The earliest magnolia to bloom, star magnolia has distinctively shaped, tender, white to pale-pink petals. Avoid planting in a southern exposure, which pushes the blooms to open too early and get nipped by frost. Otherwise, this lushly full, 15-to-20-foot tree is easy to care for. After its fuzzy buds flower, sturdy leaves, which are dark green with a lighter underside, emerge and remain virtually pest- and disease-free. It prefers rich, moist, well-drained soil in full or part shade. Plant in front of evergreens or a brick wall to makes the blooms really stand out. Its fall color is gold to bronze.
Ellen Nibali, Maryland Cooperative Extension Service