Hort Q&A: Landscape plants to consider

Carla Smith, horticulture educator
Pottawatomie County Extension Service
Teddybear® Southern Magnolia

With a new season ahead of us, if you are considering new landscape plants, here are some selections to consider. Each year a set of plants is chosen by horticulturists that will help consumers choose plants appropriate for Oklahoma gardens. The program began in 1999 by selecting a tree, shrub, perennial and annual worthy of Oklahoma landscapes. Now in its 23rd year, there are many plants to choose from. To see all the plants recommended by the Oklahoma Proven Plant Selection Program, visit our website at http://oklahomaproven.org/. I will feature one plant per month to let you all see some of these recommended varieties selected for 2021 in more detail. March is a good month to plant trees, as roots can establish before warm weather.

Tree – Magnolia grandiflora ‘Southern Charm’, Teddybear® Southern Magnolia

Southern magnolias are the southern belles of the evergreen plant world. The species can reach 80 feet high and 50 feet wide producing large, fragrant, creamy white flowers and traditionally have been found on large estates and plantations of the south, however, these are too big for many urban landscapes today. We have a solution for that though, enter ‘Southern Charm’ also known as Teddybear®.

Teddybear is a dwarf, compact version of the species. It grows about 16 to 20 feet high and 10 to 12 feet wide in an upright pyramidal form. This nice, tight growth habit makes it suitable for smaller gardens, screens, avenues, and specimens, as well as growing in large planters and containers. It is not too finicky about soil types, but grows best in deep, nutrient-rich, acidic, well-drained soil. Water deeply and regularly in first few growing seasons to establish an extensive root system. Once established, it grows best with regular moisture, but will tolerate brief periods of drought. Feed in early spring before new growth emerges. It grows best in full sun and benefits from organic mulch.

Leaves of Teddybear® are deep green and glossy above with a dense reddish-brown fur on the underside, thus the Teddybear® name. Flowers of Teddybear® are large, up to 8 inches across, saucer-shaped, white, and fragrant that appear in early summer until early fall.

• No serious insect or disease problems.

• Exposure: Full sun to part shade

• Soil: Moist, well-drained

• Hardiness: USDA Zone 7-9

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