← Back to the tree of knowledge

Saucer Magnolias - A Magnificent Landscape Tree

Tim Bruchez
Founder, CTSP & ISA Certified Arborist

Magnolia trees are a landscape show stopper. The stunning early spring blossoms have been said to open “like a thousand porcelain goblets,” and lush summertime leaves are dark green and leathery—adding nice contrast to silvery-gray bark. One of the most popular flowering trees in the United States, the saucer magnolia is also widely planted in Europe.

Tree Type

This tree is considered both a flowering tree and an ornamental tree. It is typically planted for both its visual interest and profusion of spring flowers.

Mature Size

The saucer magnolia grows to a height of 20–30' and a spread of around 25' at maturity.

Growth Rate

This tree grows at a medium rate, with height increases of 13–24" per year.

Soil Types

The saucer magnolia grows in acidic, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, well-drained and clay soils. It has some drought tolerance.

Sun Preference

Full sun is the ideal condition for this tree, meaning it should get at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Wildelife Value

Wildlife use larger branches of the Saucer Magnolia as nesting sites. Seeds are eaten by a variety of birds, and the sprouts of young trees are browsed.


  • Produces attractive pink and white flowers, appearing as saucers that are 5–10" in diameter.
  • Blooms late February to April, with some blossoms reappearing throughout the summer months and possibly into winter. Color tends to fade with re-emerging flowers.
  • Can be trained to grow as either a shrub, small tree with multiple stems or single-trunk tree.
  • Features thick and soft leaves 3–6" in length with a smooth margin and pointed tip, dark green on top with a fuzzy underside.
  • Yields elongated fruit that is up to 4" long, seldom produced in significant numbers.
  • Has some pollution tolerance.
  • Grows in a rounded shape.
  • Needs seasonal protection in areas with cold winters for the first couple of years.
  • Has thin bark that is easily damaged by

Article credit: Arbor Day Foundation