How to Care for a Dwarf Southern Magnolia


The dwarf southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora "Little Gem") is a spring- and summer-flowering evergreen tree that blooms in fragrant, large white blossoms. The dwarf southern magnolia grows best in USDA Hardiness Zones 7 through 9, where winter temperatures rarely dip down to 5 degrees Fahrenheit. The dwarf southern magnolia has small dark-green leaves that are rusty-brown on the undersides and a compact, pyramidal form. They're low-maintenance trees that are resistant to many diseases and droughts.

Step 1

Plant your dwarf southern magnolia in full to partial sunlight and in moist but well-draining soil.

Step 2

Water your dwarf southern magnolia once or twice each week during the first growing season, soaking the soil down to and around the root system. After the first year, water the magnolia once each week during the spring, summer and early autumn only in the absence of rainfall.

Step 3

Feed your dwarf southern magnolia in spring after new growth emerges and again in autumn with a 10-10-10 NPK tree fertilizer, according to the dosage instructions on the package. Spread the fertilizer granules on the ground to cover the entire canopy area of the tree and water the fertilizer into the soil.

Step 4

Prune your dwarf southern magnolia in winter to remove any dead, diseased, broken or crowded growth. You can also prune to shape the magnolia if desired.

Tips and Warnings

  • Although it's called a dwarf, this magnolia can grow 20 to 25 feet tall and 10 to 15 feet wide. The "dwarf" in its name refers to the size of the leaves, which are about one third of the size of other magnolia species' foliage, and not the actual tree size.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden hose
  • 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer
  • Pruning shears


  • Wilson Bros. Nursery:: Magnolia 'Little Gem' (Dwarf Southern Magnolia)
  • Monrovia: Dwarf Southern Magnolia

Who Can Help

  • East Texas Gardening: Dwarf Magnolia
Keywords: dwarf southern magnolia, dwarf magnolia care, Magnolia grandiflora

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.