Southern Magnolia
Magnolia grandiflora

Family: Magnoliaceae
Genus: Magnolia (mag-NO-lee-a) (Info)
Species: grandiflora (gran-dih-FLOR-uh) (Info)

Category:

Trees

Height:

over 40 ft. (12 m)

Spacing:

30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

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)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Danger:

Seed is poisonous if ingested

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Foliage:

Grown for foliage

Evergreen

Smooth-Textured

Other details:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing

Ferment seeds before storing

Regional

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

, (2 reports)

Adana,

Atmore, Alabama

Midland City, Alabama

Mobile, Alabama

New Market, Alabama

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Vincent, Alabama

Little Rock, Arkansas

Morrilton, Arkansas

Sherwood, Arkansas

Chowchilla, California

East Palo Alto, California

El Cerrito, California

Modesto, California

Pomona, California

Reseda, California

Rocklin, California

Sacramento, California

Santa Barbara, California

Santee, California

Clifton, Colorado

Dover, Delaware

Bartow, Florida

Fruitland Park, Florida

Green Cove Springs, Florida

Hampton, Florida

Hernando, Florida

Indialantic, Florida

Keystone Heights, Florida

Kissimmee, Florida

Leesburg, Florida

Maitland, Florida

Navarre, Florida

New Port Richey, Florida

Niceville, Florida

Port Charlotte, Florida

Rockledge, Florida

Ruskin, Florida

Safety Harbor, Florida

Saint Cloud, Florida

Sebring, Florida

Trenton, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Athens, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia

Hawkinsville, Georgia

Jeffersonville, Georgia

Villa Rica, Georgia

Warner Robins, Georgia (2 reports)

Hilo, Hawaii

Honomu, Hawaii

Pukalani, Hawaii

Chicago, Illinois

Murphysboro, Illinois

Olathe, Kansas

Shawnee Mission, Kansas (2 reports)

Wichita, Kansas

Barbourville, Kentucky

Benton, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

Melvin, Kentucky

Mount Sterling, Kentucky

Prestonsburg, Kentucky

Taylorsville, Kentucky

Tiline, Kentucky

Independence, Louisiana

Marrero, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana (2 reports)

Norco, Louisiana

Slaughter, Louisiana

Vacherie, Louisiana

Brookeville, Maryland

Termes-d'armagnac, Michigan

Madison, Mississippi

Saucier, Mississippi

Southaven, Mississippi

Waynesboro, Mississippi

Las Vegas, Nevada

Middlesex, New Jersey

Moorestown, New Jersey

Roswell, New Mexico

Staten Island, New York

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Fayetteville, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina

Rowland, North Carolina

Wilsons Mills, North Carolina

Cincinnati, Ohio

Edmond, Oklahoma

Beaverton, Oregon

Cornelius, Oregon

Salem, Oregon

Hatboro, Pennsylvania

Hershey, Pennsylvania

Mount Joy, Pennsylvania

Bluffton, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Islandton, South Carolina

Lexington, South Carolina

North Augusta, South Carolina

Pelion, South Carolina

Saint Helena Island, South Carolina

Sumter, South Carolina

Benton, Tennessee

Lenoir City, Tennessee

Memphis, Tennessee

Morrison, Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee

Sevierville, Tennessee

Smyrna, Tennessee

Anderson, Texas

Arlington, Texas

Austin, Texas

Boerne, Texas

Brownsville, Texas

Converse, Texas

Copperas Cove, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Harlingen, Texas

Houston, Texas (2 reports)

Lufkin, Texas

New Caney, Texas

Orange, Texas

Round Rock, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Smithville, Texas

Spicewood, Texas

Wilmer, Texas

Charlottesville, Virginia

Richmond, Virginia

Roanoke, Virginia

Falling Waters, West Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

9
positives
4
neutrals
1
negative
RatingContent
Neutral

On Jan 5, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

According to the Illinois Poison Control Center, magnolias are completely non-toxic to humans. The California Poison Control System says the same.

Positive

On Jan 18, 2014, lalea878 from Mobile, AL wrote:

This variety grows on its own here in the deep south, but I look at it as a symbol of the south and all the friendliness one finds down here. The hot humid weather gets on my last nerve at times but truly missed the south when I lived in AZ. I found out that 110 degrees at 7% humidity doesnt feel as hot as 80 degrees in the south on the coast, where you can almost cut the air with a knife at times! Love the trees down here and with my lot being partly wooded, I enjoy plenty of them, including this one.

