Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Saucer Magnolia, Tulip Tree
Magnolia x soulangeana

Family: Magnoliaceae
Genus: Magnolia (mag-NO-lee-a) (Info)
Species: x soulangeana (soo-lan-jee-AH-nuh) (Info)

Synonym:Magnolia x soulangiana

4 vendors have this plant for sale.

18 members have or want this plant for trade.


20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
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)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
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
Provides winter interest

Soil pH requirements:
4.6 to 5.0 (highly acidic)
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From woody stem cuttings
Scarify seed before sowing

Seed Collecting:
Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing

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There are a total of 51 photos.
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22 positives
3 neutrals
4 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive giegertree On Jan 25, 2015, giegertree from Savannah, GA wrote:

Of all the places I've lived (east of the Rockies) and gardened, the ONLY place I've EVER heard the saucer magnolia called a "tulip tree" is by New Jerseyites...

Go back to your annoying state and stop spreading the falsehood that this is "tulip tree" here in the South-- that name is specific to our native yellow poplar or Liriodendron tulipifera.

Positive RosemaryK On Jan 7, 2014, RosemaryK from Lexington, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:

I like to prune the cross branches in late winter or early spring, and then display them in water much as one might do for forsythia. In time the leaves and blossoms that sprout from the fuzzy buds make a fragrant and pretty display.

Positive funflower On Jul 4, 2012, funflower from Fort Mill, SC wrote:

I have a pink magnolia or tulip tree as it is called here in Fort Mill,SC.
It bloomed in the spring, as usual, before any leaves came out. I just looked out and in the upper part of the tree nestled among the green leaves, are pink blooms. It has been 95-104 degrees so why is it blooming again? It did it last year but I thought it was just a fluke!

Positive delbertyoung56m On Mar 15, 2012, delbertyoung56m from Medina, NY wrote:

I planted my Saucer Magnolia in 2001 and it has slowly grown, with minor pruning each year after it blooms. The tree has never lost its flowers to early blooms/late frosts. It is in my front, side yard on the northside of my home in partial shade. Very few of these trees in Medina, NY, which is a shame, because this tree deserves a wider distribution in any neighborhood.

Positive jockamo On Mar 13, 2012, jockamo from Gretna, LA wrote:

Down yonder in Nawleens we call this tree Japanese Magnolia,a rose by any other name,would be called something else~!!!!!

Positive Daigon On Mar 12, 2012, Daigon from Villa Rica, GA wrote:

We moved to TN 18 months ago and the property came with two kind of mags. One the Southern Mag, one a Saucer Mag. I have to say both are gorgeous.

The Saucer Mag blooms faster and lasts longer. It is gorgeous and makes what few neighbors (this is a farm) we have envious. I have learned from the UT Dept of Ag how to make cuttings/rootings.

This is going to be sooo cool!

Positive timed100 On Mar 12, 2012, timed100 from Buffalo, NY wrote:

I planted my Magnolia x soulangeana at the south west corner of my house maybe 35+ years ago. The spring after planting vandals (kids?) tore off all the flowers, maybe a dozen, and scattered them around the neighborhood. I was furious! It blooms extravagantly every spring and has several dozen during the summer. It is never affected by frost. I once brought some flowers into the house but the fragrance was so overpowering I had to remove them! It is as tall as my 3 story house even after being cut back 6 feet or so in 2 different years. I expect to do some more pruning this summer. A neighbor once gave me a photo he took of it in full bloom because he thought it was so beautiful!

Positive loganintheus On Mar 22, 2011, loganintheus from Crownsville, MD wrote:

Love our Magnolia. We sit in its deep shade every afternoon throughout summer. Our is flowering less and less each year. It may be as much as 30 years old - since it was planted by a previous owner. Does anyone know what is the expected lifetime of this beautiful tree ?

Positive hortulaninobili On Jan 20, 2011, hortulaninobili from St. Louis, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

Magnolia x soulangeana 'Jane':

I have had a successful draw with this large shrub/small tree now for the better part of a decade. Reliable flowering (and prolific every spring) and have never experience losing flowers from a spring frost. Where this plant is located in a landscape may help minimize damage to flowers from an early spring frost.

Ideally, saucer and stellata magnolias should be planted in a somewhat protected area. I have mine planted on the northwest corner of my house. This ensures the sun does not begin to heat up area too early in spring, prematurely breaking dormancy. I see all the time, magnolias planted facing south (on the south side of a house, for instance) which WILL heat up faster and sooner than a northern exposure in spring, causing too early a break in dormancy.

