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Last Update 07/04/08

Florida Native Plant Section

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Magnolia grandiflora

 Southern Magnolia, Bull Bay, Sweet Magnolia

Just look at that bloom below. It looks like freshly starched linen and smells even better! This young Southern Magnolia tree is in the parking lot of the Okeechobee Boulevard branch of the Palm Beach County Library. Its natural range is Zones 7-9, but this icon of the South will grow well from New York City through south Florida. Just be sure to give it plenty of room to grow. In its natural habitat it will attain heights of 65-100 feet, trunk diameters of over three feet, and branch spreads of over 50 feet.


Magnolia bloom

Small Southern Magnolia Tree. Click to enlarge.
Click image to enlarge

Plant Facts:

Common Name:   Southern Magnolia, Bull Bay, Sweet Magnolia

Botanical Name:   Magnolia grandiflora

Plant Type:  Evergreen tree

Zones: 7-9

Height:  65'-100'

Soil Requirements:  Moist, well-drained, humus-rich, preferably acidic soil.

Water Requirements: Medium drought tolerance.

Light Requirements: Full sun to part shade.

Leaves:  Large, elliptic, evergreen leaves to 10" long, glossy, dark green above and often fuzzy and rusty-brown below.

Flowers: Large, white to cream colored, 8-12", heavily fragrant blooms in spring through summer.

Fruit: Rose-red, 4" cone splits when ripe, exposing red seeds. 

Uses:  Good shade tree for areas with ample space. Beware, the tree is messy -- it drops old fruits, leaves, and twigs continually. This is a fast growing tree with dense foliage that makes it prone to break in high winds. Southern Magnolia is subject to scale and mealybugs. The cultivar 'Little Gem'  is an excellent small tree grawong to only 20'.

Propagation:  Seeds, cuttings, and grafts.

Sources: Native Florida Plants, Revised Edition, American Horticultural Society A to Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants


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