Positive

On Jun 17, 2010, PammiePi from Green Cove Springs, FL wrote:

A native tree here in NE Florida, I live on a partially wooded acre on a large pond, and these trees can be found growing everywhere, almost to the point where they could be considered a pest, if it weren't for the fact they are so beautiful. The first year we lived here I transplanted a young tree that was growing along the fenceline, and planted it off the driveway in clay/sandy soil in a sunny location. This was my first experiment with transplanting a Magnolia. The tree thrived and grew quickly. It took about 7-8 years before the tree started blooming, when it reached about 30 ft. high. The white blooms are large and beautiful, the tree has a nice pyramidical shape, and the large evergreen leaves add a nice texture to the landscape. My particular tree only required care in the ea... read more

Negative

On May 19, 2009, Agaveguy from San Antonio, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Not well adapted to thinner soils of this area, or to our frequent droughts. Best specimens are in deep soils in river bottoms.

Positive

On Sep 18, 2008, baiissatva from Dunedin
New Zealand wrote:

This is a commonly planted tree down here and though exceedingly handsome when flourishing, there is nothing sadder-looking than a tortured specimen, with its puny yellowing leaves and spindly branches. So make sure your conditions are right. Up the road on a flatter site a 10 metre Grandiflora has just root-rotted out and toppled over after a particularly wet winter. (I find the following to be a reliable test of your conditions- Dig a two foot hole in your yard and fill with water- if its still there after 12 hours, you have crappy drainage and can consider yourself a tree-cemetery without remedial work.) So dont bother if youre soggy. Or too dry. Mags like regular water and this one's no exception.

This is an assertive tree in the landscape and will kick sand in the... read more

Neutral

On Dec 23, 2006, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

WAY overplanted tree here in Southern California, where it is one the city's favorite landscape trees, in some misguided effort to make LA remind them of the east coast perhaps? Whatever the reason, this tree does fairly well here, though never looks as great as it does in the deep south. Leaves fall off at the untraditional time of Spring, so leaf raking plans should be made for then. Some large trees seem to lose their entire set of leaves over a month, while growing new leaves at a rapid rate (so the tree is never leafless).

I personally dislike this tree because I have one in my yard and it drops huge leaves on my plants below, and I didn't plant it (street tree).. but the city never trims it, so it looks terrible. But if well trimmed, it can be a gorgeous tree.

Positive

On Jul 14, 2005, Fleurs from Columbia, SC wrote:

'Little Gem' is a cultivar which reaches 20' tall and 10' wide and blooms at a very young age. Blooming is heaviest in Spring and continues throughout Summer and into Fall. One year the blossoms on 'Little Gem' barely escaped a snowfall!

'DD Blanchard' grows to 30' tall and 20' wide. Its leaves are larger and even glossier than those of 'Little Gem.' DDB's flowers wait for about 3 years to bloom; while it doesn't have nearly the same number of blooms as 'Little Gem,' the flowers are larger and more volumptuous. Both trees are gorgeous and easy to grow, but be careful when purchasing these magnolias; we purchased 'DD Blanchard' by mistake, being assured it was 'Little Gem.'

As the magnolias age, the leaves drop more heavily, but cleanup isn't nearly as... read more

Positive

On Sep 19, 2004, nick89 from Tallahassee, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

One of the best Southern trees. The huge white flowers have few rivals and the evergreen leves are impressive. Almost every yard in my area seems to have them. They look at their best when allowed to grow naturally and branch all the way down the trunk to the ground, so provide plenty of room!

Positive

On Jul 24, 2004, foodiesleuth from Honomu, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

I was very surprised to see magnolias growing and blooming in Hawaii. I never thought of it as a "tropical" plant, but they do quite well here. They seem to bloom more often here throughout the year than the ones I had growing in my yard in SC, where I lived for many years.

Positive

On Jul 23, 2004, aviator8188 from Murphysboro, IL (Zone 7a) wrote:

Magnolias grow very tall and wide here in zone 7a extreme southern Illinois. The Mag's also bloom continuosly during the summer. Although they grow slow, their well worth the wait!

Neutral

On Apr 12, 2004, Andrsta1 from Shawnee Mission, KS wrote:

I rate it a 5

Neutral

On Nov 11, 2003, dogbane from New Orleans, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

I do love Magnolias. Along with Live Oaks and Bald Cypress, they rank as the best of the southern trees. However, in heavy wet soils like we have here in New Orleans, Magnolias face lots of stress and it shows by making the tree susceptable to scale insects. These are very difficult to treat and make the tree unsightly.

Positive

On Aug 30, 2002, Wingnut from Spicewood, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I LOVE this tree! The fragrance of the huge white blooms is incredible. One bloom will make an entire room smell good.

Positive

On Jan 25, 2002, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

This is the traditional Magnolia of the southern U.S., blooming with fragrant, creamy white flowers in the spring and intermittently throughout early summer. M. grandiflora is the state flower of Louisiana and Mississippi. The large (4"-8" long) and broad leaves are a lighter colored and pliable when young, aging to a darker color and leathery texture.

With such broad leaves, Magnolias need protection from wind. Carefully consider their eventual size (and the deep shade they cast) when positioning them in your yard. Some gardeners limb up the trees, while others allow the lower brances to remain.

Either way, they're a beautiful (if imposing) presence in the landscape, and their leaves and seed pods provide beautiful holiday decoration material.