Bigleaf Magnolia Growing Profile

Bigleaf Magnolia (Magnolia macrophylla)
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The bigleaf magnolia (Magnolia macrophylla) is a deciduous magnolia tree species. The leaves are actually the largest simple leaves to be found on any North American tree. The flowers share the similar distinction.

Latin Name

This tree has been classified as Magnolia macrophylla. The species name of macrophylla refers to the fact that the leaves are indeed very large. It is in the Magnoliaceae family.

It has been further split into three different subgenera. They are Magnolia macrophylla subsp. ashei (Ashe magnolia), M. macrophylla subsp. macrophylla (bigleaf magnolia) and M. macrophylla subsp. dealbata (Mexican bigleaf magnolia).

Common Names

In addition to bigleaf magnolia, you may also see great-leaved magnolia or large-leaved cucumber tree.

Preferred USDA Hardiness Zones

This magnolia tree will grow the best in Zones 5-8. It originally is from the southeastern United States and Mexico.


The bigleaf magnolia will reach a mature size of 20' to 40' tall and 12' to 30' wide.


Magnolia macrophylla needs a site that has full sun to part shade.


The light green leaves can be up to 32" long. The white flowers are up to 1' across and are fragrant. You may find that blooms are not produced until the tree is 12 years or older. After pollination occurs, red fruits that resemble cones are formed.

Design Tips

You can use this tree as a focal point in a native garden.

Growing Tips

For optimal growth, the soil should be a little acidic. You can make your soil more acidic as long as it is not at a highly alkaline level.

Maintenance and Pruning

The bigleaf magnolia should not require any regular pruning to maintain its shape.

Pests and Diseases

This is a carefree tree that does not suffer from serious pest or disease problems.