Magnolia trees (Magnolia spp.) Include over 80 distinct species and fall into three categories: deciduous, semi-evergreen or evergreen. The red berries of certain magnolia trees attract wildlife and make contrast against their variable light-colored blossoms and green leaf. Pests and diseases are minor problems like magnolia trees, which makes them a hardy selection for residential landscaping. Plant magnolias as shade trees, border trees or specimen trees to accent landscaping features on your premises.
The saucer magnolia (Magnolia x soulangiana) is a deciduous tree that grows best in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9. It attains mature heights between 15 and 25 feet with an equal spread. Its red fruits ripen in collective sacs in late summer to early autumn. Plant a saucer magnolia in sun to partial shade and moist, well-drained soil. It produces pink to purple flowers with white insides that measure 5 to 10 inches round. The blossoms are bell-shaped and blossom in spring before the leaves appear. Plant the saucer magnolia as a spreading shrub or edge tree. Cultivars include “Alba Superba,” “Alexandrina,” “Burgundy,” “Lennei,” “Speciosa” and “Verbanica.”
Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) is famous for its large, showy, creamy-white flowers. The Southern magnolia grows well in USDA zones 7a through 10a. It reaches heights up to 80 feet using a 40-foot spread and creates elongated brown or red fruits that measure between 1 and 6 inches long, attracting birds and other small wildlife. Southern magnolia prefers acidic soils in full sun to partial shade and its own root system can stretch up to four times the spread of the canopy. It requires little maintenance or pruning and can be immune to diseases and insects. Canker diseases and verticillium can kill branches, but don’t cause wide-scale damage to the skin. Prune off diseased branches to prevent the spread of these diseases. Cultivars include “Bracken’s Brown Beauty,” “Cairo,” “Charles Dickens,” “Edith Brague,” “Glen St. Mary,” “Goliath,” “Hasse,” “Lanceolata,” “Little Gem,” “Majestic Beauty,” “Praecox Fastigiata,” “Samuel Sommer” and “Victoria.”
Sweet Bay Magnolia
Sweet bay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana) attains heights between 10 and 20 feet with an equal spread, and might reach 60 feet tall in Southern countries. Sweet bay magnolia grows best in USDA zones 5 through 9 and takes full sun to partial shade in moist to moist soil. Its mild green foliage releases a pungent, zesty scent with 2-inch-long red berries that attract larvae and birds. Sweet bay magnolia creates creamy white blossoms measuring between 2 and 3 inches in diameter with a lemony scent. Cultivars include “Greenbay,” “Henry Hicks,” “Kousa,” “Louisiana Evergreen,” “Santa Rosa” and “Satellite.”
The umbrella magnolia (Magnolia tripetala) is a deciduous tree that grows up to 40 feet tall. It grows best in USDA zones 4 through 8 and takes full sun to partial shade in moist, well-drained soil. The flowers are creamy white and measure 6 to 10 inches across with an unpleasant odor. The red berries of this umbrella magnolia tree step 4 to 5 inches long and mature in early autumn. Its oblong-shaped leaves step 10 to 24 inches long and 6 to 10 inches wide and are pale green underneath.