How to Grow and Care for Magnolia 'Jane'

Grown as a tree or shrub, its magnificent blooms arrive in late spring

Magnolia 'Jane' shrub branch with large pink and white flowers and buds

The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

Magnolia 'Jane' is a smaller hybrid of larger southern magnolias, and it is a hardier choice for cooler temperatures. It grows as a stunning flowering rounded tree, up to 15 feet tall, or it can be trained to grow as a large, multi-branched shrub. Jane magnolias are slow growing, averaging about 1 foot or less of growth annually.

Magnolia 'Jane' grows well in most of the United States, in USDA zones 4 through 8, which excludes the hottest parts of California, Texas, and Florida, and the colder northern states bordering Canada.

It grows well in full sun, but in areas that get hot summers, it will benefit from partial shade in the afternoon. They have deep green leathery leaves in summer that turn yellow and bronze in fall. Jane magnolias are deciduous, losing their leaves with cooler temperatures. It can survive temperatures that plunge to -30 degrees Fahrenheit.

The tulip-shaped flowers of the Jane magnolia are large relative to the plant's overall size. Under ideal conditions, the blooms can reach 4 to 8 inches wide when fully open. The flower color shifts over time. When the flower is still closed, the color is burgundy-purple. Once fully opened, the outer side of the petals fade to pink while the insides of the petals are white. Blooms last long, averaging about two to four weeks.

Common Name Magnolia 'Jane'
Botanical Name Magnolia liliflora 'Reflorescens' x stellate 'Waterlily'
Family Magnoliaceae
Plant Type Shrub
Mature Size 8-12 ft. wide, 10-15 ft. tall
Sun Exposure Full, partial
Soil Type Sandy, silt, clay
Soil pH Neutral, acidic
Bloom Time Spring
Flower Color Purple, white
Hardiness Zones 4-8 (USDA)
Native Area North America

Magnolia 'Jane' Care

Water is the primary care requirement for Jane magnolia as it is established. Once the plant matures, it becomes less dependent on water. Keep it in compost-enriched soil or give it fertilizer every few years as a nutrient boost.

It likes a sunny spot and prefers well-draining, slightly acidic soil. As a late-spring bloomer, it avoids the threat of frost damage that can occur to plants that bloom earlier in the spring.

Magnolia 'Jane' shrub with long bare branches with large pink and white flowers

The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

Magnolia 'Jane' shrub bare branches with large pink and white flowers against blue sky

The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

Magnolia 'Jane' shrub branches with large pink and white flowers and buds

The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

When to Plant

Plant the magnolia 'Jane' in the spring or early fall in a location where it can grow to its full maturity without movement, as the shrub doesn't do well with transplanting.

Where to Plant

Pick a location that allows the roots to spread and branch freely. Unlike the larger magnolia tree varieties, the smaller Jane magnolia can be planted near your home, deck, or fence line. Choose a spot that receives full sun to partial shade shielded from the wind.

How to Plant

To plant magnolia 'Jane,' dig a hole as deep as the root ball and three times as wide. Mix the removed soil with compost or peat moss to enrich the soil and loosen existing dirt. Place the root ball in the center of the hole, and backfill it halfway. Water it to the top of the hole. Then, once the water has drained, fill in the rest with the remaining soil. Layer about 2 inches of mulch on top, going around the trunk's circumference. Start the mulch a few inches from the trunk.


Plant the magnolia 'Jane' in a location that has full sun or part shade. In cooler regions, opt for a full-sun site. Magnolia 'Jane' will benefit from partial shade in warmer regions. Avoid placing it in an area with warm southern exposure, which could encourage the buds to open too early in spring. If a magnolia gets too much hot sun, the blooms could suffer from sunscald.


Magnolia 'Jane' grows best in organically rich, medium-moisture, neutral to slightly acidic soil. Magnolias adapt easily to various soils, including clay, loam, or sand, but it doesn't do well in wet or poorly drained soils. Add a layer of root-zone mulch to help the soil retain moisture, but keep it 4 inches away from the plant's trunk.


This deciduous shrub must be watered weekly—two to three times per week—for the first growing season. Check the first 2 to 4 inches of soil to see if it's dry; if it is, it's time to water. When it's hot, increase the water to soak the ground up to 8 inches. If the magnolia is well-established, it's moderately tolerant to drought.

Temperature and Humidity

This shrub can tolerate temperatures as low as -30 or -20 degrees Fahrenheit. It also needs proper air circulation to avoid powdery mildew, its biggest threat.


Once the magnolia 'Jane' is established, fertilize it in the spring every two to three years. To fertilize, you can spread compost around the plant in spring and water it. Then, in early fall, use a fertilizer for acid-loving plants like Holly Tone. For the amount to use, follow product label instructions.

Types of Magnolia Hybrids

Magnolia 'Jane 'is part of the eight Little Girl Series of hybrid magnolias developed in the 1950s. Magnolia 'Jane' was created by botanists Francis DeVos and William Kosar at the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. 'Jane' is a cross between M. liliiflora ''Reflorescens' and M. stellata 'Waterlily.'

Magnolia 'Pinkie' is a cross between 'Reflorescens' and 'Rosea'; it is a shorter shrub, about 11 feet tall, featuring larger flowers (7 inches wide); like 'Jane,' it's a late spring bloomer.

