Magnolia Trees: Saucer Magnolias

Information and Pictures

Alexandrina is a saucer magnolia (image). It is one of the many trees on the Smith college campus.
Magnolia x soulangiana 'Alexandrina' is one of the saucer magnolias. David Beaulieu

Plant Taxonomy of Saucer Magnolia Trees:

I have selected saucer magnolias for this plant profile. The plant taxonomy of saucer magnolias is Magnolia x soulangiana. These magnolia trees are hybrids, derived from crossing M. denudata with M. liliiflora.

Plant Type:

Saucer magnolia trees are deciduous flowering trees.

USDA Plant Hardiness Zones for Saucer Magnolias:

Saucer magnolias are best grown in zones 4-9.

Characteristics of Saucer Magnolias:

These magnolia trees reach a height of 20'-25', with a similar breadth. The fragrant, pinkish-white blooms, which arrive in spring and precede foliage, are large (up to 10"). The size and shape of the blooms are what suggested the common name for these magnolia trees.

Plant Care for Saucer Magnolias:

Magnolia tree care tip: You can fight saucer magnolia's tendency to produce multiple stems through pruning so as to favor one, dominant trunk. Such drastic pruning may be done while the tree is still young. You may also shape the crown in later years by pruning lightly after the flowering period.

Sun and Soil Requirements for Saucer Magnolias:

Grow in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade. Soil pH should be 4.5 to 6.0 (but err on the acidic side).

Uses for Saucer Magnolia Trees in Landscape Design:

Saucer magnolia trees make fine specimen plants, but they do not perform well in urban environments.

Magnolia Trees: Varieties, Frost Damage Prevention:

Other varieties of magnolia trees besides "Saucer" magnolias include star magnolia tree (M. stellata, which may bloom a bit earlier), 'Jane' (a hybrid), "Sweet Bay" ( M. virginiana) and "Southern" (M. grandiflora). There are considerable differences between the varieties, not the least of which is seen in the range of sizes.

Saucer magnolia's tendency to loose blooms to early spring frosts is problematic. But if you avoid giving these magnolia trees a southern exposure, you may delay blooming long enough to get past the period of frost danger. To avoid southern exposure, plant on the North side of your house or to the North of established pines, for example. As a bonus, the blooms look great against a green background of pines.

Back to => Spring Flowers