Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) trees are a popular landscape choice for Palm Beach properties.
These evergreen trees come in a variety of sizes (depending on the cultivar) and work great as a background tree or as a landscape accent.
In this article, we’ll share some details about this popular variety of magnolia tree and go over some things you need to know for adding one (or more) to your Palm Beach landscape.
How to Recognize a Southern Magnolia Tree
Native from North Carolina to Florida and Texas, the Southern magnolia tree can be recognized by its glossy, dark green leaves or by its fragrant white flowers. It grows in a pyramidal or rounded shape and has a thick canopy of leaves.
Most cultivars will grow 60 to 80 feet tall (sometimes up to 120 feet!) with a spread of 20 to 50 feet, so unless you choose a dwarf variety, you’ll need plenty of room for this tree to grow.
The green, glossy leaves are leathery and can be up to 8 inches long and 5 inches wide.
The flowers, too, can be quite large. Some cultivars grow flowers as large as a dinner plate! They bloom during the spring and summer, and some describe the flowers’ scent as lemon-like or similar to citronella. Interestingly, magnolia flowers do not produce nectar, but rather a sugary substance that attracts pollinating beetles.
Seed pods containing red seeds appear in the fall after the tree flowers bloom. As the seed pods open, the seeds may sometimes hang by threads from the seed pod.
Popular Cultivars of Southern Magnolia Trees
There are many cultivars of Southern magnolia trees available. When choosing one, first ensure that it will work on your property and in your unique microclimate.
Some popular cultivars include:
- Bracken’s Brown Beauty
- Claudia Wannamaker
- D.D. Blanchard
- Edith Bogue
- Glen St. Mary
- Kay Parris
- Little Gem
- Majestic Beauty
- Margaret Davis
- Miss Chloe
- Samuel Sommer
- Symmes Select
- Teddy Bear
- Timeless Beauty
Best Planting Conditions for Southern Magnolia Trees in Palm Beach
Southern magnolia trees do well in full sun or part shade and prefer moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soil. They can survive harsh winds but can suffer if they are sprayed with salt spray from seawater.
Southern magnolia trees will need plenty of room to grow, not just for the tree canopy but for the roots as well. Many of the trees grow surface roots, so keep that in mind before planting near a high-pedestrian area.
Though these trees are evergreen, they do drop older leaves. The seedpods also fall to the ground each year, so this tree produces some “litter.” The dried leaves are often used in floral bouquets or can make excellent organic mulch.
Landscaping Options for Southern Magnolia Trees
As mentioned earlier, most cultivars of Southern magnolia trees need plenty of room to grow. The roots will need to be mulched to prevent erosion, and the leaves and seeds can be messy at times.
However, Southern magnolia trees are impressive if you have the space for them. Local wildlife, including birds, benefit from the seeds, and the flowers bring beauty and fragrance.
Note that due to the tree’s dense canopy of evergreen leaves, it can be difficult to grow anything beneath the tree. Luckily, it is interesting enough to be a focal point all on its own and are often planted as privacy screens or as property line markers due this dense foliage.
A relatively fast-growing tree, a Southern magnolia will reach its full height 10 to 20 years after it is planted.
Some Southern magnolia cultivars are dwarf varieties, which will grow to be much smaller trees. If you choose one of those cultivars, you have additional options on where to plant the tree.
Contact Coastal Gardens Professionals
If you want to add Southern magnolia trees to your Palm Beach property, contact Coastal Gardens Professionals.
We can advise you on whether a Southern magnolia tree is suited for your property or whether an alternative might work better.
Our team of professionals can also handle the landscape design, tree installation, and care for the new tree.
CALL US TODAY At 561-308-7604
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