Although I don't have a purple tulip tree, or Magnolia x soulangeana, there are several nearby, so I never miss the fabulous spring show. A deciduous tree, it bursts forth with large amethyst and lavender colored, tulip-shaped blossoms in early spring, before the tree begins to leaf out. This purple beauty is also known as the saucer magnolia, or Japanese magnolia.
I love seeing the tulip tree in bloom. A majestic symbol of spring's arrival, it would be accused of shouting that winter's grip is gone, except it is obviously too refined and graceful to ever be accused of shouting. Wearing the color of royalty, it reigns as possibly the largest and the showiest specimen in early spring's procession of beauty to signal the coming of warmer weather. The sight of seeing an entire tree flowering is breathtaking, especially after enduring months of unexciting evergreens.
The stately tulip tree is especially pretty paired with the lowly daffodil, which blooms at the same time. The complimentary pairing of purple and yellow is a sight not soon forgotten. Even by itself, it is a real show stopper in early spring, and puts a song in the heart of any gardener weary of winter. Grown in zones 4 through 9, this tree will grow to 30 ft, so give it plenty of room.
And though they go by similar names, don't confuse the elegant, purple M. soulangeana with the yellow tulip tree, Liriodendrum tulipifera, or Tulip Poplar.