WSU Clark County Extension

PNW Plants Searchable, categorized images

Southern Magnolia

Scientific name: Magnolia grandiflora

Type:Evergreen trees
Plant Requirements
Zone:6 to 8
Sun:Full sun
Plant Characteristics
Height:75 ft
Width:40 ft
Bloom:Fragrant flowers
Bloom Time:May to September
Bloom Color:White
Additional Characteristics



Wildlife value

Description A distinctive evergreen tree with large, showy, fragrant flowers (citrus scented), the southern magnolia is found throughout the milder regions of the Pacific Northwest.

This is an evergreen tree which can attain an eventual height of 60’-80’, with a width of 30’ to 50’. With time it develops a dense, somewhat coarse shape, which is largely pyramidal. Leaves are alternate, simple, and large: 5”-10” long and 2’-5” wide. They are glossy green on the upper surface with a cinnamon brown "felt" on underside.
Flowers are very large (up to 12” in diameter), perfect (both male and female) and creamy-white in color. Each flower has 6 petals and a pleasing fragrance. Look for the flowers to begin appearing in late spring. Fruits are rose-red aggregates of follicles, 3” to 6” and ripen in the fall.

This species does best in partial shade but can take full sun in cooler areas. Select a rich, organic site with a low pH (5.5 to 6.5) for optimum plant growth. Protect from winter winds and sun in northern areas.

Don't expect grass or anything else to grow underneath a magnolia. The old leaves that accumulate under the tree seem to take forever to decompose. The leaves and fruit can be considered a litter problem by the gardener looking for a neat and tidy shade tree.

None reported. The seed is poisonous if ingested.
For assistance, contact Dr. Charles Brun (, (360) 397-6060 5701
Computing and Web Resources, PO Box 6234, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-6234