Magnolia tree (Magnolia grandiflora)

The magnolia is a tree with white flowers

Image - Wikimedia / KENPEI

La magnolia grandiflora it is a breathtakingly beautiful tree. Known as magnolia, it has long leaves of a beautiful dark color, and white flowers so decorative that when the tree blooms it creates such a beautiful sight that you want to take not one, but many photos.

It is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant, since it also produces a good shade during the summer, which is ideal to protect itself from the star king during those days.

Features magnolia grandiflora

Our protagonist is an evergreen tree (that is, that remains evergreen) native to the southeastern United States, from North Carolina to Texas and Florida. Its scientific name is magnolia grandiflora, and their common names are common magnolia, magnolia or magnolia. It belongs to the botanical family Mangoliaceae.

Its growth rate is rather slow, and it may take 4-5 years to reach one meter. Once it reaches adulthood, it can exceed 35 meters. The leaves are long, up to 20 centimeters in length, simple, ovate, dark green in color and leathery in texture.

What is the magnolia flower like?

Magnolia grandiflora has large flowers

Image - Flickr / Cathy Flanagan

In spring, it produces fragrant white flowers that grow to a diameter of 30 inches.. They are composed of 3 sepals and between 6 and 12 oval petals, in addition to numerous stamens. Therefore, they are hermaphrodites, so they do not depend on pollinating animals to produce fruit.

When the egg is fertilized, begins to mature into an infrutescence that is conical in shape and inside which we will find the seeds, which are elongated in red. But for this to happen, the magnolia tree must reach a certain maturity, since it normally takes about 10 years -from the seed germinates- until it produces its own; and even so, it will take another 15 years until it gives the highest number of seeds.

The fruit of the magnolia is sown in winter
Related article:
How to sow the fruit of the magnolia?

A "problem" or drawback with the magnolia tree is that, although its viability period is quite long (we speak of years if it is kept in a protected place), only 50% of all those produced will germinate.

What is the difference between magnolia and magnolia?

Both terms are used to talk about the same tree. But it is important to take into account that Magnolia, with the »m» in capital letters, it refers to the botanical genus to which it belongs; Y magnolia is one of the common names, along with magnolia with the lowercase "m".

What is the care of the magnolia tree?

If you want to have one or more specimens in your garden, follow our advice:


Evergreens are evergreen plants, such as Magnolia grandiflora

Image - Flickr / Salomé Bielsa

The magnolia tree supports direct sun if the climate is mild and humid. Therefore, if these conditions are met in the place where you live, you can expose it to direct sun as long as you acclimatize it before since otherwise it would burn.

If in your area the degree of insolation is very high in summer, as it happens in the Mediterranean for example, it is better to be in semi-shade or even in an area where filtered light gives it, through a shading mesh (for sale here!) or similar.


So that I can grow well it is important that the soil has a slightly acidic pH, between 5 and 6,5. In limestone soils it has many problems to develop properly due to the lack of iron.

Irrigation and humidity

Now magnolia grandiflora he likes a cool and humid environment. It needs regular waterings, every 2-3 days in summer and every 3-4 days the rest of the year. If you live in an area where it usually rains regularly, your tree is sure to be beautiful.

If the environment is very dry, do not hesitate to spray its leaves daily. And that is how you will prevent them from losing too much water, and consequently, from turning brown. This is a tree whose foliage quickly loses color when conditions are not right, but that is an easily avoidable problem.

Irrigation water has to be rainy or acidic. If you do not have how to get it, it will be enough to add 1 liter of water and dilute the liquid of a lemon or a few drops of vinegar in it. The amount will vary depending on the pH of that water, something that can be measured with a digital pH meter (for sale here!) for example. It must not be very low; with it being around 4-6 will be enough.


During spring and summer it must be paid using Organic fertilizers or with fertilizers for acidophilic plants (on sale here!) that you will find in nurseries and garden stores. If you opt for the latter, it is important that you follow the instructions specified on the package to avoid the risk of overdose.


It's not necesary. It will be enough to remove the dry, weak or diseased branches. If pruned, it would take away the natural beauty of the magnolia tree, as this is a tree that acquires its rounded crown on its own.

