Plant of the Month

March 2019

Magnolia, Southern (Magnolia grandiflora)

  • Type: Evergreen Tree
  • Light: Full Sun/Part Shade
  • Water: Medium
  • Soil: Organically Rich Loam
  • Height: 60-80 Feet
  • Width: 30-50 Feet
  • Flower: White
  • Bloom Time: May-July

Maybe I have been reading too many romance novels but for me when I think of the Southern magnolia, I think of stately homes with large trees shading sweeping lawns, the sultry air redolent with the lemony scent of their bold white flowers. Appropriately, Louisiana and Mississippi have adopted this native tree as the state flower and state tree respectively.

The 8” to 12” flowers will bloom in late spring and continue sporadically throughout the summer. The blooms are attractive to many pollinators as a valuable source of nectar and pollen. The trees provide shelter for the birds who will feed on the cone-like seed pods. Other wildlife such as squirrels, quail, and wild turkeys are also attracted to the magnolia shelter and food.

This is a magnificently large tree that needs space to spread out. The dense shade and shallow roots will make it impossible to grow grass underneath. Do not plant near walks or driveways as the roots will lift and crack the pavement. Note also that this tree is evergreen and will drop leaves year round. - by L. Torbett

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Blount County Extension Master Gardeners

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