Magnolia Tree Types: Planting, Maintenance and Care

Magnolia trees are beloved by many gardeners for their fragrant blooms and dark leafy foliage. There are many different magnolia trees to choose from, so where do you start? In this article, gardening expert Melissa Strauss walks through the most popular types of magnolia trees, as well as everything you need to know about their maintenance and care.


Magnolia trees are prized for their elegant shape, their beautiful foliage, and their overall hardiness. But the real star of the show are their large, fragrant, and beautiful flowers that perfume the air with their redolent, lemony, sometimes musky and spicy, and all-around pleasing fragrance. With both evergreen and deciduous varieties, the variation of size, bloom formation and color and hardiness is far reaching.

These beautiful trees are famous not only for their beautiful scent, but for their magnificent blooms, commonly flowering in whites, pinks and purples. The bloom is the state flower for both Mississippi and Louisiana.

Adding a magnolia tree to your landscape takes time and planning. Ensuring your tree has proper care and maintenance will go a long way to help them achieve their full growth potential. Keep reading to learn about the many different types of magnolia trees, as well as everything you need to know about their maintenance and care.

Magnolia Plant Review

Magnolia Tree
Plant Type Shrub, Tree
Season Deciduous; Evergreen
Pests Scale, Thrips, Aphids and Caterpillars
Family Magnoliaceae
Exposure Full Sun to Part Sun
Disease Powdery Mildew, Wetwood, Wilt
Genus Magnolia
Plant Spacing 18’-20’ Apart
Maintenance Low to Moderate
Species About 210
Planting Depth 2x width and as deep as the root ball
Native Area North and South America, East Asia
Height 10’-120’ tall and 3’-80’ spread
Plant with Azalea, Camellia, Ginger, Hydrangea
Hardiness Zones 4-10 (varies)


Close-up of a gardener's hand in a black glove with a bright orange border planting a magnolia seedling into the ground in a sunny garden. The seedling has a small branched trunk with bright green elliptical leaves. A hole has already been dug in the soil for a magnolia seedling. A large garden shovel lies on the ground.
Evergreen magnolias are recommended to be planted in the spring before they bloom.

Deciduous magnolias should be planted when they are dormant, with bare branches. In warmer climates, this makes the best planting time late fall to early winter. In colder climates, they can be planted after the ground thaws in spring.

Evergreen magnolias should typically be planted in the spring before they flower. Always try to plant when no flowers are present, as changing the environment will shorten the life of the blooms.

Dig a hole that is 50% wider and just slightly less deep than the root ball. The upper most root should be slightly above the undisturbed soil, and about 25% above the ground if planting in soil that is clay heavy.

Fill in the hole with the soil dug from the hole, but do not cover the top of the root ball. A bit of mulch is fine to cover the roots that are above the soil level. Water the tree in right after planting.

How to Grow

In warm climates, newly planted magnolias should be watered deeply, 2-3 times per week, for 3-6 months, and then weekly for the remainder of the growing season. Watering is perfectly fine until they lose their leaves for the winter, if you have an irrigation system.

In the case of evergreen magnolias, the growing season lasts through the summer. In cooler climate zones, reduce the initial watering to once or twice per week for the first several months.

A thin layer of bark much, or thicker layer of pine needle mulch, is great for holding in moisture and protecting the tree’s shallow root system.


Close-up of a densely flowering magnolia branch with bright pink flowers lit by the sun. The saucer-shaped flowers are bright purple on the outside with white inner petals. Blooming magnolia in the blurred background.
Magnolias prefer to grow in full or partial sun.

Magnolia trees like full to part sun. This varies in relationship to the climate in which you are planting. In warmer climates, young trees may benefit from some protection from hot afternoon sun. Avoid planting in full southern exposure in warmer climates.

Full sun being at least 6 hours of direct sun, magnolias should get the bulk of this sun in the morning.

In cooler climates, Magnolias can take full sun through most of the day but may need some shelter from the wind. Cold winds can damage early blooming varieties, and snap brittle branches.


