Magnolia Tree

What Is magnolia Tree?

Magnolia Basics

Planting Magnolias

Magnolia Care

Southern Magnolia Tree

Ways To Propagate These Magnificent Trees

Jane Magnolia Tree

Jane Magnolia Tree Facts

Pink Magnolia Tree

Little Gem Magnolia Tree

Sweetbay Magnolia Tree

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

References

What Is Magnolia Tree?

*Magnolia* is a large genus of about 210 flowering plant species in the subfamily Magnolioideae of the family Magnoliaceae. It is named after French botanist Pierre Magnol.

Magnolia is an ancient genus. Appearing before bees did, the flowers are theorized to have evolved to encourage pollination by beetles. To avoid damage from pollinating beetles, the carpels of Magnolia flowers are extremely tough. Fossilized specimens of M. acuminata have been found dating to 20 million years ago, and of plants identifiably belonging to the Magnoliaceae date to 95 million years ago. Another aspect of Magnolia considered to represent an ancestral state is that the flower bud is enclosed in a bract rather than in sepals; the perianth parts are undifferentiated and called tepals rather than distinct sepals and petals. Magnolia shares the tepal characteristic with several other flowering plants near the base of the flowering plant lineage such as Amborella and Nymphaea (as well as with much more recently derived plants such as Lilium).

Magnolia Basics

The iconic southern magnolia ( *Magnolia grandiflora* ) is the most well-known. But magnolias, particularly the deciduous varieties, can be grown in almost any region of the U.S. From the tip of Florida to as far north as Maine and Washington, there's a magnolia that will grow in your garden.

Zones

4-9

Size

Magnolias come in a wide array of cultivars that can suit the scale of any garden. Sizes range from 15-foot shrubs to massive trees that can reach heights of 80 feet or more.

Bloom time

On deciduous varieties, the flowers open in early spring before the leaves appear. They emerge from large pussy-willow-like buds that set during the previous growing season and remain throughout fall and winter. Evergreen types bloom heaviest during the transition from spring to summer. But, don’t be surprised if your magnolia tree reblooms in the summer or early fall. It’s not uncommon for sporadic blooms to appear on new growth.

Types

Eight species of magnolias—two evergreen and six deciduous—are native to the United States. These native species have proven quite adaptable and many can flourish in gardens outside their natural growing zone.

Here are some of the most well-known types of magnolia trees:

  • Southern magnolia ( Magnolia grandiflora )
  • Saucer magnolia ( Magnolia ×soulangiana )
  • Star magnolia ( Magnolia stellata )
  • Loebner magnolia ( Magnolia ×loebneri )
  • Sweetbay magnolia ( Magnolia virginiana )
  • Cucumber tree ( Magnolia acuminata )

Planting Magnolias

When planting magnolias, pick the site carefully. They have wide-spread, shallow root systems that can be easily damaged during transplanting. Larger magnolias have branch spreads of 30 to 40 feet, making them useful as shade trees in larger yards. Compact, shrubby varieties are attractive in borders or as an ornamental tree in Asian gardens.

When

Plant evergreen magnolias in early spring. Plant deciduous magnolias during autumn if you live in the South and during spring if you live in the North.

Soil

Well-drained, rich in organic matter. Can tolerate clay, loam, or sandy soils.

Exposure

Evergreen varieties grow best in full sun. Deciduous species prefer part shade. Where frost is possible after blooming begins to grow in a protected location.

Magnolia Care

Magnolia trees require little care and are resistant to many diseases and pests. They offer long life spans of 100 years or more given the right growing conditions.

Watering

Most varieties tolerate hot summers and moderate drought, making them a resilient choice for gardens in harsher climates. However, younger trees should be watered regularly until fully established.

Pruning

Magnolias typically need little pruning other than to remove crossed or damaged branches or for aesthetic reasons. The best time for pruning is soon after the tree has finished blooming, in either late spring or early summer. Pruning too late in the season will result in fewer blossoms the following spring.

Fertilizing

If your magnolia is growing and flowering well, there is no need to fertilize. However, if your tree isn’t thriving or has yellow leaves, you should have your soil tested. Check with your local university’s extension to see if they provide soil testing and recommendations for adding supplemental nutrients. If you do decide to fertilize, wait until the spring after planting your magnolia, then apply a slow-release fertilizer just as your tree starts to leaf out.

Southern Magnolia Tree

Magnolia grandiflora, commonly known as the southern magnolia or bull bay, is a tree of the family Magnoliaceae native to the southeastern the United States, from southeastern North Carolina to central Florida, and west to East Texas. Reaching 27.5 m (90 ft) in height, it is a large, striking evergreen tree, with large dark green leaves up to 20 cm (7 3⁄4 in) long and 12 cm (4 3⁄4 in) wide, and large, white, fragrant flowers up to 30 cm (12 in) in diameter.