As with nearly every tree or shrub, mulch should be used to moderate soil moisture and temperature. Supplemental irrigation and fertilizer is a must for the first five years after planting. Pruning should be done to remove crossing branches, dead branches, and thin canopy to allow air flow and light to reach interior. DO NOT prune to create a tacky geometric shape. Prune to accentuate natural growing habit. Over time EXPECT this shrub to eventually take on a broad-canopied umbrella-like tree form. The small subjects purchased at the store are just that . . . small plants that WILL eventually get large. So plant in final location!

Relatively devoid of serious pests and disease. Sometimes powdery mildew will be a problem but only cosmetic. Fall color is not incredible: usually a dull grey-yellow.

Positive Hison On Dec 4, 2010, Hison from Dillsburg, PA wrote:

I love this plant. I live in an old farmhouse (built around the 1840's) next to an orchard form the early 1800's. I do not know how old the tree is but it is beautiful when blooming or even just with leaves. As I kid I climbed the tree (a vary good beginner climbing tree btw). The Magnolia is easily 40ft and is next to the sidewalk making a picture perfect view each day it blooms when walking to my car or barn. The tree has recently had a main limb cut down because it was hallow, hopefully this does not mean it is the beginning of the end for this beautiful tree.
If anyone has any info on how to date a Magnolia please send me an Email, Thank you

Positive redspqr On Jun 18, 2010, redspqr from Madison, AL wrote:

I purchased a saucer magnolia from my local Home Depot. I was unaware how large it would get, so I will have to transplant it this fall. It is in front of my house in a flower bed (morning shade and afternoon sun). I planted it in late February. Shortly after planting, it bloomed profusely (beautiful purple blooms). In 4 months it has grown considerably and I noticed today among all the beautiful leaves that it has buds that are starting to bloom again! The only things I have done to it was trim some lower branches, Miracle Grow, and the soil I planted it in was one of those "water wise" soils that I mixed with our local clay soil. It gets pretty dry here in the summer (Alabama). I love this tree!

Positive RichGardner On May 2, 2010, RichGardner from Richardson, TX wrote:

Yes, this plant is an early bloomer, which usually means it gets caught with a late freeze. This is true for every early spring bloomer in the Dallas area.

But this does not take away from the awsome beauty of this plant - it is classified as a bush as it generally is shorter than 20 feet in height at maturity. We have had this tulip magnolia in our yard for over 40 years. It has never suffered from disease or pests. It has survived beautifully thru drought, killer summers (115 degrees +) and late freezes. It loves composted manure, but I haven't been vigilant with the application and it has been growing in the "black prairie" which is very alcaline. My tulip has been growing under a huge white oak all this time and appears to suffer no ill effects.

If the weather man says there will be a late freeze, why not cut some of the blooms and make an awsome ikebana arrangement?

Neutral saya On Jun 21, 2009, saya from Heerlen
Netherlands (Zone 8b) wrote:

I like to give it a neutral rate. But maybe in a better and more suitable climate and in a yard without such limited space I'm sure it will get a more positive rate. In my climate there's a great chance that it will not flower without being damaged by late night frosts. Whenever this happens when it is in flower...ooohhh it looks so sad, ugly..truly a sad looking spring.. and it brings a lot of mess without having any joy to see it in flower. I have a tulip tree in my garden...It has been there when I moved in.. it has been planted by the former inhabitants. Like most Dutch city backyards my space is very limited. I think average space for Dutch city yards is about 50m2..(unless you're lucky and/or rich).. so I'm just lucky to have 200 m2. For that fact I would not have chosen to plant a tulip tree ..I would choose a small tree that bears edible fruits.. But.. hence I have it in my garden I will respect it, I will try to enjoy it as much as I can and I will take care of it. Negative for me are: it sheds a lot ...first its outer are its (relative big) flower petals..after that lots (most) of its unripened seeds..and finally it sheds its (relative big) foliage..
I have a gravel keeps me busy cleaning all up..its unripened seeds are to heavy for my garden vacuum I have to pick them up by hand because I cannot rake it out of the gravel... When it is in flower its heavy perfume can give me headaches...But...when it is in flower ..aaaahhh is a heavenly sight and all neighbours envy me..During hot spells..I know where I can find a shady spot in my south facing garden..its shed flower petals nurture the garden soil..its shed foliage shelter frost tender plants in my garden during winter...I collect most of its shed foliage in plastic bags ..pinch holes in it..and store them on a place not in sight and where rain and snow can easy reach them..sure to keep them time this gives me perfect leaf mold. does not withstand hard will react with huge epicormic branches..prune it only if it is necessary and only little by little and directly after flowering. If you prune later there will be lesser flowers.. It's best not to prune at all.. most of its roots are at the surface so mind that when you dig in the garden.

