How to Grow and Care For Magnolia Ann

Magnolia Ann

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Magnolia Ann is a spring blooming shrub featuring large, leathery green leaves and fragrant purple-red blossoms. The flowers, which have just a light scent, are cup-shaped and nearly 4 1/2 inches wide.

The Magnolia x ‘Ann’ cultivar is one of the most popular in the "Little Girl" magnolia collection, developed for their small size, compact growing habit, and later bloom time. Magnolia Ann blooms in April and May, meaning you’re less likely to lose any buds to a late-season frost. It may even rebloom in mid-summer.

Reaching 10 to 12 feet tall and wide at maturity, Magnolia Ann works well as a specimen plant. It serves as a privacy screen or hedge and can also be grown in pots.

 Common Name  Magnolia Ann
 Botanical Name  Magnolia liliflora x 'Ann'
 Family  Magnoliaceae
 Plant Type  Deciduous flowering shrub
 Mature Size  10-12 ft. tall & wide
 Sun Exposure  Full sun, part shade
 Soil Type  Rich, slightly acidic, well drained
 Soil pH  5.5 to 6.5
 Bloom Time  April, May
 Flower Color  Purple-red
 Hardiness Zones  4-9 (USDA)
 Native Area  None (Hybrid)

Magnolia Ann Care

Magnolia Ann is considered a medium maintenance shrub when you first plant it, but once established, it won't need a lot of attention. The cultivar adapts to different soils, including clay, is drought tolerant, and doesn't require much pruning.


For the best flowering, magnolia Ann needs 6 hours of bright sunlight daily. Although tolerant of heat, this shrub thrives best in moderate temperatures and benefits from afternoon shade when grown in especially sunny and warm climates. Too much shade can result in fewer and less vibrant flowers.


Magnolia Ann adapts to many of soil types, even clay, but a slightly acidic soil pH of 5.5 to 6.5 is needed for healthy growth and flowering. If your soil is too alkaline (above a 7.0 pH), increase acidity by adding peat at planting time. Rich, moderately moist, well-draining soil is ideal.


Plan to water magnolia Ann twice weekly for the first six months after planting. Once established, you only need to water during extreme drought.

Water thoroughly at ground level until it no longer drains into the soil. Overly saturated, soggy soil damages shallow roots.

Temperature and Humidity

Magnolia Ann is hardy in USDA growing zones 4 through 9 but performs best in regions with moderately warm summers and chilly but mild winters. This hybrid withstands freezing temperatures of -30 degrees F., making it a good choice for northern zones. Humidity levels of 30 to 50 percent are adequate.


How to feed your magnolia Ann may be partly determined by soil type. Organic nitrogen-based fertilizers like bloodmeal work well for these smaller ornamental shrubs. You can also apply a slow-release liquid fertilizer such as an NPK 20-5-10 or 12-4-8.

Feed in April and continue monthly through mid-July. Feed pot-grown magnolia Ann every two weeks during the growing season.

Types of Small Magnolias

In addition to magnolia Ann, seven other small, late spring blooming hybrids make up the “Little Girl” magnolia collection. Here are a few other slow growing smaller varieties you might consider for your garden.

  • Little Gem: Magnolia x 'Little Gem' is considered a dwarf version of the Southern magnolia. It grows to just half the height, reaching 20 ft. tall and 10 ft. wide at maturity.
  • Caerhay’s Surprise: Magnolia 'Caerhay's Surprise' is a slow growing type at just 13 ft. tall when mature. Dark pink flowers open in late March.
  • Magnolia stellata: This 10-foot-tall magnolia features distinct, white, star-shaped flowers from March to April.
  • Gail’s Favorite: A miniature version comparable to M. grandiflora, Magnolia laevifolia 'Gail's Favorite' produces similar white blooms and grows to just 6 1/2 ft. tall.
  • Leonard Messer: Magnolia loebneri 'Leonard Messer' produces delicate pink flowers in spring and is 12 to 24 ft. tall at its mature height.

Planting Magnolia Ann

In southern zones, plant magnolia Ann in late autumn or early winter. Early spring planting is recommended for northern zones. Whatever location you plant magnolia Ann should be its permanent location, as its shallow roots don't respond well to being moved. A good spot receives morning sun and some afternoon shade, especially in the plant's southernmost range where afternoons temperatures get hot. Provide shelter from potential cold winter winds in northern areas.

To plant, dig a hole 1 1/2 times as wide as the rootball and just deep enough so the uppermost root sits level with the soil line. Spread the roots out around the base of the trunk and fill in with soil. Tamp soil down to hold the shrub upright and water gently but thoroughly at soil level.

Adding aged compost, bloodmeal, or NPK 10-10-10 fertilizer at planting time supplies nitrogen needed for vigorous initial growth. A 2- to 3-inch mulch layer keeps soil moist and cool.


