Magnolia grandiflora ‘KAY PARRIS’
Evergreen – bull bay magnolias are the queens of flowering trees. We choose the most beautiful and at the same time the hardiest varieties. Ever since Little Gem bull bay magnolia appeared in European market, it has been a sought after variety ever since. Though, not everyone could grow this jewel since its hardiness finished in zone 7 (down to -17°C only). Therefore it is obvious that when a new variety called Kay Parris was introduced many more magnolia lovers got the chance of having a compact variety with increased hardiness.
Kay Parris is a compact growing form of bull bay magnolia that originated in South Carolina, USA, in 1991. It was bred by Kevin Parris. It produces beautiful, white, heavily scented, large flowers – 20-25 cm across. They open from the first hot days of June and keep showing up until early September if the plant is old enough to produce flower buds. Each flower last for 1-3 days only, but they open continuously to keep the shrub decorated for almost 3 months. The leaves are evergreen, leathery, broadly elliptic, rich green and glossy, and covered with rusty indumentum on the undersides.
It grows into a medium-large shrub or a small tree of compact, oval shape. Young plants benefit from pruning in the first 2-3 years in order to achieve a dense framework of bottom branches. Bull bay magnolias need fertile, preferably acid soil and plenty of sun to flower reliably. Keep them mulched at all times and follow a regular watering schedule especially when the plants are young. Older plants have deep roots and absorb a lot of air humidity as well, but still, never let their soil dry out completely. Kay Parris magnolia is hardy to about -24°C (USDA zone 6).
Last update 23-03-2013
Magnolia grandiflora ‘Kay Parris’ AGM
Good to know
Magnolias consist of deciduous and evergreen large shrubs or feature size trees, many with nicely scented flowers in spring and summer. They provide great structure in the garden, as well as stunning flowers in shades of white, pink and purple in early spring, followed by the yellow flowering varieties which tend to be a little later, and can avoid the frosts.
We have an excellent modern range including the latest varieties from top breeders around the world. Being new and grafted, they do cost a bit more, but they are good value compared to other suppliers. Due to delivery constraints, we are only able to send young plants, but these do establish better than mature stock anyway.
Magnolias prefer full sun, cool roots and shelter from strong winds. They are not suitable for growing in patio pots, which they will quickly outgrow. Plant in free draining, moisture retentive neutral to slightly acidic soil, deeply worked with added ericaceous compost. After planting, feed with a good ericaceous fertilizer and mulch well. Apply slow release fertilizer every spring whilst the plant is establishing, at the rate of a teaspoon per 3 litre plant, rising to a handful for a more mature plant. Most stellata hybrids will flower from the 4 litre size, and soulangeana hybrids will flower once they reach about 2 metres high, but be aware that some magnolias (eg campbelli) can take up to 40 years to flower.
Magnolias were amongst the first plants on Earth to reproduce using flowers pollinated by insects. They are native to America and Asia, but not Europe. The Magnolia was named by Linnaeus in commemoration of Pierre Magnol, who was Louis XIV’s doctor and a professor of Botany. Magnolia grandiflora was introduced into Britain from America in 1734. The first magnolias from China arrived around 1780, and proved much hardier than those from America.
Please note: Deer like to rub their antlers on the stems, so a 1 metre high ring of netting protection may be necessary for a few years if you have deer present.
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