree

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