Ashe's Magnolia represents one of those rare finds that often defies normal botanical explanations. How can a plant found growing in Florida survive Michigan? It turns out this relative of the Macrophylla magnolia is one durable plant able to grow in a wide variety of habitats and yet thrive even in much colder zones outside the panhandle of Florida.
I started growing this tree thinking its large leaves would be an ideal shade tree and have a powerful cooling effect if planted in the right spot. The deer at my farm had other ideas and kept rubbing it. This set it back. Then finally after a few other shrubs of multiflora rose blocked its use by the deer the plant grew even more vigorously as the root system was well established and with the herbivores gone, it threw a 6 ft. whip. After that the tree began to flower and set fruit. The 8 to 12 inch flowers are magnificent in the spring and have an almost prehistoric look to it with the large leaves emerged.
I feel this is a one zone colder strain of this magnolia which could grow throughout zone 5. Because of the healthy leaves and the tree itself would make a beautiful ornamental tree not seen in most gardens.
Seeds were extracted and kept moist in peat and sand. The peat and sand are removed monthly and the seeds are washed periodically to prevent rotting. The seeds are stored in a refrigerator to prevent rotting and to start the dormancy.
To germinate the seeds. Continue the dormancy for 90 days and then move to room temperature. Seeds will then sprout over the course of a month. Plant the sprouted seeds barely covering the seed. Seeds will throw a root down and top growth will occur at the same time. Watch for damp off. The seeds are usually fairly tolerant to damp off compared to apple seedlings.
|Genus & Species||Magnolia asheii|
|Seed Source||Florida. Cultivated source using specifically dwarf plants now established and fruiting in Michigan.|
|Hardiness||Has taken -20 F several times. -27 F took a portion of the top half way back to the trunk. At least one zone colder than other seedlings on the market today.|
|Height (ft)||15-30 ft. with equal width.|
|Pollination Requirements||Self fertile if you are continuing this line of hardy seedlings.|
|Soil||Likes moist soil rich in organic matter. Prefers pollution free soil rich in compost.|
|Climate||Zone 5 to 9|
|Ease of Cultivation||Easy to establish and grow compared to other magnolias. Prefers a site that is sheltered to some extent and may not grow well in hot dry sites with high winds. It can take 3 years to really get going and flowering. Some people have flowered the plants when only a few feet tall. For me they took about 10 years to flower from seed.|