Positive purplesun On Apr 14, 2009, purplesun from Krapets
Bulgaria (Zone 8a) wrote:

I grow my Saucer Magnolia in an acidic, woodland type of soil, and it has been doing admirably. It grows in Sofia, Bulgaria at 2300 feet AMSL.
Has tripled in size since being planted in the ground in 2006, I think. I have never coddled it, apart from a few waterings in the heat of summer. It is in full bloom right now, for the second time in its life, and has somehow escaped being ruined by frost. Its buds open a bit later here because of the high altitude.
The only concern for me is that it is not the small tree that I purchased any longer. It is a quite wide spreading tree, and it can occupy a small garden easily in short time.
Otherwise, this is a justifiably popular flowering tree.

Positive therica On Mar 9, 2009, therica from Falling Waters, WV (Zone 7a) wrote:

We planted a small 15-inch "tree" in summer 2007, and it's been neglected. Our soil is rather clay-alkaline, as well. It doubled in size in a year, then in fall 2008 a large windstorm ripped it in half. The remaining half rebounded quickly and in December it began to bloom again! No problems whatsoever with blooming, even when it was first planted it put out a few blooms. It's bloomed on and off nearly throughout the year despite a 7a climate, ice and snow storms. Maybe these people who are giving it Negative ratings need to stop trying so hard and just let it find its own way!

Positive mbwoody On Jul 8, 2008, mbwoody from Waverly, PA (Zone 5b) wrote:

My magnolia in zone 5 Pennsylvania is a magnificent 25' by 25'. I call it positive because although a final frost or hard rain can take the bloom away, there are an equal number of years when we have that perfect sunny spring day and open those windows to watch the flowers and smell that heavenly fragrance. It is worth it.
My tree is protected on 3 sides, is among conifers and is in highly acidic soil at the base of a low hill that stays very wet to moist all year. We do not mow under it, it has a carpet of ground violets, and the summer shade makes it an ideal place to sit. Love this one.

Neutral Greenhousegirl9 On Jul 7, 2008, Greenhousegirl9 from Palm Bay, FL wrote:

I love this magnolia plant. Its wonderful! I've heard it called Japanese magnolia by the students at my college.

BEWARE: certain people can be allergic-ish to the pollen! symptoms ranged from mild headache, sneezing/runny nose, to watery eyes.

Other than that it is a rather harmless tree with magnificent flowers! They are really nice, very big pink/white flowers that are excellent for picture taking.

Negative valzone5 On Jul 7, 2008, valzone5 from Mountain Top, PA wrote:

Ours has been planted for about 5 years in the sun, is about 6 foot tall, is growing like a bush also, and has never flowered! We have fertilized it to no avail and are very very disappointed.

Positive patticake512 On Jan 9, 2008, patticake512 from Clifton Park, NY wrote:

My neighbor has a beautiful tree in her yard. There are many all over this area. There are 3 very old ones where I work that put on a great display every spring! Maybe they need the real cold winters that we have up here in zone 4!

Negative NoLawns On Dec 12, 2007, NoLawns from Warrenville, IL wrote:

Tree has a great form, and hundreds of beautiful flowers. Why A negative? The tree starts blooming and all of a sudden we have a cold snap. Then you see it the next day the flowers have turned to brown mush. Out of the 18 years of having this tree only 6 winters spared its flowers. It is about 25 Ft. This fall I've noticed huge splits on every main branch and the main trunk. I'll update spring 2008. I think it will bloom and then die.

Positive passiflora_pink On May 15, 2007, passiflora_pink from Shelby County, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

A mature tree blooming in late February is a sight to behold. It really cheers the winter gardener waiting for spring. True it gets nipped sometimes, but nothing says "spring" like a saucer magnolia in full bloom.

Positive Lily_love On Feb 25, 2007, Lily_love from Central, AL (Zone 7b) wrote:

I've planted these 'Tulip Trees' here in zone 7b. Once they're established they can take up neglect. I planted 3 of these on a property in 80's. 2 under big oaks' shade and one in full sun. The one on full sun is proprtionately bigger and bloomed more profusely. And yes, some year they suffer from late frosts, as it does happen quite often here. But when these gems are in its full blooms. Behold; beauty and pure. The rest of the growing season. It's not too showy, but what can beat the winter blues when Saucer Magnolia are there to shout out "Spring is near".

Positive Redkarnelian On Nov 20, 2006, Redkarnelian from Newmarket, ON (Zone 5a) wrote:

In my neighborhood I've watched quite a few of these trees rapidly grow from small pot plantings to large trees (10 years) and they are fabulous! They always bloom profusely right after the last frost and then shower the ground with petals which can wait a bit before being picked up - they're pretty. The leaves are large and bright green - very attractive and distinctive. I've never seen the problems that other posters have indicated. Maybe my hardiness zone is better for them, even though it's colder.

