Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia X Soulangeana ‘Alexandrina’)

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Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia x soulangeana ‘Alexandrina’) – The Complete Plant Guide

Saucer Magnolia

Saucer Magnolia, scientifically known as Magnolia x soulangeana ‘Alexandrina’, is a stunning flowering tree that belongs to the Magnoliaceae family. This hybrid magnolia is a result of a cross between Magnolia denudata and Magnolia liliiflora, and it is popular for its magnificent saucer-shaped pink blooms. The unique beauty and relatively low maintenance requirements make it a sought-after choice in gardens and landscapes.

What is Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia x soulangeana ‘Alexandrina’)?

Saucer Magnolia, also known as Alexandrina Saucer Magnolia, is a deciduous tree that typically reaches a height between 20 to 25 feet and spreads 15 to 20 feet. It is known for its strong, erect stems and a broad, spreading crown. The large, fragrant flowers open from furry, silvery buds in early spring before the leaves appear, creating a stunning display of pink and white blossoms.

Key Takeaways – Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia x soulangeana ‘Alexandrina’)

  • Scientific Name: Magnolia x soulangeana ‘Alexandrina’
  • Common Names: Saucer Magnolia, Alexandrina Saucer Magnolia, Soulange’s Magnolia
  • Family: Magnoliaceae
  • Type: Deciduous Tree
  • Mature Size: 20-25 feet tall, 15-20 feet wide
  • Flower Color: Pink and White
  • Bloom Time: Early Spring
  • Growth Rate: Moderate

Culture

Uses

Saucer Magnolia is widely used in residential and commercial landscapes to add a dramatic spring display. It can be planted as a specimen tree, in mixed borders, or as a focal point in a garden. The flowers also make beautiful cut arrangements, bringing the beauty of spring indoors.

Water

Proper watering is crucial, particularly during the tree’s establishment period. Adequate moisture is essential for ensuring healthy growth and blooming. Water the tree deeply once a week, providing around 1 inch of water, especially during dry periods. It’s important to ensure that the soil is well-drained to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot.

Sunlight

Saucer Magnolia thrives in full sun to partial shade. Plant it in a location that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day for the best blooming performance. In warmer regions, partial shade during the hot afternoon hours can help protect the tree from stress and scorching.

Fertilizer

Fertilizing Saucer Magnolia can help promote healthy growth and abundant flowering. Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring before new growth begins. Avoid excessive use of high-nitrogen fertilizers, as they can promote excessive leaf growth at the expense of flower production.

Soil

This magnolia variety prefers slightly acidic to neutral soil with good drainage. Amending the soil with organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure can improve soil structure and fertility. A rich, loamy soil is ideal for promoting healthy growth and flowering.

Pruning

Regular pruning is generally not required, especially if the tree is given enough space to grow and develop its natural form. However, light pruning to remove dead or damaged branches can be performed in late spring or early summer. Avoid heavy pruning, as it can reduce the following year’s flower buds.

Propagation

Saucer Magnolia can be propagated through several methods including:
Seed Propagation: Collect seeds from mature cones and plant them in a well-draining potting mix. Keep the soil consistently moist and provide warmth and bright light to encourage germination.
Cuttings: Softwood or semi-hardwood cuttings can be taken from healthy stems and rooted under controlled conditions. Rooting hormone can aid in the development of a strong root system in the cuttings.

Container Popularity

Saucer Magnolia can also be grown in containers, which is especially beneficial for gardeners with limited space. When planting the tree in a container, choose a large pot with drainage holes and fill it with a well-draining potting mix. Ensure that the container has sufficient room for the tree’s roots to grow and thrive. Container-grown magnolias may require more frequent watering and fertilizing compared to those planted in the ground.

Common Diseases

Disease Diagnosis

Saucer Magnolia is susceptible to certain diseases, with some of the most common including:
Anthracnose: This fungal disease can cause spotting, wilting, and dieback of leaves and twigs. Proper sanitation and fungicidal treatments can help manage anthracnose.
Bacterial Blight: Characterized by water-soaked lesions and dieback of twigs, bacterial blight can be controlled through pruning of affected branches and promoting overall tree health.

Common Pests

Several pests can pose a threat to Saucer Magnolia, including:
Scale Insects: These tiny, immobile pests can appear as hard or soft bumps on the stems and leaves of the magnolia tree. Insecticidal soaps or horticultural oils can help control scale infestations.
Magnolia Scale: This specific scale insect colonizes magnolia trees, particularly on the undersides of leaves. Treatment may include pruning heavily infested branches and applying horticultural oil.

Botanist’s Tips

  • When planting Saucer Magnolia, choose a site with adequate space for the tree to reach its full size without interference from nearby structures or other trees.
  • Mulch the root zone with a 2- to 3-inch layer of organic mulch to conserve soil moisture and regulate temperature.

Fun Facts

  • The saucer magnolia’s flowers give off a sweet, fragrant aroma, attracting pollinators such as bees and butterflies.
  • In some regions, saucer magnolias are celebrated as a sign of spring, drawing crowds to botanical gardens and parks to admire their blossoms.

Links to External Resources

For further information on Saucer Magnolia care, cultivation, and maintenance, you can refer to the following resources:
The American Magnolia Society
University Extension Services
Horticultural Research Institutes


In conclusion, Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia x soulangeana ‘Alexandrina’) is a remarkable ornamental tree that can enhance the beauty of any garden or landscape. With its captivating pink and white blossoms and relatively low maintenance requirements, it is an excellent choice for both experienced and novice gardeners. By understanding its cultural needs, propagation methods, and pest and disease management, you can ensure the healthy growth and prolific blooming of this stunning magnolia variety in your outdoor space.

Picture of Peter Taylors

Peter Taylors

Expert botanist who loves plants. His expertise spans taxonomy, plant ecology, and ethnobotany. An advocate for plant conservation, he mentors and educates future botanists, leaving a lasting impact on the field.

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