Here in the south we’re quite familiar with southern Magnolia with its evergreen leaves and fragrant white flowers, but Big Leaf Magnolia is another native Magnolia that is quite impressive.
Big Leaf Magnolia, botanically known as Magnolia Macrophylla, has the largest leaf and bloom of any Native North American plant. The leaf itself can reach up to three feet long, and the bloom can spread 12 inches across.
Although native to the southeast, these Magnolias won’t grow just anywhere. They prefer a rich, organic soil, moist but well drained, with a low pH. It naturally grows as a large understory tree, but does not want to be in total shade. If you can mimic a woodland soil environment, you could have this tree in the open, but be aware that the large leaves may be damaged and torn by strong winds.
The soil and water requirements are the most important tips to grow Big Leaf Magnolia. Diseases and insects are rare, but if you’re able to have one in your yard, be prepared to pick up the tree’s large leaves; this variety does not keep its leaves in the winter.
Have a gardening question? Fill out the form below to ask the folks at Bennett Nurseries.