Close-up of a delicate purple magnolia flower covered in water drops. A glass-shaped flower with rounded petals that are narrowed at the base. The orange background is blurred.
It is recommended to water newly planted magnolias abundantly to get established.

Newly planted magnolias should be watered deeply to encourage the roots to anchor deeply into the ground. Magnolias have shallow root systems, so the deeper they go, the less chance there is of damaging the roots close to the surface.

As mentioned, watering 2-3 times weekly for the first 3-6 months should be sufficient. Use rainfall and temperature to adjust the amount of water so that the ground gets a good soaking at least this often.

After a magnolia is established, it only needs to be watered in times of drought. If you aren’t getting regular rainfall, a magnolia will benefit from deep watering once per week. Magnolias like moist soil, but not soggy roots. Most magnolias are quite drought tolerant once mature.


A magnolia seedling in a black plastic pot stands on the ground near a dug hole in a sunny garden. The magnolia sapling has many elliptical leaves in pale green, yellow and slightly orange. In the blurred background, there is a large garden shovel inserted into the ground.
Magnolias need loamy, well-drained, slightly acidic soil.

The best soil type for magnolias is loamy, well-drained, and slightly acidic. They will adapt well to loamy soil, sand and clay, as long as there is proper drainage, and the ground isn’t swampy.

If planting in sandy soil, it’s important to keep your magnolia watered, and plant in partial shade as sandy soil tends to heat and cool faster and dry out faster as well. A bit more care should be taken in terms of protecting the young tree against temperature shifts in this soil type. Mulch is a very good idea if your soil is sandy.

Loamy soil is ideal, as long as it doesn’t stay soggy. Mulch around the base will protect the shallow roots from lawn equipment and traffic in softer soil types.

Clay provides the acidity that magnolias like and can be a great soil type for these trees, however, clay compacts easily which can damage those shallow roots, so a thick layer of mulch is a must.

Climate and Temperature

Close-up of a blooming bright pink magnolia against the sky. The flowers are glass-shaped, have thin bright pink petals with a white inner side. The background is blurry.
Magnolias grow well in zones 7-9, but when planted in zones 9-11, trees will need protection from the midday sun.

Depending on the species, magnolias can survive in a wide range of climate zones. The Star Magnolia species can grow as far north as zone 4, and south to zone 8.  In general, most species grow well in zones 7-9. Some hybrids are bred to bloom later in the spring, so they will tolerate colder weather.

Placement is important when planting at the top and bottom range of zones. If planting in zones 9-11, give your magnolia some protection from the afternoon sun.

Make sure it gets enough water, as well. If planting in a colder climate, place your magnolia in a spot that has some protection from freezing winds. Planting near a structure or other large trees will help protect and maintain early blooming flowers.

Here is a list of the hardiest varieties for each zone, this list is composed of species and not individual varieties, as some varieties are hybridized to be hardier in colder or warmer weather than their parent species.

Hardiness Zone 5

Hardiness Zone 6

Hardiness Zone 7 u0026 8

  • All Species

Hardiness Zone 9

Hardiness Zone 10

Hardiness Zone 11

  • Magnolia Figo


A bright green can of liquid fertilizer stands in front of a blooming magnolia tree in a summer garden. The can has a long black tube with a spray at the end. Dark pink magnolia flowers bloom on bare branches.
Magnolias are recommended to be fertilized with a balanced fertilizer about 3 times during the growing season.

Magnolia trees only need to be fertilized during their growing seasons, so from late spring through early fall, they should be fertilized about 3 times. Fertilizing is especially important in the tree’s early years.

Magnolias are notoriously slow growers and fertilizing a young tree will help to increase that growth rate and get your magnolia blooming sooner.

A balanced fertilizer such as 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 is best, as it will give your magnolia the right balance of nutrients it needs. Simply spread granular fertilizer in a circle around the base of the plant, preferably right before expected rainfall. If rain is inconsistent or in times of drought, water deeply after fertilizer application.


