Magnolia grandiflora (Southern Magnolia)

Scientific Name

Magnolia grandiflora L.

Common Names

Southern Magnolia, Bull Bay


Magnolia angustifolia, Magnolia elliptica, Magnolia exoniensis, Magnolia ferruginea, Magnolia ferruginea, Magnolia foetida, Magnolia galissoniensis, Magnolia glabra, Magnolia gloriosa, Magnolia lacunosa, Magnolia lanceolata, Magnolia longifolia, Magnolia maxima, Magnolia praecox, Magnolia pravertiana, Magnolia rotundifolia

Scientific Classification

Family: Magnoliaceae
Subfamily: Magnolioideae
Genus: Magnolia


Color: White
Bloom Time: Late spring


Magnolia grandiflora is a medium to a large evergreen tree with a (typically) single stem and a pyramidal shape. It usually grows up to 50 feet (15 m) tall, rarely up to 100 feet (36.5 m). Leaves are dark green with smooth margins, simple and broadly ovate, up to 8 inches (20 cm) long and up to 5 inches (12.5 cm) wide. Flowers are large, showy, white, lemon citronella-scented, with 6–12 petals with a waxy texture. They are up to 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter and appear from twigs' tips on mature trees in late spring. Fruits are oval, rose-colored, up to 4 inches (10 cm) long, and up to 2 inches (5 cm) wide.

Magnolia grandiflora - Southern Magnolia

How to Grow and Care

Although different species of Magnolia can tolerate slightly different conditions. In general, they will do best with slightly acidic, moist, loose, well-draining soil. To mimic Magnolia's natural conditions, amend heavy soil with peat moss and compost. Grow best in Zones 7-10, depending on variety, with a few cultivars hardy to zone 5. Full sun to partial shade. Moist, peaty soil can help Magnolias tolerate the full sun. If you're pushing the limits of cold tolerance, avoid planting Magnolias in southern exposure since the leaves can be damaged by winter sun, and flowers may open prematurely. Magnolias benefit from irrigation in the first few years, and then they are tolerant of moderate drought.

They need room to grow to their full mature size and width. While looking small when first planted, over time, they'll grow to fill up space.

Some varieties of Magnolia don't bloom until 15 years old, so be sure to choose one that fits your needs and expectations. Grafted plants (rather than seed-grown) bloom sooner. See more at How to Grow and Care for Magnolias.


Native to the southeastern United States.


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