Due to their shallow root system, larger magnolias need 50 feet of space to allow for spread. Smaller hybrids like magnolia Ann can be planted closer to buildings, sidewalks and driveways as long as you allow for the shrub's 10- to 15-foot spread.

Pruning Magnolia Ann

The natural form for this shrub is upright and dense, becoming rounded as it matures and spreads. It can be coaxed into small tree form by removing all but two or three main trunks at the plant's base, along with lower branches. Significant pruning should be done in mid-summer after flowers bloom.

When grown as a shrub, magnolia Ann needs little pruning. Dead or damaged branches and leaves can be removed any time. Allow flowers to drop naturally.


Magnolia Ann can be propagated with stem cuttings. This hybrid magnolia does produce seed pods, but propagating from seed will not produce a tree identical to the original (and it can take up to 15 years to bloom).

Mid-summer is the best time to propagate a magnolia Ann You'll need a sterile cutting tool, 6-inch plastic pots with drainage, and a loose potting mix.

  1. Use your cutting tool to remove a 4- to 6-inch growing tip, making sure to include some of the semi-hardwood growth.
  2. Immediately place the cutting in water or a damp paper towel.
  3. Prepare 6-inch pots with loose, moist mix of potting soil or a mix of sand, perlite, and compost.
  4. Use a stick or your finger to make a narrow, deep hole in the center of the pot.
  5. Trim bottom leaves from the cutting and snip larger top leaves in half.
  6. Dip the stem's bottom in rooting hormone and insert it into the hole.
  7. Cover with plastic and use supports, if necessary, to keep it off the cutting.
  8. Place the pot(s) in a location with indirect light and keep soil moist.
  9. Check for root growth starting in three weeks by tugging lightly on the cutting. Resistance indicates it's rooting. Be patient — roots can take up to 8 weeks to develop.
  10. Remove plastic and continue to grow out in pots until new top growth emerges.


Propagating magnolias with stem cuttings does not have a high success rate. Plant several cuttings to Increase your chances.


Magnolia Ann is quite cold hardy and doesn’t require much winter protection. High winds can damage this shrub so choose a planting spot with some shelter. Protect shallow roots with a layer of mulch during winter.

Common Pests and Plant Diseases

This small hybrid magnolia is fairly resistant to pests, but can be damaged by weevils, snails, scale and thrips. Treat the entire plant with horticultural or neem oil.

Potential diseases include leaf spots, anthracnose, canker, dieback and powdery mildew. Most of these problems occur due to overwatering or foliage that stays wet. Always water at soil level and prune out diseased branches and leaves. Severe issues can be treated with copper-based fungicide.

How to Get Magnolia Ann to Bloom

Magnolia Ann’s flowers are large with deep, rich purple-red color. They appear one to two weeks later than many other spring-blooming magnolias. Failure to bloom or a low numbers of flowers is usually due to improper pruning, insufficient light, or not enough soil acidity. Fertilize in spring with a nitrogen-based fertilizer such as NPK 20-5-10 to support flowering.

Magnolia flowers open either at the same time or before foliage appears. Look for deep green leaves to fill out on magnolia Ann by early summer. Leaves turn yellow in autumn before falling from this deciduous shrub.

Common Problems With Magnolia Ann

Magnolias are fairly easy to care for, though there are a few issues to look out for.

Yellow Leaves

Leaves on magnolia Ann naturally turn yellow in autumn. It’s a deciduous shrub so expect foliage to eventually turn brown and fall off. But during the growing season, yellowing leaves may be the result of too much or too little sunlight or water.

Flowers Fail to Open

Flowers that never open is a common problem for many magnolia varieties. It’s usually caused by late frost that damages the flower buds, though it may be due to insufficient light or overwatering.

Tip Dieback

When the tips of branches turn hard and brown it's usually due to frost damage. Magnolia Ann is frost and freeze hard, but the shrub can be damaged by strong, cold winds. Plant this shrub in a location with some protection from winter winds and keep it mulched.

  • How big does a magnolia Ann get?

    Magnolia Ann can grow up to 15 feet tall and 8 to 12 feet wide.

  • What's the difference between magnolia Ann and Jane magnolia?

    Jane magnolia features deep burgundy blooms while still closed, turning pink on the outside petal and white on the inside petal after opening. Magnolia Ann flowers are consistently a rich purplish red. Jane magnolia’s flowers have more petals.

  • What diseases does magnolia Ann get?

    Magnolia Ann can struggle with diseases such as leaf spots, anthracnose, canker, dieback and powdery mildew. Problems are often caused by overly wet soil or water remaining on leaves. Place your shrub in a location with well-draining soil and some shelter from cold winter and early spring rain to eliminate these issues.

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  1. Magnolia ‘Ann’ , ‘Betty’ , ‘Jane’ , ‘Judy’ , ‘Pinkie’, ‘Randy’, ‘Ricki’, and ‘Susan’. USDA