A woman's hand holds a pink magnolia flower close-up. The flower has thin long petals of pale pink color arranged in two rows. Blooming magnolia in the background.
Magnolias are low maintenance, they only need watering and occasional fertilizing.

Magnolias are notoriously low maintenance, especially for the abundance of flowers they produce. All your magnolia will need from you after the first couple of years is a weekly watering in times of drought and the occasional fertilizing.

This low maintenance habit is just another facet of the magnolia’s appeal. Who doesn’t like an unfussy tree that creates such a beautiful floral display?


Close view of gardener's hands in black gloves pruning magnolia branches with secateurs in spring against blue sky. Magnolia branches are thick, bare. In the background is a blurry brown building.
Magnolia pruning should be done in late spring or summer, giving the tree the desired shape.

In early years, you may want to do some light pruning to shape the plant into a tree or shrub. A great quality of magnolias is that they will grow into a nicely balanced shape, quite on their own with little intervention.

For shrubbier magnolias, which include most shorter, deciduous types, you will have to do a bit of pruning in the first few years if the shape you desire is more treelike. Make sure, as with all gardening, that you use a clean, sharp tool to remove the lower branches.

Magnolias heal slowly and a clean cut heals best. Removing the bottom branches will create a more streamlined trunk portion, as well as encouraging upward growth.

Aside from this early shaping, it is best not to remove healthy growth, as the tree will naturally grow in a balanced and shapely manner. Only prune off limbs that grow directly upward, and any foliage that is dead or unhealthy.

Pruning should be performed in late spring or summer, after blooms have fallen, and with ample recovery time in the growing season.

Pests & Diseases

Although few are fatal to a mature tree, there are a number of pests and diseases that can harm the overall health, as well as the appearance, of a magnolia. The key to minimizing the damage is recognizing an issue early on and treating it.


Close-up of a magnolia branch with bright green leaves attacked by scaly insects. Insects have shells of a similar color to the branch, slightly convex, located along the entire surface of the branch. The green and black background is blurred.
Magnolia scales can be removed by hand or with insecticidal oil.

Magnolia scales are the largest type of soft scale. They can be very destructive to a magnolia and hybrids are particularly susceptible. If the population of scale on a magnolia is high, there is a chance of severe damage to the plant. Soft scales deplete the nutrients from a plant and leave behind a waxy secretion called honeydew which can cause growth of black sooty mold.

These insects can make a real mess of magnolia over time. Scales can be removed by hand by brushing them off with a gloved hand. If the infestation is too great for this, you can try insecticidal oils like neem, which have less of a negative effect on good insects, or spray with a dish soap and water solution sprayed on the underside of the leaves.

If all else fails, commercial insecticides will eradicate scale, but are harmful to pollinating and other good insects so use should be limited. Neem oil can be used on the eggs, it will not kill the adult scale, but it will prevent the eggs from hatching a new generation after you’ve gotten rid of the adult scale.


Close-up of a cotton aphid colony on a plant. Aphids of bright green-yellow color densely stuck around the green stem of the plant. The green background is blurred.
These common pests feed on the juice of magnolia leaves, and this causes the leaves to shrivel and turn yellow.

Aphids are probably the most common pests in the gardening world. They love to feed on the sap of a tree, which they access by piercing the leaves and soft tissue and sucking the sap out. This causes the leaves, generally the newest, softest growth, to shrivel and turn yellow.

Over time, aphids can cause significant damage to a magnolia. In treating aphids, remove badly damaged leaves, and spray aphids off with a stream of water from the hose. Neem oil is a good treatment for aphids, but make sure to use it in the afternoon, so that it dries before the pollinators get started in the morning.


Close-up of thrips on a bright green textured leaf. The body of thrips is elongated, brown-black in color, has 2 pairs of narrow wings with a fringe of cilia along the edge and weak venation, consisting of longitudinal veins, 6 thin legs and two thin antennae.
Place ladybugs in your garden to get rid of thrips and aphids.

Thrips are small flying insects that lay their eggs around the base of a tree. When the larvae hatch, they feed on the leaves of the magnolia, causing the leaves to turn yellow, usually beginning in spots all over the leaves. These are mainly an issue in the Spring when the larvae hatch.

