Magnolia grandiflora (Southern Magnolia) is a true southern plant. It originated in the Southern United States, and after its first introduction to Europe in the 1700’s, is now grown all over the world where the soil and climate will allow. The Magnolia family dates back much further than that, with fossilized imprints dating back 20 Million years! It’s survived the test of time and will be a strong and lasting native plant in your landscape.
Southern Magnolias are known for their handsome, evergreen, leathery leaves and large, showy & fragrant cream blooms. Leaves are mostly large but vary some in size based on cultivar. Tops are a slick dark green with fuzzy brown undersides. Magnolia leaves make a gorgeous addition to fresh greens, wreaths and roping in winter for holiday decorating. Other benefits of Magnolias are that they are normally pest free, drought tolerant, and deer resistant.
They prefer to be in rich, acidic, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. They tolerate other soil conditions though including alkaline soil, clay and sandy. They grow poorly in wet conditions. Magnolia trees can be used as a specimen tree, screen or hedge. Southern Magnolias are known for their large stature but there are smaller, modern cultivars now available.
Cultivars We Love
‘Brackens Brown Beauty’ – Grown 30-50 feet tall with 5-6” blooms and transplants well.
‘Little Gem’ – Dwarf and compact small tree. Size reaching just 20-25 feet tall and 10-15 feet wide.
‘D.D. Blanchard’ – Features huge blooms and grow to 50 feet or taller.
The Southern Magnolia isn’t the only Magnolia that produces gigantic gorgeous blooms. A new hybrid cross on the market, ‘Franks Masterpiece’ is an upright deciduous magnolia reaching just 30 feet tall. Large 10” blooms are continuous and deliciously fragrant. The enormous flowers are soft pink on the inside and deep purple on the outside, creating quite a spectacular show as they open. Disease and deer resistant.