Southern Magnolia 'Bracken's Brown Beauty'

Magnolia grandiflora

Family: Magnoliaceae
Genus: Magnolia (mag-NO-lee-a) (Info)
Species: grandiflora (gran-dih-FLOR-uh) (Info)
Cultivar: Bracken's Brown Beauty
Additional cultivar information:(PP5520)
Hybridized by Bracken
Registered or introduced: 1983



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are fragrant

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


over 40 ft. (12 m)


30-40 ft. (9-12 m)


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



Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

Blooms repeatedly


Grown for foliage



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Patent expired

Propagation Methods:

From semi-hardwood cuttings

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


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


Branford, Connecticut

Bear, Delaware

Wilmington, Delaware

Bonita Springs, Florida

Brooksville, Florida

Cantonment, Florida

Lecanto, Florida

Spring Hill, Florida

Hawkinsville, Georgia

Marietta, Georgia

Nampa, Idaho

Hanna City, Illinois

Plainfield, Illinois

Saunemin, Illinois

Sugar Grove, Illinois

Lawrence, Kansas

Shawnee Mission, Kansas

Louisville, Kentucky

Waterboro, Maine

Damascus, Maryland

Millis, Massachusetts

South Yarmouth, Massachusetts

Lansing, Michigan

Brandon, Mississippi

Saint Louis, Missouri

Rochester, New York

Beaufort, North Carolina

Burlington, North Carolina

Canton, Ohio

Lakewood, Ohio

Youngstown, Ohio

Stillwater, Oklahoma

Salem, Oregon

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (2 reports)

Conway, South Carolina

Summerville, South Carolina

Johnson City, Tennessee

Royse City, Texas

Richfield, Utah

Sandy, Utah

Suffolk, Virginia

Tacoma, Washington

Grafton, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 25, 2017, PhillyLover from Philadelphia Suburbs, PA (Zone 7a) wrote:

Glossy, medium-sized foliage and tight, compact plant habit. Put on 1-2' of growth per year. I have one planted in full sun all day and one in 3/4 day sun. Both perform equally well. Tolerate summer dryness although they would prefer regular waterings. Flowers are medium-sized and flowering lasts for about a month. I have never had any stem breakage even 6+" of wet snow and of course no cold damage here in Z7.


On Apr 17, 2013, wildbarrett from Lakewood, OH wrote:

In the ground now Lake Erie shore area, so Lake Effect Snow/winds area..2 years and this past winter was quite awful. Tree was a good 6 feet when planted, has grown beautifully, and even after this winter shows no harms whatsoever. Situated sunny except late afternoon shady, and does take on the north wind, stands strong and withstands without shock damage. Birds love the shelter in wind and rain, and escape enemies within the dense foliage. A VERY beautiful tree, we just love it. Mine does best if I keep the ground well watered in the summer heat is all. Sporadic leaves drop in spring for new leaves to grow, but not all the leaves, just a couple here and there each day till it's done! Lovely form, leaves and flowers, but my favorite are the gorgeous pods following the flowers, with... read more


On Jun 11, 2012, RBKB444 from Lansing, MI (Zone 5b) wrote:

I have had this plant in the ground for three years. It has grown a couple of feet, since I planted it. I protected it from the wind for the last two winters. It came through both winters with minimal leaf loss. The first year I had a few flowers on the plant, last year none. This year it is loaded with buds and is five feet tall. It has put out a lot of glossy green foliage this year. I think this is a great southern magnolia for northern areas. I live in zone 5b in Michigan.


On Jun 18, 2011, oscarkat01 from Rochester, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:

I planted this plant in zone 6a 3 years ago. It is somewhat sheltered but not quite as much as I'd like. It had a lot of leaf loss the first year but came back. The second year it had a few flowers and less leaf loss but it still had some. This last winter was one of the worst and coldest we've had in Rochester, NY and it came back great. It has lots of flower buds and is really taking off this year.


On Feb 12, 2011, RosemaryK from Lexington, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:

There is a lovely specimen growing in the Inniswood Gardens of Columbus Ohio. I am also emboldened to try it in a spot somewhat protected from Nor'easters because according to Jim Gardiner in Magnolias, a gardener's guide, 'Brackens Brown Beauty' is hardy to -20 degrees F. It was discovered by Ray Bracken in his nursery in Easley, south Carolina in 1978 and registered in 1987. Plant patent #5520.

Dorothy Calloway , 1994, writes in her magnolia book that it transplants well.