Ladybugs love to eat thrips. You can order ladybugs to be delivered in the mail. This is a great way to get rid of aphids as well, as ladybugs eat those, too. Another solution is to spray leaves with horticultural insecticidal oil.


A beautiful striped caterpillar of a swallowtail butterfly sits on a green magnolia leaf. The body of the caterpillar is bright green with repeating black and yellow dotted stripes across the entire body. The magnolia leaf is rich green in color with thin veins.
Omnivorous looper moth feed on magnolia leaves, leaving the veins intact.

The larvae of the omnivorous looper moth love to feed on magnolia foliage. Looper larvae eat the soft tissue of the leaves, leaving the veining intact. These larvae are small and hide easily. Inspecting the bottom and base of the leaves can confirm infestation.

If there are few insects present, removal by hand may be effective. Remove leaves that are heavily damaged, and if all else fails, commercial insecticides will help as a last resort.

Powdery Mildew

Close-up of magnolia leaves affected by powdery mildew. The leaves are covered with white and gray coat over the entire surface. In the  blurred background there are magnolia branches and light ground.
This disease occurs on magnolia leaves due to high humidity, improper watering and lack of sunlight.

Powdery mildew is the result of several types of fungus that can live on the surface of magnolia leaves. It will look as though the leaves are dusted with powder and will cause eventual death of the leaf.

You can rinse this powdery substance from the leaves as it does not survive watering. If this does not do the trick, there are organic fungicides that are commercially available that should take care of the problem quickly.


Close-up of a magnolia branch infected with Wetwood bacterial infection against a blue sky. Brown slightly slimy spot on the bark of a branch. The bark throughout the branch is slightly cracked.
This infection causes the trunk of a tree to rot with a weeping spot.

Wetwood is a bacterial infection, also known by the name slime flux. It causes rotting in the trunk of the tree and can be diagnosed by noting the appearance of an open, weeping spot, often near a pruning scar or juncture of branches. The weeping is actually the tree’s natural way of ridding itself of the infection, so it is a good sign.

There is no real effective way to treat this issue, other than to maintain the tree’s overall health, as a healthy tree will overcome the issue on its own and form a seal over the area that was diseased and weeping.  Taking care when pruning and pruning sparingly is a good preventive measure.

Wood Rot

The base of a large rotting tree with bark and damage to the outer layers. A tree is in front of a bright red wooden clapboard on the outside wall of a house. The paint is peeling off the wall.
It is recommended to prevent fungus growth by cleaning magnolia pruning tools.

Rot is caused by the introduction of fungus into the trunk of the tree. Sometimes this is detectable by the formation of mushrooms around the base of the tree, but often the tree will appear healthy for quite some time. Preventing fungus by limiting pruning and cleaning tools is the best prevention and removing diseased or dead limbs can mitigate the damage.

As with most bacterial and fungal diseases, the best treatment is prevention. I can’t stress enough the importance of using clean, sharp tools when pruning a tree, as these diseases spread by using infected tools without cleaning in between.

Verticillium Wilt

A beautiful white magnolia bud on branches with green and withered brown leaves affected by a vascular pathogen. The flower is pale white with closed rounded petals, reminiscent of a rose. The leaves are elliptical, leathery, dark green with a brown underside.
This pathogen infects the leaves of the plant, which begin to turn yellow and wither.

This is a vascular pathogen that leads to leaf yellowing and wilting, and eventual death of leaves, appearing from the tips of leaves and working backward. The only way to keep this from causing whole plant death is to remove infected growth and dispose of it away from the tree and other plants.

Magnolias can make great full sized flowering trees. But there are a number of dwarf varieties that are more compact. Magnolia flowers bloom in yellow, pink, and probably the most popular – white. There are also some varieties that are more shrub-like in nature. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular types of magnolias you can grow.