Although endemic to the lowland subtropical forests on the Gulf and south Atlantic coastal plain, Magnolia Grandiflora is widely cultivated in warmer areas around the world. The timber is hard and heavy and has been used commercially to make furniture, pallets, and veneer.

A great many tall and stately magnolia trees dot the lawns in Southern landscapes and where we live in Houston, Texas is no exception.

Judging from the numerous ones planted in our neighbor’s yards, the local nurseries selling these trees must do very well especially in the spring of the year when this particular tree puts on its raiment of those creamy to white large and showy blossoms.

Ways to Propagate These Magnificent Trees

After the blossoming time is over, brown cones are left with the bright red seeds of the Southern Magnolia. Birds love to eat these seeds. It also becomes nourishment for squirrels and opossums which savor this tasty seed treat.

One can propagate these trees from seeds successfully if one has the patience to see them grow from the seedling stage to that of blossoming which would be many years.

To get the seeds ready to plant, do the following:

  • Harvest the seeds in the fall season of the year when they become visible in the pods.
  • Remove the outer coating of the seeds.
  • Put into a jar or ziplock bag with a little moist potting soil.
  • Refrigerate at least 3 months.
  • Plant the seeds at least 1/2 inch deep in potting soil and keep moist.
  • When the sprouted trees are 2 1/2 to 3 inches or more in size they can be repotted into larger containers until grown to a size more suitable to be planted into the ground.

Jane Magnolia Tree


A jane magnolia tree is a member of the “Little Girl” group of hybrid magnolias developed in the mid-50s at the U.S. National Arboretum. Hardy shrub or small tree. Impressive reddish-purple flowers outside; white inside, opening late in spring to avoid frost damage. Flowers are a gorgeous tulip shape with a lightly scented fragrance. Leaves are dark green and somewhat leathery in appearance. A great choice for any accent, specimen, or border use. Grows 10’-15’ high. Grows best in the full morning sun and partially shaded afternoons. Prefers rich, moist, and well-drained soils.

Hardiness Zones

The jane magnolia can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 4–7.

Tree Type

This is a flowering shrub, typically planted for its profusion of spring flowers.

Mature Size

This shrub grows at a slow rate, with height increases of less than 12" per year.

Growth Speed SlowGrowth Rate

This shrub grows at a slow rate, with height increases of less than 12" per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun is the ideal condition for this shrub, meaning it should get at least 6 hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The Jane magnolia grows in acidic, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, silty loam and well-drained soils.

Attributes

This shrub:

  • Produces tulip-shaped blooms with a light fragrance and a reddish-purple coloring on the outside, white inside.
  • Blooms late in spring, avoiding frost damage.
  • Can be trained to grow as either a shrub or small tree.
  • Features dark green leaves with a somewhat leathery appearance.
  • Grows in a rounded shape.
  • Is best used as an accent, border or specimen plant.
  • Prefers full morning sun and partially shaded afternoons.

Jane Mognolia Tree Facts

The Jane Magnolia has gorgeous tulip-shaped flowers that arrive prior to the foliage and hang around for about a month or so in spring. These huge, fragrant blooms are pink to purple with a hint of red on the outside and white on the inside. Jane Magnolias bloom in spring and often rebloom throughout summer. This second flush of flowers is quite a treat, adding more color and beauty to your landscape. In autumn you will enjoy even more color as the green leaves brighten to yellow and then copper as the weather cools.

This low branching shrub-like tree grows to 10 to 15 feet tall and 6 to 10 feet wide at maturity. The compact Jane magnolia is a deciduous tree that is recommended for growing zones 4 to 8.

Jane Magnolia Pro Tip

The Jane magnolia blooms a couple of weeks later than the early blooming magnolias like the star and the saucer which means you don’t have to worry about bud damage with this little magnolia. No missed years of blooms even in the coldest climates! It varies on your climate and the temperatures, but generally, Jane magnolias bloom in April to May.

Jane Magnolia Care

Spring and fall are the best times for planting magnolias. If you live in an area with mild summers or winters you can plant at these times as well. Magnolia trees prefer full sun but can grow well in part sun locations. Magnolias are very adaptable; they can tolerate soil from clay to sand to loam, but be sure it is moist and drains well.

When your tree is newly planted, water deeply 3 times per week. Water 1-2 times per week for the next couple of months. After establishment, your magnolia will be drought tolerant and only need watering once weekly in summer. Mulching is a good option, especially with a newly planted magnolia. About 2 inches of mulch will keep your soil moist and the roots protected. It also keeps weeds and grasses that steal moisture and nutrients at bay.

