Hardy Magnolia Varieties – Learn About Zone 6 Magnolia Trees

By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

Growing magnolias in zone 6 climates may seem like an impossible feat, but not all magnolia trees are hothouse flowers. In fact, there are more than 200 species of magnolia, and of those, many beautiful hardy magnolia varieties tolerate the chilly winter temperatures of USDA hardiness zone 6. Read on to learn about a few of the many types of zone 6 magnolia trees.

How Hardy are Magnolia Trees?

Hardiness of magnolia trees varies widely depending on the species. For example, Champaca magnolia (Magnolia champaca) thrives in humid tropical and subtropical climates of USDA zone 10 and above. Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) is a slightly tougher species that tolerates relatively mild climates of zone 7 through 9. Both are evergreen trees.

Hardy zone 6 magnolia trees include Star magnolia (Magnolia stellata), which grows in USDA zone 4 through 8, and Sweetbay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana), which grows in zones 5 through 10. Cucumber tree (Magnolia acuminata) is an extremely tough tree that tolerates extreme cold winters of zone 3.

Hardiness of Saucer magnolia (Magnolia x soulangiana) depends on the cultivar; some grow in zones 5 through 9, while others tolerate climates as far north as zone 4.

Generally, hardy magnolia varieties are deciduous.

Best Zone 6 Magnolia Trees

Star magnolia varieties for zone 6 include:

  • ‘Royal Star’
  • ‘Waterlily’

Sweetbay varieties that will thrive in this zone are:

  • ‘Jim Wilson Moonglow’
  • ‘Australis’ (also known as Swamp magnolia)

Cucumber trees that are suitable include:

  • Magnolia acuminata
  • Magnolia macrophylla

Saucer magnolia varieties for zone 6 are:

  • ‘Alexandrina’ 
  • ‘Lennei’

As you can see, it is possible to grow a magnolia tree in a zone 6 climate. There are a number to choose from and their ease of care, along with other attributes specific to each, make these great additions to the landscape.

More Information about Zone 6
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