Plant Profile: Chinese/Saucer Magnolia by Claudia Winslett

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This is Claudia’s second Plant Profile for the Horticulture & Crop Science 3410 class: “Sustainable Landscape Maintenance”. Again, a job well-done. In much of Ohio the saucer magnolias should have a long bloom reign again this year, hopefully with minimal frost injury. This hybrid magnolia is classified as Magnolia xsoulangeana, a cross between Magnolia denudate and Mgnolia liliflora. Magnoliaceae.


CHinese or saucer magnolia
Chinese or saucer magnolia in its blooming glory



The Chinese Magnolia has beautiful dark pink-light pink blooms that emerge in early spring. As the petals open, they reveal a white interior that contributes even more to the spectacular bicolor flowering event. The goblet-shaped blooms appear before any leaves on naked branches in large masses. The flowers are relatively large and can be up to ten inches in size. These Magnolias are medium-sized deciduous trees, often multi-trunked and typically 15’-20’ feet in height. For healthy growth they require at least partial or full sun and protected from late-season frost that can damage flowers.


Chinese or dacuer magnolia blooms
Chinese or saucer magnolia blooms, up close


After bloom, green leaves prevail for the summer months, eventually turning golden-brown in the fall. The Chinese Magnolia is known by a few other common names including the tuliptree magnolia or saucer magnolia. These medium sized trees are relatively simple to care for if the correct light requirements are met and they are planted in rich, well-drained soil. Mulch and early spring fertilizer can be applied in order to help your tree thrive. Additional watering in summer may be required if there are frequent droughts. Yearly pruning may be required to keep branches from growing together and limiting air flow within the canopy which can contribute to a higher instance of disease.


saucer magnolia
Chinese or saucer magnolia tree in bloom last week in Frankfurt, Kentucky