Magnolias produce beautiful blooms in early spring. (2023)



Sizes, care and where to grow them


vanessa richins myers

vanessa richins myers

Vanessa Richins Myers has a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture and has over 10 years of training and experience as a professional horticulturist and gardener.

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Updated 1/8/22

Magnolias produce beautiful blooms in early spring. (1)

Often considered classic trees and shrubs that symbolize the South,MagnoliaIt is a remarkably diverse genus of plants that includes many species suitable for cooler climates.magnoliasare generally known for having large, leathery leaves and showy white orpink flowersThey appear very early in the spring, often even before the leaves have sprouted. Magnolias can be evergreen or deciduous depending on where they grow. Some species are multi-stemmed shrubby plants, while others are fairly large classic upright trees. Some species change their growth habits depending on the climate and environment. Blooming magnolias are known to be especially fragrant. Although a magnolia tree doesn't grow quickly, your patience will be well rewarded.

Caring for Magnolias

Magnolias are not difficult to grow and are somewhat unique amongflowering treesand shrubs in their tolerance of shady conditions. But if you plan to plant them in your backyard, magnolias do best in well-draining soil. These plants generally do not do well with wet feet injust swampy. A spring feeding of slow-release fertilizers is best to help magnolias bloom.

(Video) Beautiful Saucer Magnolia Blooms

Magnolias produce beautiful blooms in early spring. (2)


Magnolias generally likejust acid, and if you have a neutral or alkaline soil, you can amend it heavily with peat to lower the pH before planting. However, you will need to continue to adjust the pH periodically by covering the plant with pine needles or other acidic mulch, or by feeding it an acidic fertilizer to keep the plant healthy.

Here are the 12 most common species to help you identify magnolia types, along with basic tips on how to grow them.

  • 01of 12

    Anise Magnolia (Magnolia salicifolia)

    Magnolias produce beautiful blooms in early spring. (3)

    Magnolia anise has leaves that look a bit like those of asauce or shrub. They are broader than willow leaves, but not as wide as magnolia leaves (another common name ismagnolia willow leaf). This deciduous tree will produce white flowers with striped petals before the leaves open in the spring. The autumn color is a pleasant golden yellow.

    • native area: Japan
    • USDA Hardiness Zones:6 a 9
    • Height: Up to 30 feet
    • Sun exposure:Full sun and partial shade
  • 02of 12

    Bigleaf Magnolia (Magnolia macrophylla)

    Magnolias produce beautiful blooms in early spring. (4)

    Bigleaf magnolia lives up to its name, producing leaves that can be up to 32 inches long. Like most magnolias, it is usually a deciduous tree, although it can be evergreen in warmer areas. The flowers, which normally appear in May, are up to 10 inches in diameter and white with purple petal bases.

    • native area: Southeast US, Mexico
    • USDA Hardiness Zones:5 a 8
    • Height: 30 to 40 pesos; occasionally at 60 pes
    • Sun exposure:Full sun and partial shade
  • 03of 12

    Magnolia de Ashe (Magnolia ashei)

    Magnolias produce beautiful blooms in early spring. (5)

    Ashe's magnolia can be a large shrub or a small tree, depending on how it is pruned. It is sometimes treated as a subspecies of the bigleaf magnolia (its leaves reach 2 feet in length). It is named for William Willard Ashe of the United States Forest Service. The white flowers have petals up to 30 cm long and bloom after the pale green leaves have emerged in spring.

    • native area: florida
    • USDA Hardiness Zones:6 a 9
    • Height: Up to 30 feet
    • Sun exposure:Full sun and partial shade
  • 04of 12

    (Video) Magnolia trees bloom early, bringing spring aroma to Shanghai

    Pepineiro (Magnolia acuminata)

    Magnolias produce beautiful blooms in early spring. (6)

    Cucumber magnolia is so named because the fruits somewhat resemble the vegetable. This is the most frost-resistant magnolia, but while it has the large, glossy leaves (up to 10 inches long) and large growth habit of classic southern magnolias, the greenish, tulip-shaped flowers are much less showy: They only measure about 2 inches. in diameter. The fruits that follow the flowers turn from green to red as they mature. This can be a goodshade treeor specimen tree for cooler climates, as long as you're willing to put up with the mess that big leaves bring.

    • native area: US Appalachian regions, southern Ontario
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 a 8
    • Height: 60 to 80 weights
    • Sun exposure:Full sun and partial shade

    Continue with 5 of 12 below.