On Nov 28, 2009, RonDEZone7a from Wilmington, DE (Zone 7a) wrote:

I am in Wilmington, Delaware (Zone 7a), within the normal cultivated range of Magnolia grandiflora. Even so, I was looking for a hardier cultivar to plant in the cold exposed NW corner of my backyard. Brackens Brown Beauty has done great in my "cold corner" and has never shown any winter damage. It just gets bigger and more beautiful each year.


On Oct 16, 2008, mambrose from Millis, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:

I did everything wrong for planting M. grandiflora in my region... small 2 gallon size, planted in the ground during late September, sited in a completely exposed location that receives direct winter morning sun. The trees were completely defoliated and had ~33% dieback that winter. They recovered and bloomed the next spring and now (in the ground 4 years) only experience slight leaf burn with minimal leaf loss and abundant flowering and seed set each year.


On May 8, 2007, cactusman102 from Lawrence, KS wrote:

Definately hardy to at least zone 5b/6a, Lawrence, KS. This is one of only 3 broadleaf evergreen trees we can reliably grow. This is a real attention getter, especially in the winter. As a landscape company owner, we have installed about 50 lange specimens in our landscapes over the last 4 years. We have yet to replace even one. Two years ago, we experimented with a couple trees planted in open windswept prairie conditions. Even these have survived well with minor leaf burn. 15 gal trees establish best and are well worth the money considering their slow growth rate. Adequare water is needed during establishment which can take a couple years. Anti-transpirant spray is advised the first year, especially in the fall before winter. In contrast to most other plants, these are late to l... read more


On Nov 28, 2006, imcuban2 from Chicago, IL wrote:

This is definately a winner. Early winter when all the trees are bald its shiney leaves make it stand out. It has partial shade in winter and full sun in summer. I will be getting more as soon as lowes gets them in. My neighbor is from down south, she in her 50's. She loved it and made me buy her one too lol.

Update I sold the house in Chicago now I live in Plainfield Ill. 45 miles SW of Chicago, I just bought a magnolia 2 years ago same Brackens brown beauty and It was 6ft now its 12' Tall !! I posted pics


On May 29, 2006, Butch388 from Youngstown, OH wrote:

I planted Branken's Brown Beauty a year ago and though we didn't have a hard winter, there was little defoliation on the tree and I have twice as many buds this year/ I put down a balance of 12 12 12 and it is doing beautiful. I live in northern Ohio1


On Jan 2, 2006, braun06 from Peoria Heights, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

Here in Peoria, IL there is a Brackens Brown Beauty growing in a parkway between the sidewalk and the street of all places, 12-14' tall. (January-February 2014 Update* One low down to -15 and maybe 7 other lows between -10 and 0 have caused this tree to bronze and burn in the full sunlight. The tree completely defoliated and died back on the 3 main branches by 1.5'-2'. Tree is recovering and leafing out now that its June, a couple flowers survived as well. Winter protection of a northern or eastern exposure by a tall building is recommended in zone 5.)


On Aug 27, 2005, datbeme from Royse City, TX wrote:

This tree grows well in Royse City Texas. I bought and planted it in early July of 05 and it has already bloomed!


On Jun 11, 2005, revlar from Brooksville, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

A beautiful and easy to grow evergreen tree. The 6 to 8 inch pure white flowers fill the air with the fragrance of lemon. Does well in the central Florida landscape.


On May 25, 2005, estiva from Grafton, WI wrote:

I live just outside the zone range (se Wisconsin-5b) of this plant. I have two in seperate unprotected areas which I planted last spring (2004). With a minimum low of -14F last winter both plants totally defoliated. However, both have survived and are budding. Ironically, the more exposed one has more buds and will sprout leaves first. I was blessed by two large blooms last summer and can't wait until I see them again!


On Aug 31, 2004, EHESeattle from Tacoma, WA wrote:

Grows very well in Seattle!


On Mar 30, 2004, ilexopaca from Sugar Grove, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

I have had good luck growing Brackens Brown Beauty
in a protected east exposure in Illinois. I live 40 miles west of Chicago. It came through the winter and had 3 blooms on it last summer 2003. It has come through this winter 2004 in even better shape. Minimal leaf burn after -12 degree low.


On Mar 2, 2004, kavalair from Branford, CT wrote:

In spite of a brutal winter in Connecticut in 2002 - 2003, this tree not only survived, but produced blooms the following late spring and it was only two years old when planted in 08/02.


On May 2, 2002, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

Leaves are rust-colored on the undersides; flowers have a lemon scent