Close-up of blooming duckweeds on a branch of Japanese magnolia soulangeana ‘Brozzonii’ against a blue sky. Delicate tulip-shaped flowers are pure white with a purple stroke at the base of each petal. Several light green leaves in the shape of an ellipse grow on a branch.
‘Brozzonii’ produces gorgeous pure white flowers with a purple smear at the base of the petals.
Scientific Name: Magnolia soulangeana ‘Brozzonii’
  • Bloom Time: Late Spring
  • Plant Size: 20’-30’ tall and 15’-20’ wide
  • Plant Zone: 5-9
  • Light: Full to Part Sun

This Japanese Magnolia is an older cultivar which blooms 2 weeks later than most, in mid to late April. This makes the plant especially cold hardy, as the blooms are unlikely to be damaged by a late frost. The new foliage comes in a reddish bronze color before turning dark green, adding interest to the tree even when not in bloom.

‘Brozzonii’ flowers at a young age so won’t have to wait very long to see blooms, white some magnolias do not bloom until well into the teenage years, this is a great quality!

The blooms from this magnolia are pure white with a purple brush stroke at each petal’s base, and saucer shaped. It is a heavy bloomer in the spring and puts on a lovely show. While some varieties are sensitive to pollution, this one is good for urban gardens, as it is quite tolerant of different conditions.


Close-up of the delicate open flowers of Magnolia x ‘Jane’. The flowers are tulip-shaped, consisting of 6-8 petals, which are reddish-purple on the outside and pure white on the inside. The branches are strong, bare, leafless.
Magnolia ‘Jane’ has incredibly delicate reddish-purple flowers with white inner petals and a delicate aroma.
Scientific Name: Magnolia x ‘Jane’
  • Bloom Time: Spring
  • Plant Size: 10’-15’ tall 8’-10 wide
  • Plant Zone: 4-8
  • Light: Full Sun to Part Shade

This sweet little magnolia is part of the “Little Girl” series introduced by the U.S. National Arboretum. ‘Jane’ is slight in stature, and makes a wonderful shrub, but can be trained into a small tree as well. 

This one fits perfectly into just about any space. ‘Jane’ is very low maintenance and won’t need much attention at all aside from a bit of mulch and the attention you will want to pay it in the Spring when it blooms.

Jane’s flowers are simply stunning. They are large (8”) and tulip shaped with a gentle fragrance. The purple buds of this magnolia open in April to reveal pure white petals on the inside. This variety blooms later in the spring than most magnolias, so it is quite cold hardy and tends to avoid any late frost damage.

Jane Platt

Close-up of a blooming Magnolia Stellata 'Jane Platt' flower in a sunny garden. The star-shaped flower has many long, narrow, pale pink petals, slightly curled inward at the edges with deep pink undersides.
This variety is a gorgeous compact magnolia that produces stunning pale pink star-shaped flowers.
Scientific Name: Magnolia Stellata ‘Jane Platt’
  • Bloom Time: Early to Mid-Spring
  • Plant Size: 10’-15’ tall and 8’-12’ wide
  • Plant Zone: 4-8
  • Light: Full to Part Sun

‘Jane Platt’ is a stellata variety, indicating that the blooms will be many petaled and have more of a star shape than the soulangeana’s saucer shape. The blooms on this variety are just stunning. With up to 32 long, narrow pale pink petals, the petals have a deeper rose colored streak underneath.

This variety is a nice, compact plant with an upright, pyramidal growth habit. It makes a wonderful small tree and fits well in smaller gardens as a focal point in spring. A winner of the Award of Garden Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society, Jane Platt’s blooms are also softly fragrant.

Leonard Messel

Close-up of pink Magnolia x loebneri 'Leonard Messel' flowers on bare branches in a garden. The flowers are open, large, star-shaped, have narrow long petals arranged in two rows, white on the inside and soft pink on the outside, the center is yellow. Blurred fresh green grass in the background.
‘Leonard Messel’ has bicolor pink and white flowers giving the tree an elegant pink look.
Scientific Name: Magnolia x loebneri ‘Leonard Messel’
  • Bloom Time: Spring
  • Plant Size: 15’-30’ tall and 20’-25’ wide
  • Plant Zone: 5-9
  • Light: Full Sun

This variety blooms at an early age with glorious bi-color flowers. The rosy, purple outside of the petals compliment the creamy white inside with a soft blush. This combination of colors provide an elegant pink appearance to the entire tree as blossoms appear on bare branches.