  • 05of 12

    Magnolia lily (Magnolia liliiflora)

    Magnolias produce beautiful blooms in early spring. (7)

    The lily magnolia is one of the smaller species and grows as a shrub or small tree. In early spring, before the leaves open, this shrub produces a large flurry of lightly fragrant reddish-purple or lily-pink flowers. A favorite cultivar, 'Nigra', is known for its intensely colored flowers. After flowering, dark green elliptical leaves appear. This species is one of the parents of the saucer magnolia.

    • native area: Southwest China
    • USDA Hardiness Zones:7 a 10
    • Height: 8 to 12 p.
    • Sun exposure:Full sun and partial shade
  • 06of 12

    Kobus Magnolia (Magnolia kubos)

    Magnolias produce beautiful blooms in early spring. (8)

    Kobus magnolia is a slow-growing species that exhibits many of the classic magnolia characteristics: fragrant pink-tinged white flowers that appear before the leaves open, and large, dark green leaves. Also known as Japanese magnolia or northern Japan magnolia, it is most often planted as a tree species where early blooms are desired. This species tends to form multiple trunks, but pruning back to a central leader will give you a more traditional tree shape.

    Kobus magnolia is one of the parent species (Stella magnolia is the other) that together produce the Loebner magnolia.

    • native area: Japan, Korea
    • USDA Hardiness Zones:5 a 8
    • Height: 25 to 50 feet, occasionally 75 feet with very old trees
    • Sun exposure:Full sun and partial shade
  • 07of 12

    Magnolia Loebner (Magnolia × loebneri)

    Magnolias produce beautiful blooms in early spring. (9)

    Loebner Magnolia is a hybrid produced by crossing Kobus Magnolia with Star Magnolia. This small tree usually has several stems, but you can create onecentral leader by pruning. Fragrant star-shaped pink and white flowers 4 to 6 inches across appear in the spring before foliage emerges. The dark green, oval leaves are smaller than other magnolias, no more than 5 inches long.

    • native area: hybrid plant; no natural range
    • USDA Hardiness Zones:5 a 9
    • Height: 20 to 30 feet; occasionally as high as 60 feet
    • Sun exposure:Full sun and partial shade
    (Video) How to Chose & Care For Magnolia Trees in Any Garden
  • 08of 12

    Platillo Magnolia (Magnolia x soulangiana)

    Magnolias produce beautiful blooms in early spring. (10)

    Created by crossing the lily magnolia and the Yulan magnolia, the saucer magnolia can be a large shrub with many stems or a small tree. The white flowers with pink interiors usually appear in early spring, before the leaves appear. There are many cultivars available that offer different flower colors in the purple range. This is the most commonly grown magnolia in the United States.

    • native area: hybrid plant; no natural range
    • USDA Hardiness Zones:4 a 9
    • Height: 20 to 25 pesos
    • Sun exposure:Full sun and partial shade

    Continue with 9 of 12 below.

  • 09of 12

    Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)

    Magnolias produce beautiful blooms in early spring. (11)

    When people think of magnolias or read about them in southern antebellum novels, the southern magnolia is probably the plant that comes to mind. The flower of this magnolia is thelouisiana state flowerand Mississippi. The southern magnolia is a large evergreen tree that needs a lot of space. The elliptical leaves are large and leathery, up to 10 inches long, and the white flowers that appear in midsummer to early fall can be up to 12 inches in diameter. While most magnolias prefer full sun but tolerate some shade, this is one magnolia that actually does best in partial shade.

    • native area: Southeast US
    • USDA Hardiness Zones:7 a 9
    • Height: 60 to 80 weights
    • Sun exposure:Full sun and partial shade
  • 10of 12

    Estrella magnolia (Magnolia stellata)

    Magnolias produce beautiful blooms in early spring. (12)

    Star magnolia is a small deciduous tree or large shrub that produces star-shaped white flowers in late winter or early spring, before any other flowering tree and even before most spring bulbs. Whenever possible, plant it in a sheltered location to help it flower in spring, as frost easily damages the buds.

    (Video) MAGNOLIA SOULANGEANA- Ornamental early spring flowers

    • native area: Japan
    • USDA Hardiness Zones:4 a 8
    • Height: 15 to 20 pesos
    • Sun exposure:Full sun and partial shade
  • 11of 12

    Sweetbay Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana)

    Magnolias produce beautiful blooms in early spring. (13)

    Regionally, this plant may also be known as beaver magnolia, swamp magnolia, or bay magnolia. In cooler locations, magnolia is generally a multi-stemmed deciduous shrub, while in warmer areas it tends to be an upright tree that remains evergreen. It is an excellent plant for swampy places or clayey soils. The waxy white flowers appear from midsummer to early fall; the oblong, glossy green leaves have silvery undersides.

