Magnolia stellata Jane Platt

Magnolia stellata “Jane Platt” – Star Magnolia

More than a dozen 5cm long finger-like petals in each flower, covering this large bush before the leaves open.


This is a large multi-stemmed bush or small tree, up to 3M tall, with an open growth habit. Once mature this plant seems to regulate its size. The guardian of this plant in front of the Rudolf Steiner school in Motueka reports that it has hardly grown at all in ten years that he has been there. Probably not best planted close to a house as the roots do have a habit of finding, and blocking, drains. “Jane Platt” has the Award of Garden Merit (AGM) from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) in the UK.


M. stellata comes from Japan and the species is now found growing wild in only a relatively small area of central Honshū island. It grows by streamsides and in moist, boggy areas. It was introduced into the USA in 1868 and the UK in 1877 and has been widely planted as an ornamental, being suitable for smaller gardens.

Soil / Aspect:

Ornamental M. stellata varieties seem not to require the damp soils preferred by the species. They do tolerate a range of pH but prefer the acid soils found in Karin’s Garden. The one thing they do not like is frosts or cold winds when the buds are just opening. In the UK many is the time that just one cold night has destroyed a year’s worth of flower.


Plant in a large hole with plenty of organic matter and water well in the first year, and then in dry periods for the first five years. This is a slow growing plant and you really do not want to be pruning it at all. If you have to, then prune immediately after flowering to avoid reducing the next year’s flowering.  The flower are sterile, but propagation may be done by root cuttings in mid-summer, once the flower buds have formed.