This is a compact variety that makes a lovely small tree. It can also be kept low and trained into a shrub shape. Whatever the shape you choose to train this beauty to, it is a spectacular plant when it sends out its plentiful, star-like blooms.

Little Gem

Close-up of a large Magnolia Grandiflora 'Little Gem' flower surrounded by dark green glossy foliage against a blurred green background. The flower has rounded creamy white petals arranged in two rows around a large yellow carpel with numerous stamens.
‘Little Gem’ is a compact tree with dark green glossy leaves and delicate white, rather fragrant flowers.
Scientific Name: Magnolia Grandiflora ‘Little Gem’
  • Bloom Time: Spring and Summer
  • Plant Size: 15’-20’ tall and 7’-10’ wide
  • Plant Zone: 6-10
  • Light: Full Sun

‘Little Gem’ has all the appeal of a stately Southern Magnolia, in a neat little package. Gardeners with more limited space will appreciate the compact form of this tree. This small evergreen makes a great large container plant. ‘Little Gem‘ is tolerant of most soil and watering conditions to a moderate degree.

This variety has the advantage of blooming early in maturation and produces a great number of blooms in those early years.

The flowers are mid-sized (4”) and quite fragrant, with rounded creamy white petals, a large yellow carpel, and plentiful stamens. These lovely blooms appear in Spring and summer on evergreen foliage. Little Gem is slow growing, with an upright growth habit.

Royal Star

Close-up of densely blooming star-shaped white magnolias against a blurred background. The flowers are medium in size, have long, narrow, double petals of snow-white color with a yellow carpel in the center. Some petals have brown, withered edges.
‘Royal Star’ produces graceful white flowers with double long petals resembling stars.
Scientific Name: Magnolia Stellata ‘Royal Star’
  • Bloom Time: Spring
  • Plant Size: 10’-15’ tall and 10’-12’ wide
  • Plant Zone: 4-9
  • Light: Full Sun

‘Royal Star’ gets its name from the appearance of its blooms. The variety is early blooming, with mid-sized (4”), but dainty, white double petaled blooms that look like twinkling stars. This variety is deciduous, so blooms appear abundantly on bare branches.

‘Royal Star’ has very good cold and heat tolerance. It is low growing and makes a beautiful shrub or small tree with its rounded growth habit. Native to Japan, ‘Royal Star’ likes rich, loamy soil and moderate watering. It is quite popular for its showy, flowering nature. This variety makes a wonderful, springtime focal point.

Rustica Rubra

Close-up of two unopened still bright pink magnolia 'Rustica Rubra' buds in a sunny spring garden. The flower is saucer shaped, hot pink on the outside with white inner petals.
‘Rustica Rubra’ produces bright pink saucer-shaped flowers with white inner petals.
Scientific Name: Magnolia soulangeana ‘Rustica Rubra
  • Bloom Time: Early to Mid-Spring
  • Plant Size: 20’-25’ tall and wide
  • Plant Zone: 5-9
  • Light: Full to Part Sun

‘Rustica Rubra’ is a Japanese magnolia and has the signature saucer shaped blooms. The pink blooms on this magnolia appear on bare branches. The flowers are a bright, rose pink on the outside, with white inner petals creating a dramatic bi-color effect.

It is an adaptable variety that can grow in urban landscapes and is on the larger side for a Japanese magnolia, making it a very showy tree in the spring, with its profuse blooming habit.

A bit of shelter from cold winds make a big difference in colder climates, as this is an early bloomer and therefore, susceptible to late frosts. The foliage is attractive, light green, nicely shaped leaves that turn a bronze shade in the fall.


