An elegant form, beautiful blooms and fragrant flowers are some of the virtues Saucer Magnolias (Magnolia x soulangeana) possess. These magnolias are derived from a crossing of M. denudata and M. liliiflora that was first done by French plantsman E. Soulange-Bodin in 1820. Aside from their magnificent Magnolia flowers, Saucer magnolias are one of my favorite deciduous flowering trees because they are one of the first plants to awake from their winter slumber.
Kingdom Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionata - Vascular Plants
Super Division Spermatophyta - Seed Plants
Division Magnoliophyta - Flowering Plants
Class Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Subclass - Magnoliidae
Order - Magnoliales
Family - Magnoliaceae
Genus - Magnolia L.
- Common Name - Saucer Magnolia
- Scientific Name - Magnolia x soulangeana
- Pronunciation - mag-NO-lee-uh soo-lan-jee-AY-nuh
- USDA hardiness zone 5-9a
- Pest tolerant
- Sun to Partial Shade
- Deciduous smooth textured foliage
The Saucer magnolia reaches heights of 25' and a spreads to approximately 30 feet. The showy flowers are white to pink and could be as large as 10". Flower petals are concave and saucer shaped, hence the name. Adding to the beauty are the multiple stems which are wrapped in attractive smooth and gray bark. During the winter, large silky buds form on its drooping branches, reminding us of what is to come.
Perhaps the most noticeable trait is the flowering of the buds before the foliage appears. Once the buds bloom, fragrant flowers attract bees, butterflies, birds and other insects. Mostly used in suburban landscapes, it serves as a specimen plant or small shade tree. Plant these Saucer magnolias on the Northern side of your home to prevent early spring frost damage on new blooms. This will delay blooming and decrease the amount of frost damage.
CARE AND SELECTION
To properly care for the Magnolia tree, you will want to select an appropriate variety of this plant, one that will suit the area. You can purchase Saucer magnolias that grow between 8-10ft or others which will reach between 25-30ft. You can browse different varieties on The Honey Tree Nursery or at Rare Find Nursery.
Once in the ground, you can prune the stems if you prefer one dominant trunk but this is a low maintenance plant which should only be pruned if it encroaches onto important areas. These grow best in fertile, well-drained soil that has a pH level between 4.5-6.0.
Some popular Saucer magnolia varieties include star magnolia(M. stellata), Southern magnolia(M. grandiflora) and Sweet Bay(M. virginiana).
If you have an outstanding Saucer magnolia on your property don't hesitate to post magnolia pictures on my Facebook fan page or start a conversation with me on twitter @paplantguide.