Magnolia Flowers Guide: History, Types & Growing Tips

We all enjoy admiring flowers. How they help lighten any mood! And they have such energizing floral scents. Offering them as presents can bring joy. But knowing more about flowers can give greater fulfillment. So, here is the complete guide to magnolia flowers.  Read on and find out how stunning this flower is.

History & Origin of the Magnolia Flower

History & Origin of the Magnolia Flower

The Magnolias existed before bees hit the world. They’re one of the earliest flowers known to man. They’re such an ancient beauty. They even thrived before other flying insects lived.

Magnolias depended on beetles to spread their pollen. Robust carpels shield them from any harm from these predatory creatures.

Swedish botanist Carl Linneaus gave the Magnolia its name in 1737. This was in honor of Pierre Magnol. He was a respected French botanist. The plant Magnol grew at that time is now an evergreen American cultivar.

Aztec history proved to have the first evidence of Magnolias being cultivated in the West. Montezuma’s reign had depictions of the extremely rare Magnolia dealbata.

Climate change is mostly to blame for the magnolia’s rarity. And the locals cut the blossoms during celebrations. This practice further inhibited the plant from reproducing.

Origin of the Magnolia Flower

The Magnolia is thought to have first been grown widely in China. Asia has been planting Magnolias since the 7th century. But fossil evidence says otherwise. Magnolia trees grew in Asia, Europe, and North America millions of years ago.

Many have long utilized the magnolias therapeutically, much later. That was around 1083. They’ve been used to cure allergies and headaches during those times.

Magnolia propagated during the Ice Age. Glaciers devastated old forests in Europe. But those in Asia and the Americas were preserved. Thus, the Magnolia spread to various regions of the globe.

The Magnolia is prized for its lovely attributes. See how its beauty may enhance any setting. Naturally, it spread widely as a garden accent over time. It was introduced to Europe in 1780. Then it evolved into so many different species.

The Japanese have also grown magnolias for centuries ago. But they have primarily grown them as indoor plants in pots. They have named them “Shidekobushi.”

Currently, only Southern China and Southern America are home to Magnolias. No wonder about half of the approximately 80 species of Magnolia is tropical. The Magnolia Society has created its present classification system.

Life Cycle of a Magnolia Flower

Life Cycle of a Magnolia Flower

Magnolia flowers typically bloom for two weeks. The trees look splendid during the first week. And the flower’s beauty shows as the bud open. Frequently watering your Magnolia can help avoid the blooms from dying off too soon.

Then the majority of the flowers drop off by the second week. The petals serve as a saucer for the dislodged flower parts. The ovaries of the pollinated Magnolia enlarge. Next, the fruit forms. The petals wither and perish. But they are replaced with fresh ones.

Some of the early blooms will still be on the ground. How beautiful the ground looks, covered with petals! Any stage of Magnolia’s blooming cycle is indeed lovely.

Magnolias can bloom at any time between February through June. Some varieties bloom in the late spring and summer. But you can watch out for some early and late blossoms.

Magnolia flowers do not last very long when cut. They remain fresh for about a week. That is if you keep them in a cool place. Remember, avoid cutting in the heat of the day. Their vase life may only extend for one to two days.

10 Popular Types of Magnolia Flowers

There are numerous Magnolia species. Each features a distinctive, lovely blossom and scent. The following are some of the most common varieties:

1. Saucer Magnolia

Saucer Magnolia

The Saucer Magnolia is one of the most well-known species. It’s the most popular magnolia cultivar in the United States. It’s a hybrid of Yulan Magnolia and Lily Magnolia. And this flower is edible.

This variety is also dubbed a “tulip magnolia.” The Saucer Magnolia takes the form of cups. The native species has a pinkish-white hue. But they can also be purple or brilliant pink. They bloom in the early spring on bare branches before the leaves form.

Occasionally, you can also get a second round of blooms. But the flowers are smaller and might not be entirely open.


2. Southern Magnolia

Southern Magnolia

Bull Bay is another name for Southern Magnolia. The fragrant blossoms set it apart from other species. They can span up to 8 inches. They’re that huge!

The Southern Magnolia does well in partial shade. The flowers appear throughout the late spring and summer.


3. Star Magnolia

Star Magnolia

Can you guess what the Star Magnolia looks like? It’s all in its name. You can easily recognize it because of its white petals resembling stars. The flowers can grow up to 5 inches wide. It’s not as big as the other varieties. It’s the best choice for smaller flowerbeds.

The Star Magnolia originated in Japan. How lovely this variety blooms in spring! That’s usually around March to April.


4. Loebner Magnolia

Loebner Magnolia

The Loebner Magnolia is another hybrid flower. It resembles the Star Magnolia. The white flowers also resemble stars. You can count up to 14 slender white petals. And they are widely separated on the branches. They appear in early to mid-spring.


5. Sweetbay Magnolia

Sweetbay Magnolia

The Sweetbay Magnolia flowers are showier than other varieties. They’re creamy-white with a pleasant, lemony aroma. This species is closely related to Magnolia Grandiflora.

The flowers usually measure four to six inches. You can find up to 12 velvety petals about three inches wide. They open in the morning and close at night for about three days.


6. Dwarf Magnolia

Dwarf Magnolia

This Magnolia variety is also called Little Gem. It is very well-liked by floral shops. Its main features are the snow-white, gardenia-like flowers. And look at the broad petals. They contrast beautifully against the waxy, dark-green foliage.


7. Yulan Magnolia

Yulan Magnolia

The Yulan Magnolia is one of the gorgeous Magnolias. People in ancient China used it as a gift. No wonder it has already received numerous awards.