And in any case, if you are going to prune it, do it in late winter and with suitable pruning tools. In this case, it would be anvil scissors for young branches less than 1 centimeter; and hand saw (for sale here!) for semi-woody or woody branches 2 cm or more thick.


Does not usually have. Maybe some cottony mealybug or some aphids if the environment is very dry, but nothing serious. They can be fought with diatomaceous earth (for sale here!) no problem.

Magnolia diseases

The magnolia tree can have several diseases throughout its life, and they are:

  • Chancre: it is a disease transmitted by fungi that mainly affects large specimens. If we see that one branch suddenly dries up, and the rest look good, we will remove it. But we also have to see if the bark comes off, or if the branches have knots or abnormal lumps. It is treated with fungicide (for sale here!).
  • Wood rot- Occurs when the inner bark rots, leading to wilting of the leaves. It is also treated with fungicides.
  • Fungal spots: they can be orange or grayish spots, with a variable size and shape. It is best to prune the affected parts and treat with a multipurpose fungicide (for sale here!).
  • Algae leaf spot: they are gray, brown, orange or green spots, generally rounded in shape but can extend on one side of the leaf or throughout the blade. It is treated by removing the affected parts, and keeping the magnolia tree healthy.

It can also have brown leaves, due to, for example, excessive watering, or too direct sun exposure.

Magnolia Multiplication

La magnolia grandiflora It can be multiplied by all methods: seeds, cuttings, grafts and layering. Let's see how to proceed in each case:


The fruit of the magnolia tree is an infrutescence

The seeds they have to be collected in autumn, as soon as the fruit ripens. If there are no specimens nearby, they must also be acquired during the fall (October / November in the Northern Hemisphere).

Once cleaned, they can be planted directly in pots with universal growing substrate mixed with perlite in equal parts, or they can be stratified in the fridge for three months at around 4ºC in a tupperware with vermiculite.


The cutting or staking method is complicated in the magnolia tree, but it is the one that is used the most. It is done like this:

  1. To multiply the Magnolia by cuttings, take the semi-woody stems that look healthier and stronger at the end of spring.
  2. Afterwards, the bases of the cuttings are impregnated with rooting hormones (such as these).
  3. They are then planted in pots with equal parts mixed with acidic plant substrate and perlite.
  4. Then, heat is put in the background and they are sprayed regularly.


The grafting method is used to obtain specimens that grow faster or to obtain new varieties. It is done in the following way:

  1. At the beginning of spring the plants obtained from seeds of magnolia kobus o magnolia acuminata that will serve as rootstocks.
  2. At the end of the summer, you can proceed to graft the M.grandiflora, making a side graft.
  3. After joining with raffia tape or grafting, they are placed in seed boxes for about 10 days for the joint to heal.
  4. At six weeks they will be ready.


The simple layering method can be done successfully in early spring, using young branches of 1 to 2 years. For it, to do is the following:

  1. The first thing is to select a branch and make a bark ring.
  2. Then it is moistened with water and infused with rooting hormones.
  3. Next, take a piece of black plastic, cover the branch and hold it on one side.
  4. Afterwards, it is filled with brown peat previously moistened in water, and the other side is clamped.
  5. Finally, it will be necessary to moisten the peat with a syringe filled with water from time to time.


It supports well frosts down to -18ºC, but temperatures over 30ºC can seriously affect you.

Can you have a potted magnolia tree?

Well, it is not recommended, since it is a tree that grows very large. Remember that it can exceed 30 meters in height. But if we take into account that it grows slowly, it will be possible to grow it in a pot for many years. To do this, what we must do is provide the following care:

  • Location: we will put it outside, in semi-shade.
  • Substratum: it is important to use substrate for acidic plants or coconut fiber (for sale here!) so you don't have problems.
  • Irrigation: we will water several times a week in summer, and once or twice a week the rest of the year. The water must be rainy or with a low pH, between 4 and 6.
  • Subscriber: in spring and summer it must be fertilized with a liquid fertilizer for acid plants following the manufacturer's instructions. In the event that you want to use natural fertilizers, the guano will be fine.
  • Transplant: every 3 or 4 years we will have to plant our magnolia tree in a larger pot. This pot should be about 10 centimeters wider and taller than the »old one».

