Southern Magnolia

S & J Nursery’s Guide to Growing

Southern Magnolia 

in the Northeast Florida Landscape

( Magnolia grandiflora )

Southern Magnolia Origins: Southern Magnolia unopened flower bud

– Native to North America

Southern Magnolia Preferred Exposure:

– Full sun to partial sun/shade situarions are tolerated in the North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine area landscape.

Southern Magnolia Foliage | Bark:

– Foliage of the Southern Magnolia is large medium green glossy on the surface of the leaf and a fuzzy light reddish tan on the underside of the leaf.

– Leaves are both thick and rather large reaching 5-8 inches in length.

Southern Magnolia Soil Preference / Salt tolerance:

– Magnolia Grandiflora will prefer slightly acidic soil but will tolerate sand, loam, clay, 
slightly alkaline and even occasionally wet

– Only moderately salt tolerant

 Southern Magnolia Size Variance:

– Can reach sizes of 60-80 feet H | and spreading 30-40 feet wide.

Southern Magnolia Growth Habit:

– Southern Magnolias are densely foliated trees with a pyramidal growth habit and tend to have branches very near ground level unless pruned up by removing the lower branches to expose underneath the tree.

Southern Magnolia Growth Rate:

– Southern Magnolia trees are moderate growers with an extremely long life span.

Southern magnolia bloom up closeSouthern Magnolia Bloom:

– These trees have humongous fragrant white leathery blooms that reach 8 inches across with a central cone that will enlarge and open up after the petals have gone to expose beautiful bright red seeds that are utilized by various wildlife in the North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine area
landscapes and gardens.

 – Its no wonder these impressive blooms are the state flower for both
Louisiana and Mississippi.

Southern Magnolia Water Requirements:

– Plants will need daily water after being planted from a container or transplanted into the landscape and supplemental irrigation during periods of reduced local rainfall for the first season or two.

Butterfly or Bird Attracting:

– Seed cones are utilized by various wildlife.

Best Uses For Southern Magnolia in the North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine landscape:

– Southern Magnolias are an ideal selection for a large garden area where an evergreen shade tree is wanted.

Plant Southern Magnolia only when there will be plenty of lateral room for the branches to grow or trim off lower limbs as the trees mature to above garages, sheds, walkways etc.

Care of Live Southern Magnolia:

– Although Magnolia trees can be planted from a container into the
landscape any time of the
   year in our North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine area landscapes, Magnolias root systems are very wide for their size making transplanting sometimes difficult, so if you decide to move   one from one location to another in the yard be sure to do it in winter or spring for the best result possible.

– Water every day during the establishment period, See watering your newly planted trees for
  more information. Magnolia’s must be
watched for the first one to two seasons after being planted
or transplanted in the landscape and supplemental water supplied in any time of drought. They are
  slower to establish themselves into
the landscape than many other trees and should be watered
  well once a week when local rainfall is scarce.

– Magnolias respond well to pruning, when shaping a younger tree
they should be pruned 6 inches deeper than where you
  would like to see the re-growth appear. Everywhere you trim the tree will sprout new growth  and begin to branch out and fill in. So if you have a sparcely foliated Magnolia tree get out the  pruners and remove as many growing tips as possible, prune deeper into the branch in
foliated areas to get them to branch out and fill in the gaps.

 – Magnolias have lots of branches all though they will be smaller in diameter in comparison to other larger growing shade trees like an Oak. Prune out the occasional occurrence of a branch at a sharper angle than 45 degrees or if damaged etc. by removing the branch all the way back to the trunk.

– Provide a 1 ft diameter circle of mulched area where grass is kept from growing for each inch
  of caliper (or diameter) of trunk measured 4 inches from the ground level.

– Fertilize each spring with a mixture of milorganite and a slow release poly coated plant food
  such as Osmocote or Stay Green general purpose plant food, sprinkling the fertilizer around  the mulch circle underneath the foliage of the tree.