The flowers of this variety are erect and cup-shaped. They are creamy to ivory-white and have lily-like characteristics. Some say they look like birds. But this optical illusion disappears when the petals begin to split open.


8. Lily Magnolia

Lily Magnolia

This Magnolia variety is an Asian native. The flowers are pinkish-purple. And they’re lily-shaped with six or seven petals. Brown or purple fruits occasionally follow the blooms.

The Lily Magnolia is a beautiful accent for any garden. The pretty flowers on bare branches during springtime are genuinely striking.


9. Elizabeth Magnolia

Elizabeth Magnolia

Magnolia acuminata and Yulan magnolia were crossed to create the Elizabeth Magnolia. During its blooming season, you’ll notice a profusion of yellow flowers with cups. The flowers have a maximum of 3″ width. They exhibit yellow and green tinges towards the bases. They bloom at the tops of twigs from March through April.


10. Champaca Magnolia

Champaca Magnolia

The variety of Champaca Magnolia is deciduous. Hence, you can enjoy seeing these yellow blossoms all year long. But they turn orange when fully grown. Ten to twenty tepals make up each flower. They get smaller as you move closer to the flower’s core.

The Champaca Magnolia flowers offer more than just beauty. They contain a lot of essential oils, too. These are frequently employed in religious rituals and perfumery settings.

What does a Magnolia flower smell like?

What does a Magnolia flower smell like

Think of how wide the range of aromas Magnolias have. Some are sweet to spicy. Others smell like citrus honey. But the lemony, floral fragrance is the most prevalent. Additionally, some people compare the scents to roses, lilies, or jasmine.

Some people liken the scent of Magnolia to that of champagne. It has a pleasant flowery fragrance with a hint of fruit. It is very well-liked in aromatherapy. It’s refreshing and calming.  You can expect a sensation of wellness and serenity as in a Chinese spa clinic.

Early April is usually the best time to pick magnolia blossoms. They are at their peak of bloom by then. So, they smell nice. The flowers are then pulverized into a powder after drying. Then they are used in soaps and fragrances. The scent of Magnolia is known to awaken the senses.

Methyl dihydro jasmonate is a substance that contributes to the fragrance of Magnolia. The blooms release this substance. And it is easily airborne. Therefore, you can smell the scent of Magnolia from a distance.

The fragrance intensity varies depending on the species. The time, humidity, and air temperature can all have an impact, too. The flowers can release the heaviest scent in the late afternoon. That’s because there is no more direct sunlight. It can also be in the morning when the tepals are still well-hydrated.

The Meaning of Different Magnolia Flowers

The Meaning of Different Magnolia Flowers

Each of the gorgeous shades of magnolia blooms has a special significance. The meanings of each hue are shown below.

Pink Magnolias

Pink magnolia blooms reflect femininity. They can represent romance, too. They are frequently associated with Venus, the goddess of love.

Additionally, pink magnolias stand for joy, passion, and youth. No wonder they are often picked for corsages and bouquets. They also make excellent gifts for Valentine’s Day. At home, they exude a warm atmosphere.

Purple Magnolias

The purple magnolia blossom has a powerful connection to ritualistic celebrations. Purple has stood in for grandeur and nobility for many years. Some purple magnolias have a strong fragrance. This feature makes them excellent gifts.

White Magnolias

White magnolia blooms are the most well-known. These white varieties stand for faith, hope, and spirituality. Florists use them on many formal occasions, like many widely-accepted white flowers.

The white Magnolias associate well with the Greek deities Selene and Artemis. They represent purity and perfection. They perfectly fit the beauty of brides. So don’t get surprised when you see them often in bridal flowers.

Red Magnolias

The red magnolias are attention-grabbers. Plus, they’re uncommon and striking. They can represent love and passion like red roses. Thus, they make the ideal present for your special someone.

Yellow Magnolias

Yellow magnolias are symbolic of friendship and happiness. Give them a suitable gift for cheering up a friend or loved one. They add joy and warmth. Offering these flowers is a beautiful way to show them that you care.

Green Magnolias

Green generally means growth. So green magnolias give a sense of luck and fortune. Health and joy are also associated with green magnolia flowers. You can give them as a gift to wish someone well.

Tips to Grow Magnolia Flower

Tips to Grow Magnolia Flower

Do you know what the most frequent issue is for magnolia gardeners? It’s the absence of blossoms. Flowers are such a beauty any gardener looks forward to. But waiting for the blooms usually requires patience.

Young magnolias can take several years to bloom. Some don’t flower until 25 years later. Here are some tips to ensure your magnolias get the necessary care and attention.

Find a proper location.

Ensure that you have the proper soil. It should be neutral to acidic. Do not plant your Magnolia in alkaline soil. Also, ensure that severe winds and frosts cannot damage the flowers. The right location will provide your Magnolias with a lot of sunshine and protection.

Water sufficiently.

Water your magnolia trees once per week only in the first two growing seasons. Then do it twice per month in future years. Magnolias on sandy soil require less watering than those in clay. You can also wrap some mulch around its trunk to maintain the root area wet.

Prune infrequently.

Pruning is typically not necessary for magnolias. Do it only when it involves removing branches that are dead or damaged. Inappropriate or excessive pruning might harm the tree. And worse, it restricts blossoming.


Magnolias are among the most adored flowers. It makes sense why they are common in gardens and special events. Do you intend to plant one? Review the complete guide to magnolia flower above so you can take the proper action. You’ll have beautiful blooms to admire in no time!

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