Uses of magnolia grandiflora

Magnolia is an evergreen plant

Image - Wikimedia / Nolege

This is a tree that is used mainly as a garden plant, but Did you know that it also has medicinal properties? It is used to relieve and treat diseases of the digestive system, to reduce stress and anxiety, and also for respiratory problems such as asthma or bronchitis.

What is the most common color of magnolia?

White. Many of the magnolia species, including our protagonist, have white flowers, although there are exceptions, such as the magnolia soulangean, which has roses.

Where to buy a magnolia tree?

You can buy a magnolia tree here!.

What did you think of this tree?

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  1.   Camelia said

    Hello Monica, as always your advice is very useful. I have 1 little one of 1 cm and another that is about to come out, let's see if they can grow 🙂

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Camellia.
      Sprinkle the substrate with copper or sulfur to prevent fungi from infecting them. So they can grow without problems.
      Greetings and thanks for your words 🙂.

  2.   Ruben zavala said

    I have one about 1 and a half meters tall, I am completely in love with this plant and its beautiful flowers, exactly which part is used medicinally and in what way is it used? Thanks for the information, a hug!

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Ruben.
      The flowers passed through oil are used.
      a greeting

    2.    Dew said

      Are magnolia roots invasive?
      How far away should it be from pipes and buildings?
      Thanks in advance for your answers.

      1.    Monica Sanchez said

        Hello Rocio.

        It is not that they are invasive as those of the Ficus can be, for example, but it is recommended to plant the tree about 7 meters from the pipes and others.


  3.   Carlos Clemente said

    I have a magnolia that is about 20 years old. The first years (10-12) she was very pretty and the pineapples of the seed were fat. For a few years and progressively it has been losing more leaves, they are very small and the cones of the seed very small.
    the aspect is getting poorer and if it continues like this I think I will lose it.
    It is in full sun and lately the summers are very hot with temperatures hovering around 40º
    I would appreciate if you inform me to see if I can save it.
    thank you very much

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi carlos.

      The magnolia does not like too hot climates. Ideally, in summer it should not rise above 30ºC, and if it does, the tree should be in semi-shade.

      My advice is that, if you can, move it to a place where it is not directly exposed to the sun. But if that is not possible, have you thought about planting trees around it to shade it? Maybe a Cercis siliquastrum or hackberry.


  4.   Maria del Carmen said

    You have convinced me. I was looking for an attractive tree for my garden and I think I will plant the magnolia tree.
    Thank you very much.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Great, Maria del Carmen. If you have any questions, now or later, get in touch with us again 🙂


  5.   Mellow said

    I have a potted magnolia on the terrace. The leaves from above have started to turn brown and dry. The leaves near the root remain green.
    I do not know if it is due to lack of irrigation even though I water it every 20 days
    It is on a terrace with noon and mid-afternoon sun.
    Could you help me?
    Thank you very much

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Mellow.

      From what you count, it looks like the sun is burning it. I recommend that you change its place, or put a parasol or something similar so that in this way it is protected from the star king.


  6.   EvelynL. said

    EXCELLENT summary of this wonderful Tree. I still have doubts about how to make a seedbed in South America (Chile) I am a fan and I am making a seedbed (summer) I hope it works for me. I have a tree that is more than 15 years old and it is beautiful.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Evelyn.

      Thank you, this is certainly a very nice tree.

      To know how to make seedbeds we recommend reading this article.


  7.   VICENTE said

    Very interesting article, I have 2 Magnolios of 12 meters. In height, they began to dry out due to excess moisture in a very clayey subsoil, I am treating them by reducing irrigation, applying a fungicide, strengthening their nutrition with major and minor elements. They take three treatments in 40 days they have recovered, but slowly. He also had little balls of Christmas hay (tillansia recurvata). I already removed them, it seems that everything is going well. If I put a 50/50 sun mesh. Will they improve ?. In summer we reach temperatures of 35 ° c. And low relative humidity. It is dry heat. Any suggestions ?. Welcome and grateful.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Vincent.

      How long have you had them? I ask you because if it has been more than 2-3 years, neither the sun nor the heat I think are the problem, because they have already been able to acclimatize.

      If you see that reducing the irrigation they are recovering, then perfect. You can even take advantage of and fertilize them, with a specific fertilizer for acidic plants, following the instructions on the container.