Once temperatures start warming up, Japanese magnolia waves goodbye to winter by launching an impressive display of large, pinkish flowers.
Sometimes called saucer magnolia, Japanese magnolia is a deciduous ornamental tree that is prized by gardeners for its early season flowering.
The large blooms can be anywhere from 4 to 12 inches across, depending on the cultivar. The petals usually point upward like a torch, and they can be white, yelow, pink, or purple. The flowers appear before the tree starts leafing out, which is part of what makes the display so striking.
These small- to medium-sized trees can grow up to 30 feet tall and 25 feet across, so they can be an appropriate choice for many of today’s smaller yards.
Japanese magnolia is hardy in USDA Zones 4-9a and can be successfully planted in North and North Central Florida. It’s known scientifically as Magnolia x soulangiana.
Planting and Care
Your Japanese magnolia should be planted in fertile, well-drained soil, either in full sun or partial shade. Remember to leave your tree ample room to reach its eventual height and spread. Don’t forget to look up and check for overhead power lines.
Follow UF/IFAS recommendations for planting the tree and establishing a regular irrigation schedule for the first year.
This low-maintenance tree requires little pruning. It’s also relatively pest-free, with the exception that pesky squirrels sometimes feast on the flower buds before they open. The buds can sometimes be damaged by freezes if they begin opening too early in the season.
For more information on weeping Japanese magnolia, contact your county Extension office.
- Choosing Small Trees for Small Yards (PDF)
- Magnolia x soulangiana: Saucer Magnolia
- It's the Season for Flowering Magnolias (PDF)
- Saucer Magnolia Takes Center Stage (PDF)
Also on Gardening in a Minute
- Japanese Magnolias Offer Winter Beauty--Mississippi State University Extension Service
- Plant of the Week: Saucer Magnolia--University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service
- Magnolia x soulangeana--Floridata.com
- Magnolia x soulangeana--Missouri Botanical Garden
- Magnolia x soulangiana 'Alexandrina'--Monrovia.com
- Magnolia x soulangiana 'Jurmag1' P.P.A.F., Blach Tulip™ Magnolia--Monrovia.com