The saucer magnolia (Magnolia x soulangiana) normally grows as a multi-stemmed tree that can attain a height of 25 feet with a 30-foot width. Flower buds are produced in the fall, they winter on the tree, and blossom when spring arrives. Flowers appear soft white with subtle pink shading. Each flower measures about 5 inches in width.
The saucer magnolia tree prefers soil with ample organic material. The planting site should have well-draining soil because the tree does not do well with a wet root system and can easily develop root rot. The tree prefers acidic soils but will tolerate more alkaline conditions but with less vigorous growth.
Blossoming is greatly increased if the saucer magnolia tree is planted in a location with full sunlight. The tree will grow in partial or dappled shade but performance will be reduced. A sunny location also encourages the tree to develop a symmetrical crown.
Prune the saucer magnolia tree after flowering if desired. The saucer magnolia can benefit from removal of dead or diseased wood. However, the tree does not require pruning during its life span. Saucer magnolias tolerate pruning to maintain size or shape. The tree's branches are normally allowed to droop to the ground for the most dramatic look during flowering.
Watering and Fertilizing
Keep the soil moist around the saucer magnolia. It can tolerate short droughts but does not do well in an extended drought period. The tree benefits from an application of 3 to 4 inches of mulch around its base to keep the soil moist. A light fertilizing using a general purpose fertilizer applied in the spring is appreciated.
Pests and Disease
The saucer magnolia tree is relatively pest-free. Scales often afflict the branches but can be controlled by applying horticultural oils each spring. Fungal leaf spots often appear on the tree during wet weather but rarely need treatment to control.