    • native area: Eastern US
    • USDA Hardiness Zones:5 a 10
    • Height: 10 to 35 pesos
    • Sun exposure:Full sun and partial shade
  • 12of 12

    Umbrella magnolia (Magnolia tripetala)

    Magnolias produce beautiful blooms in early spring. (14)

    The umbrella magnolia is so named for the huge glossy leaves (up to 24 inches long and 10 inches wide), which wrap around the tips of the branches. This is a small tree with several stems; its native habitat is the understory forests of Appalachia, so this is a plant that does very well in shady locations. The creamy white flowers, 6 to 10 inches in diameter, appear just after the leaves emerge in late spring to early summer. Although they are scented, they are not particularly scented.

    • native area: Eastern North America
    • USDA Hardiness Zones:5 a 8
    • Height: 15 to 30 pesos
    • Sun exposure:Full sun and partial shade

Magnolias are especially susceptible tofungal diseases, which usually manifest in various types of leaf spots.Trees and shrubs in moist, shady, and humid locations are more likely to be affected. Keeping the tree or shrub well pruned to remove diseased or damaged branches can prevent fungal diseases; or preventative fungicide sprays can help. Careful pruning to improve air circulation is also a good measure to avoid fungal problems.

9 Large Spring Flowering Trees and Shrubs

Watch Now: How to Grow Magnolia Trees in Pots

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(Video) How to grow Magnolias |

  1. Knox, Gary W., Klingeman, William E., Paret, Mathews, Fulcher, Amy.Management of pests, plant diseases, and abiotic disturbances of magnolia species in the southeastern United States: a review..Environmental Horticulture Magazine, 30,4,223-234, 2012, doi:10.24266/0738-2898.30.4.223


What time of year does magnolias bloom? ›

The southern magnolia usually blooms in the late spring with highly scented eight- to 10-inch white flowers, which are followed by reddish three- to five-inch oblong fruits with bright red seeds appearing in the fall.

What does it mean for the magnolias to bloom? ›

White magnolia flowers: purity and perfection. Pink magnolia flowers: youth, innocence, and joy. Purple magnolia flowers: good luck and health. Green magnolia flowers: joy, health, luck, and good fortune.

What do magnolias represent spiritually? ›

Endurance and Fortitude

Magnolia flowers grow on sturdy trees and their blossoms are known for their hardiness. In addition, they are adaptable and can grow in a variety of climates. Thus, the magnolia is also a symbol of perseverance, endurance, and fortitude.

What is unique about a magnolia flower? ›

The magnolia family is one of the oldest trees in existence. Because magnolias are so old, their flowers do not have true petals and sepals; instead, they have petal-like tepals. Also, the flowers do not produce real nectar but attract pollinating beetles with fragrant and sugary secretions.

Do magnolias bloom in spring? ›

The northern magnolias are often one of the first flowering trees of spring. Northern magnolias are deciduous, which means they will lose their leaves in the winter. In the spring, the flowers burst forth even before the leaves do. Some varieties bloom later in the spring and into summer.

Do magnolias flower in spring? ›

What are magnolias? Magnolias are popular ornamental trees or shrubs, widely grown in gardens and prized for their large showy flowers in spring and summer.

Does the magnolia tree produce a flower when it blooms? ›

The magnolia tree is one of the most intriguing specimen plants you can have in your landscape. The tree is highly valued for its large, fragrant, flowers. Magnolia trees always look beautiful, but with those lovely flowers in their bloom, they are incredibly gorgeous.

Why is it called magnolia? ›

The name Magnolia first appeared in 1703 in the Genera of Charles Plumier (1646–1704), for a flowering tree from the island of Martinique (talauma). It was named after the French botanist Pierre Magnol.

Do magnolias bloom all season? ›

In general, magnolia trees bloom sometime between February and June. Unfortunately, the flowers usually do not last long. Most varieties only bloom for less than two weeks. However, magnolia trees can bloom longer if they are given proper care.

What do magnolias attract? ›

The nourishing pollen and sweet nectar of magnolia trees supports pollinators year round. However pollinators aren't the only ones that love magnolias. Known for their vibrant blooms, fruit flies, leafhoppers and more are known to visit these trees, too.

What flower represents faith in God? ›

Iris. All colors of Iris represent eloquence. Different hues have different specific meanings too. Faith and hope both are expressed with the blue iris.

