There are many popular species of Magnolia trees and when in bloom, they are breathtaking!
Magnolia is actually a genus of trees, in the Magnoliaceae family, with over 200 species of trees.
Because these flowers are so gorgeous, many botanists have created hybrids and there are now countless species with nuanced colors and shapes.
This much variety makes it important to understand what species grow in the climate you live in and what they need to thrive.
Texas USDA Hardiness zones are 7a to 10a, which is a big range and there are tons of Magnolias that can grow in these zones!
So, let’s dive into which Magnolia trees can grow in Texas and which ones you should grow!
8 Stunning Magnolia Trees for Texas Gardeners
1. Galaxy Magnolia (Magnolia ‘Galaxy’)
Galaxy Magnolia is one of the many hybrids bred to be an especially colorful flowering tree. It’s a cross between Magnolia liliiflora and M. sprengeri ‘Diva’.
Its flowers are a vibrant fuschia color that gradually fades to pale pink at the tips of the petals. These flowers emerge from deep purple-red buds in mid Spring and typically last for several weeks. Galaxy Magnolia flowers are trumpet-shaped, with their many petals opening wide for a diameter of 8 inches.
The tree itself is medium-sized, only reaching a maximum of 40 feet tall. Galaxy Magnolia grows with a single trunk giving way to a wide, rounded canopy with ascending branches.
This Magnolia is a deciduous tree that can grow in full sun or partial shade. It grows best in Texas with slightly acidic soil that is moist and well-draining. It is susceptible to various diseases like honey fungus or horse chestnut scales.
Other Common Names: Magnolia ‘Galaxy’
Growing Zones: 5-9
Average Size at Maturity: 30-40 ft tall by 20-25 ft wide
Available at: Nature Hills
2. Elizabeth Magnolia (Magnolia ‘Elizabeth’)
‘Elizabeth’ is another hybrid species that was purposefully cultivated. This one is a hybrid between Magnolia acuminata (next on the list!) and M. denudata. This species was introduced by the Brooklyn Botanical Garden in 1977 and at the time was one of the first Magnolias with yellow blooms.
The flowers are creamy white with strong yellow hues. The center of the blossom is yellow and the color fades to white towards the tips of the petals. The Elizabeth Magnolia is one of the most common species of yellow-flowering Magnolia and will grow well in Texas.
The flowers emerge from fuzzy white buds in early to mid-spring and may last up to one month. When they open, the flowers form big, round cups that are 8 inches across.
Elizabeth Magnolia also has beautiful leaves: they emerge in the Spring bronze-orange and turn dark green as they mature. In the Fall, these dark, waxy leaves turn golden yellow.
Other Common Names: Magnolia x brooklynensis ‘Elizabeth’
Growing Zones: 5-8
Average Size at Maturity: 20-30 ft tall by 12-20 ft wide
Available at: Nature Hills
3. Cucumber Tree (Magnolia acuminata)
Next is the Cucumber Tree, one of the more interesting Magnolias! It’s also a very hardy species, perfect for northern TX. It’s called “Cucumber Tree” because its flowers and fruits are edible, and reportedly taste like cucumbers!
These flowers have narrow petals, more modest than some of the huge, cupped Magnolia flowers. They’re pale yellow with a light green tint and the stigma is green and yellow. The flowers are only 4 inches long and are more subtle because these trees are so tall and the flowers grow at the top of the canopy.
The Cucumber Tree is native to eastern North America and can be found throughout the states. It has long, dark green leaves that turn golden in the fall.
This Magnolia grows best in fully acidic soil. It can tolerate moderate drought and salty conditions, but doesn’t grow well with extreme drought, pollution, or intense humidity.
Other Common Names: Mountain Magnolia, M. acuminata var. Cordata, M. acuminata var. ozarkensis , M. acuminata var. subcordata
Growing Zones: 4-8
Average Size at Maturity: 40-70 ft tall by 20-30 ft wide
Available at: Nature Hills
4. Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia x soulangeana)
Saucer Magnolia is really a group of species of Magnolias, since there are now so many cultivars and hybrids. Some of the popular hybrids are listed in the Common Names section, but there are many more!
Because of this, the color of the flowers varies by cultivar but in general these species have pink flowers. The colors range from light pink, bright fuschia, purple-pink, pinkish-white. The flowers are large, at least 10 inches across, with 9 big petals. The size and shape make these flowers seem like big floral goblets and they look amazing in the Texas landscape!
The flowers bloom in early to mid-Spring before the leaves emerge and the sight of these naked trees covered in massive flowers is stunning. After the flowers, the leaves emerge bright green, then brown in the fall.
As a young tree, Saucer Magnolias grow upright but as they mature, they take on a bushy form. Many people grow these trees as multi-trunked, small trees or large bushes.
Other Common Names: Chinese Magnolia, Tulip Magnolia, M. x soulangeana var. Alba Superba, M. x soulangeana var. Lennei, M. x soulangeana var. Lilliputian, M. x soulangeana var. Rustica Rubra
Growing Zones: 5-9
Average Size at Maturity: 20-25 ft tall by 20-25 ft wide
5. Yulan Magnolia (Magnolia denuata)
The Yulan Magnolia is another species that will grow in Texas and has been hybridized and specially bred many times, so it now has many cousins! This tree is native to Asia and has a long history of admiration in Ancient China. Yulan Magnolias were planted in Buddhist monasteries all over China where monks would sit and contemplate their beauty.
