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Pavilion, Walkways & Garden Areas

Southern Magnolia Tree

Southern Magnolia Tree

Magnolia grandiflora

  • ​Common Name: Southern Magnolia Tree (other common names: Large-Flowered Magnolia, Evergreen Magnolia, Bull Bay)
  • Scientific Name: Magnolia grandiflora ‘Bracken's Brown Beauty’
  • Family Name: Magnolioideae
  • Origin: Europe, North America, Asia, Southern China, and the Southern United States.
  • Height: 40’ – 60’ (up to 90’)
  • Width: 30’ – 50’
  • Growth: slow to medium (1’ – 2’ a year)
  • Zone: 7A - 11
  • Light Needs: Full sun to Partial shade (prefer moist, well-drained, slightly acid soils, with morning sun and shade in the afternoon).
  • Salt Tolerance:  moderate and humidity tolerant
  • Soil/PH/Texture: grows in acidic, loamy, moist, sandy, well-drained and clay soils, mildly acidic – neutral (pH 6.1 – 7.5)
  • Soil Moisture: mesic - prefer moist, acidic, and well-drained soils, (do not do well with wet feet in boggy soil).
  • Drought Tolerance: moderate
  • Pests/Diseases: watch for scale (Neolecanium cornuparvum).
  • Growing Conditions: easy to grow and low maintenance, cleaning up the leaves is the biggest issue. If your tree drops several leaves during the first season, do not be alarmed—transplant shock is common with Southern magnolia. It is pollinated by beetles.
  • Characteristics: It has large, leathery leaves, shiny green, reddish underneath, and are alternately arranged. They produce creamy large white or pink flowers, 6” – 12”, cup-like, that usually open before the leaves are present, that have a lemony smell and can be as large across as dinner plate, and appear in the spring and summer. Yields fruit that is 3–8" long, attracting birds
  • Propagation: by semi-hardwood cuttings and layering
  • Wildlife: Fruit is eaten by squirrels, rabbits, and birds—including wild turkey.
  • Facts: hybridized by Braken in 1983 and named “Braken’s Brown Beauty”. The magnolia is particularly interesting as it is an example of a flower that surfaced early in the evolution of flowering plants and has persevered through the eons. The magnolia name comes from and honors a French botanist, Pierre Magnol, who revered the tree so much that he transplanted it to Europe 300 years ago.
  • Designer Considerations: makes a great backdrop for other garden plants, also use as a specimen tree, shade tree, border, screen, along medians, used in commercial or residential properties, and can be a container plant on a patio or deck until it grows too large.