What is a magnolia woman? ›

Noun. steel magnolia (plural steel magnolias) (chiefly Southern US) A woman who exemplifies both traditional femininity and an uncommon fortitude.

What is magnolia flower good for? ›

Magnolia is used for weight loss, problems with digestion, constipation, inflammation, anxiety, stress, depression, fever, headache, stroke, and asthma. Magnolia flower bud is used for stuffy nose, runny nose, common cold, sinus pain, hay fever, headache, and facial dark spots.

What is the most beautiful magnolia? ›

Yulan Magnolia (Magnolia denudata)

Considered one of the most beautiful Magnolias, Magnolia denudata is a large deciduous shrub or small tree. Upright and cup-shaped when borne, its creamy to ivory white flowers gracefully open their 9-12 tepals as they mature, resembling lilies.

What are the characteristics of magnolia? ›

Physical description. Magnolia plants can be evergreen or deciduous and bear alternate smooth-margined leaves. The flowers, usually cuplike and fragrant, are located at the branch tips and have three sepals, six to 12 petals arranged in two to four series, and many spirally arranged stamens.

What magnolia blooms early spring? ›

The Japanese magnolias are among the first bloomers of spring flowering trees. Three important types of early blooming Japanese magnolias are: The star magnolias (Magnolia stellata) and their cultivars; the saucer magnolias (M. x soulangiana) and their cultivars; and the lily magnolias (M.

Do magnolias bloom in April? ›

The Bolins have planted several different varieties, some that bloom in late spring so chances of enjoying magnolia blossoms in every color, every shape for April and May is very good. However, the hard winter and late spring has delayed their show.

Do magnolias flower in first year? ›

If you grow tree magnolias from seed they may well take 10-15 years until they first flower. In one instance at Caerhays a magnolia took over 40 years to flower. However, most magnolias sold today are GRAFTED plants.

How often do magnolia trees bloom? ›

Because of the wide variety of these trees, you may find one blooming from late winter to midsummer. The Star Magnolia blooms from late March through the end of April, acting as a herald of warmer weather. During May and June, you can see the sweet bay and southern magnolias unfurl their wide, cup-like petals.

Why do magnolia leaves fall in the spring? ›

A: It takes a lot of energy for trees and shrubs to flower which often causes the plant to drop some of its leaves. Magnolias are notorious for leaf drop just before flowering. It is especially noticeable on evergreen trees that produce large leaves and create a mess when numerous leaves appear to drop at one time.

Do magnolias bloom in winter? ›

Magnolia x soulangeana, or Saucer Magnolia, typically blooms from mid winter to early spring, depending on variety and climate, when most other garden plants are still in deep in winter sleep.

How long does it take for magnolia blossom to bloom? ›

It can take up to ten years for a magnolia to form its first flowers. This depends on the species and variety, but also on whether the magnolia was grown from seed or cuttings. Frost is the most common because for a failed magnolia bloom. Some winters are so cold that the buds freeze.

What is the moral of magnolia? ›

It's pretty clear 'Magnolia' deals with the themes of reconciliation and forgiveness, revealing what the parents' past actions have wrought upon their children. Ibsen's great play, 'Ghosts,' deals with this same theme, the sins of the father passed on to the son.

What do magnolias smell like? ›

What does magnolia smell like? Magnolia has a sweet floral fragrance that's lightly fruity, with some comparing the scent to that of Champagne. Its fresh yet relaxing aroma makes it incredibly popular in aromatherapy.

Are magnolias male or female? ›

A magnolia flower is said to be perfect or bisexual, meaning it has both a functional male stamen and a female pistil. Bees and other browsing insects transfer pollen from the stamen to the pistil of a single flower. A majority of plants have perfect flowers.

How long do magnolias stay in bloom? ›

Magnolia flowers usually last for about two weeks on the tree before falling off. There will also be a few early and late blooms outside the main flowering period. Be sure to give your magnolia plenty of water while it's blooming to prevent the flowers dropping off early. What is this?

Why do people like magnolia trees? ›

“Magnolias are easy to care for and disease-resistant,” Brower says. They're also versatile—they can grow as a hedge or be trained to climb up a lattice against a wall.

Do magnolias like heat? ›

Magnolias prefer a sunny spot, with shelter from the hot afternoon sun and hot winds. A northern or eastern aspect is preferable. In frost-prone areas, young plants will need to be protected from frost for the first few winters.

Do magnolia trees attract bugs? ›

Although magnolias are usually free of any major insect or disease issues, they are often attacked by an insect called magnolia scale. Magnolia scale appears as rather large, white, waxy or brown bumps on the twigs and leaves of magnolia trees.