The flowers are ivory or soft white and can have a light tinge of pink at the base of the petals. They’re only about 3 inches wide, much smaller than most Magnolia flowers. These flowers look much like Lillies, hence the name “Lily Magnolia”.
Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to experience this myself, but apparently the fragrant flowers smell like lemons! And this species is another edible Magnolia species.
Yulan Magnolia goes into bloom before the leaves come, so when in bloom these trees are a naked silhouette covered in snowy flowers. Although the tree is hardy, the early Spring blooms are vulnerable to frost damage.
Other Common Names: Lily Magnolia, Lilytree, Naked Magnolia, Slender Magnolia, Mulan Magnolia
Growing Zones: 5-8
Average Size at Maturity: 30-40 ft tall by 30-40 ft wide
6. Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)
Southern Magnolias are an icon of the southern U.S. landscape, being native to this climate and a rare Magnolia better suited for warmer climates. Magnolia grandiflora is definitely the best option for those in southern TX.
The blooms on Southern Magnolias are pure, creamy white and very big- at least 8 inches across. The flowers drop after 2 to 3 days, but the whole tree blooms through Spring and Summer, sometimes into Fall!
The flowers are super fragrant and have been used for making infusions and pickles. The leaves are also flavorful and can be used like a super strong bay leaf, similarly in soups or sauces.
Because of the warm climate, Southern Magnolias are evergreen trees. With their bushy canopy, tall height, and long life, these trees have a powerful presence! Plus, they grow fast and are highly pest-free.
Other Common Names: Evergreen Magnolia, Loblolly Magnolia, Great Laurel Magnolia, Big Laurel, Bull Bay
Growing Zones: 7-10
Average Size at Maturity: 60-80 ft tall by 30-50 ft wide
Season: Spring and Summer
7. Black Magnolia (Magnolia liliiflora ‘Nigra’)
Black Magnolia is another variety that would grow well in southern TX, however it won’t grow as far south as Southern Magnolia will. One of the best features of this species is its size: Black Magnolia is a dwarf Magnolia that can fit in many small yards.
This tree has reddish-pink, purple flowers with beautiful dark purple veins in the petals. The outside of the flowers are darker but the inside is more pale purple. These flowers are a bit smaller than other Magnolias, with fewer and thinner petals.
Typically, the flowers bloom in late Spring but sometimes they’ll randomly bloom throughout the summer too! Because of their size, Black Magnolias are often grown as large shrubs but can be trained to be small trees.
Black Magnolias aren’t very wind tolerant and should be protected from extreme winds. They prefer slightly acidic soil and will struggle in very compact soil, but can adapt to many conditions.
Other Common Names: Black Lily Magnolia, Magnolia x soulangeana ‘Nigra”
Growing Zones: 5-9
Average Size at Maturity: 8-12 ft tall by 8-12 ft wide
8. Anise Magnolia (Magnolia salicifolia)
If you’re looking for a landscaping tree in Texas that really makes a statement, Anise Magnolia might be it. When fully mature, this tree can be 50 feet tall by 50 feet wide- that’s a lot of tree!
And its flowers are amazing too, smaller, pinkish white flowers that hang from the tree. When they first bloom, they’re circular but as they mature the flowers become long and stringy.
They bloom early in the Spring and have a sweet, lemony, anise-like fragrance in bloom. Along with the flowers, the leaves and bark of the tree are very fragrant when scratched.
Anise Magnolia also has beautiful leaves that emerge a coppery-orange with a white underside. The leaves are thin and look a lot like Willow leaves, which is why this is also called “Willow Leaf Magnolia”. The leaves turn golden yellow in the Fall before dropping with Winter.
There are now many cultivars of Magnolia salicifolia but the most popular is Magnolia x kewensis ‘Wada’s Memory’.
Other Common Names: Willow Leaved Magnolia, Willow Leaf Magnolia
Growing Zones: 6-9
Average Size at Maturity: 30-50 ft tall by 30-50 ft wide
It’s commonly agreed that Magnolia trees are some of the most amazing flowering trees and that’s why they’re planted in parks and landscaping all over the world. With flowers so big, these trees don’t go unnoticed!
So if you’re looking for a stunning flowering tree to plant in your Texas yard, Magnolia trees are a great option. They’re also fairly easy to grow and are adaptable to many climates. As long as you grow a species that’s suited for your climate and zone, you should have little problems.
Once you start growing a Magnolia, you’ll have a magnificent tree with incredible blooms to admire year after year!
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Peyton considers trees not just as plants that provide shade or yummy fruits, but as necessary for a healthy life and community.
Peyton has done most of her research on environmental politics, but recently has shifted her focus towards actual agricultural practices, learning about ideas like agroforestry, food forests, and permaculture gardening.
She’s most often in the kitchen whipping something up, but otherwise can be found on long bike rides or doing research.