Magnolia x soulangiana

Saucer Magnolia




  • a hybrid of Magnolia heptapeta x Magnolia quinquepeta
  • hardy to zone 5 (warmer parts of 4)

Habit and Form

  • a deciduous small tree
  • grows up to 30' tall
  • upright and spreading branching
  • rounded to irregular habit
  • multi-trunked or with low main branches

Summer Foliage

  • deciduous leaves 3" to 7" long, half as wide
  • leaves elliptical with a sharply-pointed tip
  • leaf color is dark green
  • new leaves are reddish bronze
  • foliage maintains a high quality through the summer

Autumn Foliage

  • leaves turn yellow-brown before falling
  • not highly ornamental


  • white, pink, or purple
  • cup-like, large blossoms
  • blooms in mid- to late April
  • sometimes fragrant
  • flowers at young age
  • typically very showy; a heavy bloomer


  • 4" long aggregate fruit with knobby surface
  • typically few are produced
  • seed emerge reddish-orange from slits
  • mature in August and September


  • smooth, silver-gray
  • quite attractive


  • moist, fertile, deep soils with high organic matter are best
  • fairly adaptable and easy to grow providing conditions are not harsh
  • plant in locations that are not prone to late spring frost
  • full sun

Landscape Use

  • as a specimen
  • patio tree
  • very effective in groupings when space allows
  • desired for impressive spring bloom display


  • flowers prone to damage form late spring frosts
  • magnolia scale
  • sooty mold associated with scale
  • moderately susceptible to limb breakage
  • heavy snow and ice storms
  • common nearly to the point or overuse

ID Features

  • flower buds and vegetative buds very distinct
  • hairs on flower buds are dense and short
  • silver-gray smooth bark
  • pink-tinged, white, saucer-shaped flowers in spring
  • multi-trunked or with main branches low on the trunk


  • by seed
  • cultivars by cuttings


'Alba Superba' (also known as 'Superba' and 'Alba') - This old form possesses large white flowers shaped like cups that open early. It has an upright, dense habit.

'Alexandrina' (also listed as 'Alexandrina Dark Clone') - Popular and considered one of the finest, this selection is covered in spring by flowers that are colored rose-purple outside and white inside. The flowers may measure 10" wide on this upright, rounded tree.

'Brozzonii' (also listed as 'Brozzoni') - An old cultivar, this plant is probably still one of the best. It blooms up to two weeks later than other forms, thus avoiding the late frosts that plague many magnolias in New England. The flowers are pure white and up to 8" across. It is a vigorous grower to 30' tall.

'Lennei' - This variety is unusual in that it forms an upright large shrub 20' tall and wide. The flowers are deep purple outside and white inside. They appear sporadically through summer amidst the large, dark green leaves. It may not be as hardy as other selections.

'Lennei Alba' - This selection is similar to 'Lennei', but with pure white flowers that may appear a bit later.

'Lilliputian' - A very unusual plant that grows slowly with a tight form to reach proportions one-half the size of the species. The flowers are light pink. This cultivar does not appear commonly in catalog listings, but is notable for its dwarf habit.

'Verbanica' - A fine choice for cold New England climates, this selection is hardy and blooms later than the species, thus avoiding late frost damage. The flowers are rose outside, lighter inside. It forms a bushy, rounded tree 25' tall with good glossy green foliage.

© Copyright Mark H. Brand, 1997-2015.

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Citation and Acknowledgements: University of Connecticut Plant Database,, Mark H. Brand, Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Storrs, CT 06269-4067 USA.