Sign In to join the community | Help
Lawn & Garden

Bigleaf Magnolia, Magnolia macrophylla


Common Name: umbrella tree, bigleaf magnolia, cucumber tree

Type: tree

Family: Magnoliaceae

Zone: 5 to 8     Find Your Zone

Height: 30 to 40 feet

Width: 30 to 40 feet

Bloom Time: May

Bloom Color: white with purple base

Sun exposure: full sun to partial shade

Fall Color: none

Soil: fertile, well drained loam

Leaves: deciduous


This magnolia is rarely found but it can be seen and identified from a mile away when you stumble across it. This is a country tree, intolerant of the city pollutants and you should feel privileged to come across it. This tree only blooms in its teenage years and the blooms are usually too high up to see. These blooms however, are12 inches wide and saucer shaped and very fragrant. This tree likes sheltered areas, away from wind that can damage the leaves. This tree is usually found in the southeastern United States, around the Appalachian Mountain area. Macrophylla’s leaves can grow to be almost 3 feet long and up to 1 foot wide.

This tree is not often seen in nurseries, as it is not often propagated due to its demanding needs.It likes loose, rich, fertile, undisturbed soil with plenty of moisture.


There are 2 other subspecies of Magnolia macrophylla.

Magnolia magrophylla ashei

This one only grows to 15 feet tall and is found further south (mid-florida), in warmer, sub tropic climates as well.It is commonly found along the Apalachicola River.

Magnolia macrophylla dealbata

This subspecies is native to Mexico.


STEP 1: Digging the hole

  • Find a location that has suitable sun exposure for your particular type of plant.
  • Dig your hole an inch or two shallower than the rootball of the plant.
  • Dig the hole twice the diameter of the rootball.
  • Scuff up the sides of the hole with a shovel to help roots break through the native soil.

STEP 2: Putting plant in hole

  • When removing the plant from the pot, check to see if the roots were circling the pot.
  • If the plant is rootbound, gently break up the roots with your hands until loosened up.
  • Set plant level, in the center of the hole.
  • Make sure the top of the rootball is just above soil level.

STEP 3: Amending the soil and filling in the hole

  • Amend the soil with proper amendments for your soil type. 
  • Incorporate 50% native soil with 50% amendment soils like garden soil, composted manure or soil conditioner.
  • Make sure dirt clods are broken up or removed from hole along with rocks.
  • Fill the hole with soils to the soil level and pack down. Do not cover top of rootball with dirt.
  • Water in thoroughly to remove air pockets.

STEP 4: Mulching and fertilizing

  • Cover the planting site with at least 2 inches of the mulch of your choice (pinestraw, cupress mulch,etc.)
  • High Phosphorus root stimulator fertilizers like Quick Start from Miracle Gro are great to use at time of planting.
  • When planting trees, a tree stake kit may be required to prevent the wind from blowing over or breaking our newly planted tree until it becomes established.

Find your closest local store

Related Articles:

Types of magnolia trees

Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question
Posted 2015-11-22T16:02:51+0000  by Ingar_HD_ATL Ingar_HD_ATL