The Umbrella magnolia (Magnolia tripetala) is a fast-growing deciduous tree that can reach a height of 45-50 ft in a natural setting. Its leaves are large, shiny, and spread out from stout stems. The leaves look like the spokes of an umbrella, which gives the tree its common name.
The Umbrella magnolia produces large, intensely fragrant flowers that are 3 to 5 inches in diameter, with six to nine creamy-white petals. Fruit is cone-like, 4 to 6 inches. The fruit turns pink when mature, later turning brown, and contains several pink to red seeds that mature in late summer to early fall. The tree blooms in late spring/early summer.
The Umbrella magnolia is easy to grow and attractive. It's cold hardy in USDA zones 5-9. It can be grown in containers, reaching a height of 8-10. To grow it in a container, use a well-drained potting mix with a layer of gravel at its base. Place the pot in shade and check the soil frequently to ensure it is moist but not soggy. In cold regions, plant the Magnolia in a container and move it indoors before temperatures fall below freezing. Water the tree only when the soil is dry in winter, and fertilize it regularly during the growing season.