Close-up of a blooming Sweetbay magnolia flower surrounded by dark green, elliptical shaped leaves against a green blurred background. The flower is large, consists of 9 large rounded petals arranged around a yellow-green carpel with stamens.
Sweetbay magnolia blooms with gorgeous creamy flowers that close at night.
Scientific Name: Magnolia Virginiana
  • Bloom Time: Late Spring into Summer
  • Plant Size: 25’ tall and wide, up to 50’ eventually
  • Plant Zone: 6-10
  • Light: Full to Part Sun

The ‘Sweetbay’ Magnolia, also known as the Swamp Magnolia, is a medium sized tree that can be evergreen or deciduous depending on the climate in which it is grown. These trees reach heights of up to 35’ tall and wide. Sweeybay’s have a moderate to fast growth rate, growing from 13” to more than 24” per year.

The cream colored, lemon scented flowers won’t start to bloom until the tree is a few years old. The blooms on ‘Sweetbay’ have an interesting characteristic. They open in the morning and close at night, lasting for about 3 days before falling from the tree.

Southern Magnolia

Close-up of a blooming cream Magnolia Grandiflora flower surrounded by dark green glossy leaves with a brown underside. The flower is large, up to 12 inches in diameter, has creamy white rounded petals and a pale yellow carpel wrapped in pollen-rich stamens. Spotted sun on the leaves of the tree.
Southern Magnolia is an evergreen tree that blooms in early summer with showy creamy white flowers.
Scientific Name: Magnolia Grandiflora
  • Bloom Time: Summer and Fall
  • Plant Size: 50’ tall and wide, can grow taller
  • Plant Zone: 6-10
  • Light: Part Shade

This magnificent tree is a cherished staple among magnolia species. Growing as tall as 80’ with nearly as great a spread, this is a spectacular specimen when it reaches maturity.

Don’t expect to see it reach these soaring heights for some time though, as this tree is slow to mature, gaining only 1’-2’ yearly. It is evergreen and features the leathery green leaves with velvety brown undersides that are so popular for use in holiday garlands.

The flowers bloom in early summer and are some of the most spectacular blooms around. Up to 12” in diameter, the blooms are creamy white with large, rounded petals. The center bears a large, pale-yellow carpel wrapped in pollen rich stamens. In addition to the striking appearance of the flowers, they are heavily fragranced as well!

Teddy Bear

Close-up of bees collecting honey inside a large Magnolia Grandiflora 'Southern Charm' flower. The flower is large, has large rounded creamy-white petals with a thin cone-shaped inner part located around the central yellow carpel and stamens. The leaves are large, dark green, leathery, brown on the underside.
Magnolia Teddy bear blooms with delicate creamy white flowers surrounded by leathery dark green leaves.
Scientific Name: Magnolia Grandiflora ‘Southern Charm’
  • Bloom Time: Summer and Fall
  • Plant Size: 16’-20’ tall and 10’-12’ wide
  • Plant Zone: 7-9
  • Light: Full Sun

Compact for a Southern Magnolia hybrid, ‘Teddy Bear’ is a medium sized tree with an upright growth habit. It has the signature, leathery, deep green leaves with a fuzzy, bronze underside. Considered a dwarf of the species, ‘Teddy Bear’ can still reach heights up to 20’ and is better suited to a small tree than a shrub. It also adapts well to a large container.

The long-lasting blooms appear in summer. They are large (6”-8”) and last into the fall. The flowers resemble the larger Southern Magnolia blooms, but with a delicately tapered interior and a rich yellow shade to the central carpel and stamens. The fragrance is lingering and very pleasant.

Final Thoughts

There are so many things to love about magnolia trees. They are a beloved emblem of the Southern United States, as well as an all-around delightful tree to enjoy for all seasons. With so many varieties to choose from and a wide range of climates they can thrive in, the possibilities seem endless.

Magnolias are hardy, low maintenance and provide a great amount of interest to the landscape with their beautiful, bountiful, fragrant blooms. As the oldest living cultivar of flowering trees known to man, it is no wonder they have endured for such a long time.

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