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PlantFiles: Red Lotus Tree
Manglietia insignis

Family: Magnoliaceae
Genus: Manglietia (man-GLAY-ee-a) (Info)
Species: insignis (in-SIG-nis) (Info)

Synonym:Magnolia insignis

9 members have or want this plant for trade.


20-30 ft. (6-9 m)
30-40 ft. (9-12 m)
over 40 ft. (12 m)

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USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
Pale Pink
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Flowers are fragrant
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
By budding
By simple layering

Seed Collecting:
Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

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4 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Lottie2012 On Aug 7, 2012, Lottie2012 from Worcester
United Kingdom wrote:

I've just bought some seeds of this tree - I have grown Magnolias in the past but they never survived.
So I thought I'd like to start from seed. I live in England - can anyone give me some growing tips? Thank you

Positive OsmanthusValley On May 12, 2011, OsmanthusValley from Belton, SC wrote:

Mine has been in the ground for about 8 years. This year is giving the best bloom yet. Took about 5 years to get first bloom. I planted it as a screen. Not really suitable for that, growth habit is too open. But it is a show stopper this year in bloom. Deer resistant, drought tolerant. Actually has grown from the beginning with only water from Mother Nature. In the shade after about 1:00.

Positive runnow On Jan 8, 2011, runnow from Sevierville, TN wrote:

Although this is considered an evergreen member of the Magnolia family, it is only semievergreen in colder winters.
It also suffers a lot from cold winds in colder areas so a
sheltered spot is desirable Zone 7 and possibly the colder
areas of Zone 8. If you are expecting something similar
to Magnolia grandiflora in those area you may be disapponted. Overall it seems closer to Magnolia virginiana
in form and behavoir in colder areas. It is much more
attractive in warmer weather here than in winter.

Positive snasxs On Mar 15, 2008, snasxs from Fort Lauderdale, FL wrote:

A myth comes true.

The red lotus tree was a plant in Greek mythology bearing a fruit that caused a pleasant drowsiness. This fruit was reported to be the only food of an island people called the Lotus-Eaters. In Homers Odyssey those of Odysseus' men who ate the fruit lost all desire to leave the island and had to be forced away.

The petals of the red lotus tree are indeed edible. The color of their flower is never seen in any Magnolia plants, deciduous types included. It can be tomato red, rose red and deep cherry red. The flower is not just colorful, it is also intoxicatingly scented. Guess what the fragrance profile is - hehe sweet melon! There are great variations among seedlings. Some are redder, others are more fragrant. This gorgeous ever-green tree grows to 30 meters tall (that is 99 feet). She tolerates -16 Celsius degree (that is 3 degree Fahrenheit). Her growing habit is similar to that of the Magnolia grandiflora, but her leaves are smaller and narrower which gives her an exotic appearance. Its blooms are smaller than grandiflora but truly spectacular.

To bring out the best color of your red lotus magnolia, keep the environment as cool as possible during blooming. The colder the temperature, the deeper the redness. Gladly, they bloom in winter. You may observe an interesting phenomenon. Their flowers are capable of changing color in front of your eyes.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Bonsall, California
Dunnellon, Florida
Belton, South Carolina
Sevierville, Tennessee

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