What flower represents the Holy Spirit? ›

Columbines (Aquilegia spp.)

During the Renaissance, this flower was associated with the Holy Spirit and the sorrows of the Virgin Mary.

What is the flower of prayer? ›

prayer plant, (Maranta leuconeura), also called praying hands, flowering plant of the family Marantaceae, native to the New World tropics. It has spreading leaves that turn upward toward evening, seemingly in prayer for evening vespers.

What flower means holy? ›

White tulip

What does it mean to be called magnolia? ›

The name Magnolia is of Latin origin and means "a flower." It is from the English word magnolia, which is the flower that was named for French botanist Pierre Magnol.

What does a magnolia wreath symbolize? ›

Each wreath is crafted on a durable base of pine straw and adorned with a densely packed garland of permanent magnolia leaves. Symbolizing longevity and perseverance, the magnolia plant can also represent nobility and a love for nature.

What does magnolia mean in England? ›

British English: magnolia /mæɡˈnəʊlɪə/ NOUN. A magnolia is a kind of tree with white, pink, yellow, or purple flowers.

Why do magnolias smell so good? ›

The scent of magnolia and jasmine is in part due to a compound called methyl dihydrojasmonate. This chemical is produced by the flowers and easily becomes airborne. A group of cell physiologists has now shown that the lining of the human nose has a specific type of receptor called VN1R1.

Is magnolia good for stress? ›

Studies show that taking supplements with magnolia and phellodendron bark can help reduce stress and improve your mood. Magnolia has also been found useful in reducing anxiety in women between 20 and 50 years old. Many animal trials have also been done on honokiol, which shows its anti-anxiety effects on the subjects.

Can you eat a magnolia flower? ›

They can be grown in pots but prefer deep, rich and slightly acidic soil. While they're beloved for heralding the arrival of warmer weather, magnolia flowers are also edible. It's the petals that you eat, and it's the younger petals – when flowers are still buds or just opening out – that are the most palatable.

Do magnolia trees bloom twice in a season? ›

For instance, magnolia planted in a very cold climate might not bloom because flower buds are very sensitive to cold. While some varieties bloom only once yearly, others such as the Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia x soulangeana) variety bloom twice yearly (first in early spring and second in late summer.)

How often should you water your magnolia tree? ›

Water. Magnolias need to be watered 1 - 2 times a week for the first 6 months after planting, until the roots are established. After that, they will only need water during periods of extreme drought.

How often should you trim magnolia trees? ›

For deciduous trees, watch out for overly long stems that are throwing off your tree's symmetry. You can either perform intense pruning once every few years or perform light trimming every 3 to 4 months. Just remember not to go overboard with your pruning practices.

Why is my magnolia tree blooming in July? ›

My mom's got a Magnolia tree that blooms in July. We would like to know why it does that. The good news is that magnolia hybridizers have introduced many lovely flowered varieties that bloom later in the spring and sporadically through the summer.

Are magnolias winter flowers? ›

Magnolia x soulangeana, or Saucer Magnolia, typically blooms from mid winter to early spring, depending on variety and climate, when most other garden plants are still in deep in winter sleep.

How do you get magnolias to bloom? ›

Magnolia trees need a lot of sunlight to bloom. If your Magnolia tree is not getting enough sunlight, it might not flower. Be sure to plant your Magnolia tree in an area that gets plenty of sun. Magnolia trees also need the correct soil pH in order to bloom.

Do magnolias bloom at night? ›

The blossoms open about 9:00 A.M. and close at night for 2 or 3 days; then all the stamens are shed and the flower reopens, turns brown, and disintegrates. The flowers appear throughout the summer and into fall. The flowers produce conelike seedpods that contain large red seeds.

Do magnolias flower before leaves? ›

It is not long before tulip magnolias (Magnolia x soulangeana) come into bloom, before purple magnolias (Magnolia liliifolia) bloom in May. Since the leaves do not emerge into the daylight until after flowering, the white to pink flowers shine all the more noticeably.


1. Spring Blooming Jane Magnolia & Bradford Pear Trees | Plant Spotlight
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2. My White Magnolia tree. Different phases. Full bloom Early spring 2021
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3. Types of Magnolia Trees & How to Care for Them | P. Allen Smith (2020)
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4. Plant Profile: Saucer Magnolias
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5. Pink Magnolia Flowers in Spring Bloom ("Betty" Magnolia) | Home for the Harvest
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