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Magnolia (Michelia) 'Stellar Ruby' disappointing fragrance

17 days ago
last modified: 16 days ago

I planted one of these a month ago. It came home with me covered with flower buds, and several flowers open every day. There is no fragrance. I think low air temperature might have something to do with it. Jim Putnam has mentioned on YouTube that his plant in Raleigh, NC is only fragrant when its hot outside. I've grown M. 'Inspiration', M. 'Warm Fuzzies', M. 'Coppertallica', M. laevifolia, M. maudiae (all from the Michelia section of Magnolia, and all with white flowers), and they all have incredible fragrance no matter what the temperature, if there is a flower even beginning to open, it will be very fragrant, even if its barely above freezing. This is what I love about them, and I thought Stellar Ruby would be the same. Here's hoping that I still have flower buds opening when warm weather finally arrives here in Cascadia, so that I might be able to experience the fragrance.

'Stellar Ruby' is derived from the M. figo (Banana Shrub) section of Magnolia/Michelia, and it has dark, brownish-ruby colored flowers. This is my first experience growing any type of Banana Shrub, do others only have fragrance during very warm weather?

I think this is a pretty good example of how plants perform differently in the NW versus the SE, even though the hardiness zones might be the same. Some of those Southern Living Collection plants, etc. really do prefer the south, and perform better there than up here in the NW, where we have more cooling degree days/hours than almost anywhere.

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