Why plant Saucer Magnolia?
A Saucer Magnolia in full bloom in your landscape will make your yard look like the cover of a magazine. When this showboat raises its big pink goblet-shaped flowers to the sky in a joyful toast to spring, passersby will be awestruck. They’ll slow down, trying to take in the incomparable beauty of the blossoms and their heavenly fragrance. During the summer months, this popular Magnolia Tree serves as an excellent privacy screen, or the lower limbs can be removed to create a shady space below for reading or relaxing. In winter, you’ll love the plump, furry gray flower buds (like fat Pussy Willow catkins) that hold the promise of another spectacular spring extravaganza to come.
The Saucer Magnolia’s story begins in France, at the garden of Étienne Soulange-Bodin, a soldier in Napoleon’s army. Soulange-Bodin’s true passion wasn’t making war, but growing beautiful plants, and after his army service was completed, he devoted his life to horticulture. In the early 1800s, he had the genius idea to hybridize two different species of Magnolias from China in order to combine their best attributes. His brand new baby Saucer Magnolia first flowered in 1826, and it quickly became a worldwide sensation. By the 1830s, the remarkable new tree had made its way to the U.S., destined to become America’s favorite Magnolia Tree.
How to use Saucer Magnolia in the landscape?
Yes, a late frost can sneak up on a Saucer Magnolia and spoil the show. There really isn’t much you can do about that. However, many people feel that the amazing spectacle the tree puts on during the good years is worth the risk of a frost. Are you a glass-half-full type of person? If so, this is a gamble well worth taking.
Hardiness Zone: 4-9
How To Plant Saucer Magnolia
Saucer Magnolia benefits from all-day sun, rich soil, and regular irrigation. This tree doesn’t like “wet feet,” so make sure drainage is adequate and don’t plant it too deeply; we recommend planting all trees 2 in. above grade, and this is especially important for Magnolias. Mulch well. You can prevent damage from late frosts to some extent by not planting your tree in a low spot where cold air pools—make sure that air circulates freely in the area.
How To Water
Water weekly, or better yet, use the Bower & Branch® Water Element to deliver just the right amount of moisture to your tree throughout the growing season.
How To Fertilize
Incorporate Elements Starter Plant food granular form into the soil when planting. If planting in spring or summer, start fertilizing late fall using Elements Starter Plant food granular form on an annual basis each late fall. Continue this for the first three years to get your plant well established.
How To Prune
Any pruning should be done immediately after flowering, as the next year’s flower buds are set during the summer.