Negative escambiaguy On Feb 24, 2006, escambiaguy from Atmore, AL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I agree with the previous statement about this tree blooming too early. I have even seen them starting to bloom in the fall after shedding its leaves, only to have the frost get them. While the tree may be pretty in bloom, I think its just an ugly tree the rest of the year. The foliage is a light green which always looks like it has chlorosis. Plus, it looks more like a bush than a tree.

Negative ineedacupoftea On Dec 3, 2005, ineedacupoftea from Denver, CO wrote:

I'm actaully giving this beautiful tree a negative rating because of its propensity to bloom suicidally before the last frost. Years of failure due to late frosts have been written from 1 in five to 1 in 3 years. I would also not give it a negative rating were there not a grand range of new cultivars that bloom just late enough to miss turning into a spring tree of brown rags. But ther are many out there. I do give it credit for being adaptable to extreme, even dry, soils, and being a bloomer at a very young age.

This is a tree for patient and forgiving gardeners unlike myself; dug mine up (gave it away) and supplanted it with a different Magnolia.

Positive Pameladragon On Jul 4, 2004, Pameladragon from Appomattox, VA wrote:

About 10 years ago I found an unusual M. soulangiana, all purple flowers, in a batch of the species. The tree has thrived in central Virginia and will put on a second bloom in late June-July when the tree is fully leafed out. The flowers are dark purple-rose inside and out.

In our climate the early first bloom is usually caught by a frost so the second set of blooms, while not as showey, is very nice.

The tree has grown into a bushy 15 feet, branched to the ground, in ten years from a 3-gallon pot.

Not fragrant.

Positive frostweed On Mar 10, 2004, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Saucer magnolia is a beautiful small tree in my yard although I have seen a very large one in the Fort Worth botanical garden.
It blooms in late February in this zone and some years it does freeze while in bloom which damages the flowers and the wood, nevertheless I love it because of the beauty it brings early in the year.

Positive smiln32 On Aug 6, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Absolutely stunning in spring, though the flowers don't last as long as one would like. The flowers can be 4-5 inches across and have white to pink coloration from the center outward to the tip of the petal.

Our tree had another tree fall on it just before we moved into our house and, although it has recovered nicely, the shape of the tree will never be the same. It seemed to send up "suckers" from the existing branches.

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

The common name "Tulip Tree" is a misnomer. M. soulangiana is a deciduous tree, with beautiful pink blossoms in early spring, before leafing out.

Plant in a protected spot, ideally with partial sun and good air flow to prevent disease. This shrub is a beautiful harbinger of spring in any garden, although the blooming may be sporadic in colder climates, where a late frost is likely.


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

Atmore, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama
Dothan, Alabama
Madison, Alabama (2 reports)
Pelham, Alabama
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Vincent, Alabama
Citrus Heights, California
El Cerrito, California
Fairfield, California
Los Angeles, California (2 reports)
Manhattan Beach, California
Modesto, California
Sacramento, California
San Leandro, California
Santa Barbara, California (2 reports)
Whittier, California
Clifton, Colorado
Brooksville, Florida
Destin, Florida
Gainesville, Florida
Graceville, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida (2 reports)
Spring Hill, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Trenton, Florida
Braselton, Georgia
Hawkinsville, Georgia
Marietta, Georgia
Savannah, Georgia
Troy, Illinois
Newburgh, Indiana
Iowa City, Iowa
Barbourville, Kentucky
Clermont, Kentucky
Frankfort, Kentucky
Georgetown, Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Mc Dowell, Kentucky
Nicholasville, Kentucky
Paris, Kentucky
Saint Charles, Kentucky
Versailles, Kentucky
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Krotz Springs, Louisiana
Marrero, Louisiana
Monroe, Louisiana
Natchitoches, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
Crownsville, Maryland
Silver Spring, Maryland
Lawrence, Massachusetts
Dearborn Heights, Michigan
Utica, Michigan
Mathiston, Mississippi
O Fallon, Missouri
Fredericton, New Brunswick
Buffalo, New York
Clifton Park, New York
Latham, New York
Medina, New York
Ridgewood, New York
Schenectady, New York
Pittsboro, North Carolina
Winston Salem, North Carolina
Glen Margaret, Nova Scotia
Cleveland, Ohio
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Salem, Oregon
Dillsburg, Pennsylvania
Vandergrift, Pennsylvania
Waverly, Pennsylvania
Conway, South Carolina
Fort Mill, South Carolina (2 reports)
Summerville, South Carolina
Sumter, South Carolina
Middleton, Tennessee
Watertown, Tennessee
Arlington, Texas
Conroe, Texas
Deer Park, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
La Porte, Texas
Liberty Hill, Texas
Orange, Texas (2 reports)
Richardson, Texas
Richmond, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Appomattox, Virginia
Clifton Forge, Virginia
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Everett, Washington
Lakewood, Washington
Falling Waters, West Virginia
Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin

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