What is a Magnolia Kobus?

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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 30 September 2019
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The magnolia kobus, also often called the Kobushi magnolia, is a deciduous tree that features fragrant blooms and is known for being low maintenance. This type of magnolia tree does well in both full sunlight and partial shade, and prefers moist soil that is drained well. The flowers tend to bloom in the early spring, and are white or light pink. They are typically shaped like saucers, and only show up on older trees since younger specimens do not bloom. This tree's origin is Japan, and though it grows rather slowly, in time it can become quite large in both height and width.

Most magnolia kobus trees can grow to over 30 feet (9.1 m) in height, with the typical width being 15 to 30 feet (4.6 to 9.1 m). The spring-blooming flowers are said to be shaped like saucers, with a width of about 4 inches (10.2 cm) and a color that ranges from white to light pink. Its leaves are up to 6 inches (15.2 cm) long, and like many magnolia trees, they are dark green during the summer, but turn yellow and drop off the tree in the fall. Additionally, the magnolia kobus features fruit in the form of small clusters of red seeds, attracting birds to the tree.


This tree grows slowly, and thus needs to be pruned only occasionally, such as during late winter or summer. The magnolia kobus does best in well-drained soil that is both moist and acidic, and needs lots of direct sunlight, though it can also grow in partial shade. Thus, it is known for being low maintenance, though it does need to be shielded from heavy winds and frost. Weevils and snails are some of its biggest threats, as is dieback, bacterial leaf spot, and the issue of fungal spots, so those planting the magnolia kobus should be aware of such problems before deciding to propagate the tree.

It typically takes about 20 years from seed for this tree to get large enough to bloom, though is considered an attractive green tree for years before it flowers. The seeds should be planted in the fall for the best results, though it can also be propagated by cuttings, which should be planted in the early summer. The magnolia kobus is said to be related to the magnolia stellata, or star magnolia, which is a similar but smaller tree that is often even pruned as a shrub.


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