Fertilize with a balanced slow-release fertilizer in spring for best results. If pruning is necessary, prune right after flowering has stopped to avoid trimming off next year’s blooms.

Pink Magnolia Tree

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Also known as Magnolia x soulangiana, the saucer magnolia is a deciduous tree known as the pink magnolia tree. Its spectacular flowers that appear in late winter and early spring. Saucer magnolias are small, low-branched trees with large, saucer-shaped flowers. The fragrant, early-spring flowers are white shaded with light to deep pink or purplish-pink. Its big, broad leaves are dark green, and the smooth bark is silvery-gray.

  • Zone(s): 4-9
  • Mature Size: 20-30 ft.
  • Sun Preference: Full sun
  • Soil Preference: Acidic, loamy, moist, sandy, well-drained and clay soils
  • Watering: Has some drought tolerance

Little Gem Magnolia Tree


All the charm of a southern magnolia in a smaller size, the little gem magnolia is a popular ornamental choice for people living in hardiness zones 6 through 10. It is often used as a standout landscape specimen, to add evergreen beauty near decks and patios, as a floral screen or hedge, and in large containers.

If you choose this variety, you will be rewarded early on. The shrub blooms as soon as two or three years old and provides a profusion of fragrant blossoms in those early years of growth.

Hardiness Zones

The little gem magnolia can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 6–10.

Tree Type

Mature Size

The little gem magnolia grows to a height of 15–20’ and a spread of 7–10’ at maturity.

Growth Speed SlowGrowth Rate

This tree grows at a slow rate, with height increases of less than 12" per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun and partial shade are best for this tree, meaning it prefers a minimum of four hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The little gem magnolia grows in acidic, loamy, moist, sandy, well-drained, and clay soils. It can withstand some flooding and has moderate drought tolerance.

Attributes

This tree:

  • Produces fragrant, white 4" flowers from mid-spring to summer, with heavy blooming in early years of growth.
  • Features elliptical evergreen leaves that are dark green and glossy on top and rusty brown underneath.
  • Yields cone-shaped fruit clusters up to 5" long with individual red-coated seeds.
  • Blooms at a younger age than most magnolias.
  • Grows in an upright shape.
  • Tolerates some flooding and moderate drought.
  • Produces organic litter from flowers, dry fruit, and leaves.

Sweetbay Magnolia Tree

All magnolias have unusual, exotic-looking cones, but those on a sweetbay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana) are showier than most. Sweetbay magnolia trees feature creamy white spring and summer flowers with a sweet, lemony fragrance and leaves that flutter in the slightest breeze to flash their silvery undersides. The fruiting cones consist of a group of pinkish-colored fruit that burst open to release the seeds when ripe. These outstanding ornamental trees create less mess than other magnolia tree species.

Sweetbay Magnolia Care

Plant sweetbay magnolia in narrow corridors or urban areas where you need a compact tree. They need full sun or part shade in medium-moist to wet soil. These trees are often classified as wetland plants, and even with irrigation, you won’t have any luck growing sweetbay magnolias in dry soils.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. When do magnolia trees bloom?

Known for their graceful, fragrant flowers, magnolias comprise a diverse genus of trees and shrubs. Many magnolias seem to usher in the spring with their February and March bloom times, while others don't flower until as late as June.

2. How fast do magnolia trees grow?

These trees might take another 10 to 20 years to reach their mature heights. Cultivar and growth rate may dictate that a magnolia attains maturity in between 10 to 30 years, but conditions of soil, moisture and environment might oblige the tree to take longer.

3. How to grow a magnolia tree?

Keep in mind that deciduous magnolia varieties are best planted when dormant in early spring. After choosing the planting location, dig a hole at least 1.5 times the width of the root ball or bundle of your specimen and slightly less deep. Remove the upper layer of soil from the tree so the very top root is exposed.

4. How to prune a magnolia tree?

Be very careful when pruning magnolia trees not to tear or injure the bark. Remove all dead, diseased or otherwise injured branches first. Remove any branches that are not in line with the tree's natural shape. Remove branches that are crossing or rubbing and cut off any suckers.

5. How Long do magnolia trees live?

Around 80 years

Lifespan. The average lifespan of magnolias varies, depending on the species. Southern magnolias tend to live around 80 years, but some trees live as long as 120 years.

References

References
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnolia
  2. https://www.gardendesign.com/trees/magnolia.html
  3. https://www.arborday.org/trees/treeguide/TreeDetail.cfm?ItemID=861
  4. https://www.plantingtree.com/blogs/gardening/jane-magnolia-tree-facts
  5. https://www.oola.com/life-at-home/2476909/types-of-magnolia-trees/
  6. https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/trees/magnolia/sweetbay-magnolia-care.htm