Six other hybrids are crosses between Magnolia liliflora 'Nigra' and M. stellata 'Rosea.' They differ in color, size, and bloom time:

  • 'Ann': Deep purple-pink; grows about 12 feet tall; early spring bloomer
  • 'Betty': Pink-purple; grows about 15 feet tall; midseason bloomer
  • 'Judy': Light pink-purple, doesn't open wide; shorter shrub, about 9 feet tall; produces smaller blooms (3 inches wide); midseason bloomer
  • 'Susan': Deep red-purple; grows about 15 feet tall; midseason bloomer
  • 'Randy': Red-purple; smaller shrub, grows about 11 feet tall; midseason bloomer
  • 'Ricki': Red-purple; smaller shrub, grows about 11 feet tall; midseason bloomer; similar to 'Randy' but produces slightly larger flowers


The magnolia 'Jane' doesn't need much pruning during the first few years, if at all. As a general rule of thumb, the earliest-flowering trees and shrubs set flower buds the previous year, so do not prune before the bloom period in the spring. Only remove dead or damaged branches immediately after the plant flowers.

It is advisable to prune away any suckers that might develop to keep the shrubs looking neat. If you need to reshape your magnolia, wait until after bloom. Beyond that, do not prune the Jane magnolia at all. Jane magnolia trees or shrubs do not heal well from heavy cutting.

Propagating Magnolia 'Jane'

Magnolia 'Jane' is a sterile plant, meaning it doesn't produce seeds and must be propagated via cuttings. Here's how:

  1. Choose stems between softwood and semi-hardwood growth, and take them in the morning when the plant is holding more moisture.
  2. Snip 4 to 6 inches off the chosen stem with sharp pruning shears and wrap it in a wet paper towel.
  3. Dip the bottom of the cutting into a rooting hormone that contains IBA with 4,000 to 5,000 parts per million solution.
  4. Plant it immediately in a 5-inch pot filled with moist potting soil, using a misting chamber if you have one available. The cuttings will form roots within eight weeks.


Magnolia 'Jane' is a cold-hardy tree that can survive freezing winter temperatures. At the extreme edges of its range, you can wrap in burlap and mulch around the base during deep freeze periods.

Common Pests and Plant Diseases

Magnolia 'Jane' is a hardy shrub with few pest or disease problems that are serious enough to warrant treatment. Powdery mildew can occur on leaves that are overcrowded and kept too moist. Also, leaf spots can affect magnolia leaves due to fungal and bacterial causes, but this is rare. Other potential disease problems include anthracnose and canker; you can use copper fungicides to get these under control. 

Insect problems are rare, but if you notice anything bothering the tree, you might occasionally see weevils, snails, scale, and thrips. To maintain control of the plant, spray the entire plant with horticultural oil, an effective organic pest control method.

How to Get Magnolia 'Jane' to Bloom

Magnolia 'Jane' flowers have a light fruity scent. Once opened, usually late in spring, their average span is 4 inches wide. They don't require deadheading. They fall to the ground once spent, usually lasting up to a month.

The main factor affecting the plant's blooms is water. This shrub loves moist soil and will produce flowers only if watered regularly. Another reason a Magnolia 'Jane' doesn't bloom is it was pruned too deeply, pruning off the coming season's buds.

Use a slow-release fertilizer in early spring to help your tree grow faster, but also it may encourage a second bloom in summer.

Common Problems With Magnolia 'Jane'

Magnolia 'Jane' is a solid hybrid that is easy to care for and resistant to most pests and diseases. Like any plant, it is vulnerable to environmental conditions and external factors.

Leaves Wilt and Brown

If leaves wilt and turn brown, the problem is likely leaf scorch caused by under-watering. Keeping the soil moist will reverse the situation and encourage optimal growth.

Twig Death

Verticillium wilt is a rare fungal infection but can occur in any tree infiltrated by a soil-borne fungus, Verticillium dahliae. It is difficult to identify, but the first sign of the disease is twig dieback. The fungus enters the vascular tissues of the plant and usually spreads quickly. The fungus blocks the water-conducting vessels and causes eventual plant death.

In larger or mature trees, the disease can persist for many years before it kills the tree. It's not reversible since it is systemic. You can prolong the tree's death by keeping it fertilized and watered thoroughly.

Dusty Leaves

If the leaves of your Magnolia 'Jane' appear to have a layer of dust sprinkled on its leaves, it likely has powdery mildew. It commonly occurs at the height of summer. It may start as powdery, whitish spots, then spreads to cover the entire leaf, including the underside. Leaves may eventually turn yellow and die, and branches may twist, break, or look disfigured. Treat it with fungicide or try effective home remedies such as a diluted milk solution or baking soda and water spray.

  • How tall does magnolia 'Jane' get?

    Magnolia 'Jane' shrubs can grow to be 10 to 15 feet tall.

  • Are Jane magnolias messy?

    Magnolias are known to be messy trees, mainly because they're large trees with large flowers. Jane magnolias are one of the neater magnolias since they're smaller, producing less of a flowering mess.

  • Do magnolia 'Jane' flowers smell good?

    The flowers have a light, pleasant fragrance but will not perfume your yard with a notable scent.

  • What is an alternative to magnolia 'Jane'?

    While there are several magnolia varieties to choose from, another flowering tree choice is the tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera), which features lovely yellow flowers and bright fall foliage.