At best, Magnolia grandiflora is considered to be winter hardy to USDA Zone 6b and is not reliably winter hardy in the St. Louis area. If grown in St. Louis, it should be sited in a protected location. Plants may become somewhat deciduous in hard winters. It is best grown in moist, organically rich, well-drained loams in full sun to part shade. Part shade may be best. It is generally intolerant of soil extremes (dry or wet). It is also intolerant of many urban pollutants. Trees will become quite large over time and should be planted in areas where they can expand.
Although ‘Bracken’s Brown Beauty’ is winter hardy to USDA Zone 5b, it is still probably best sited in a protected location in the St. Louis area.
Magnolia grandiflora is a broadleaf evergreen tree that is noted for its attractive dark green leaves and its large, extremely fragrant flowers. It typically grows to 60-80’ tall with a pyramidal to rounded crown. This is a magnificent tree of the South. It is native to moist wooded areas in the southeastern United States from North Carolina to Florida and Texas. Leathery evergreen ovate to elliptic leaves (to 10” long) are glossy dark green above and variable pale green to gray-brown beneath. Fragrant white flowers (to 8-12” diameter) usually have six petals. Flowers bloom in late spring, with sparse continued flowering throughout the summer. Flowers give way to spherical cone-like fruiting clusters (to 3-5” long) that mature in late summer to early fall, releasing individual rose-red coated seeds suspended on slender threads at maturity.
Genus name honors Pierre Magnol, French botanist (1638-1715).
Specific epithet is from Latin meaning large flowers.
‘Bracken’s Brown Beauty’ is a significant cultivar because, unlike the species, it is reliably winter hardy to the St. Louis area (USDA Zones 5b-6a). It is a compact cultivar that typically grows to 30’ tall with a dense, narrow, pyramdial-oval crown, and produces flowers and leaves that are approximately one-half the size of those on species’ plants. Leathery evergreen leaves (to 7” long) are glossy dark green above and rusty-brown beneath, lending a bi-color appearance to the foliage. Fragrant, cup-shaped, white flowers (to 4-6” diameter) appear in late spring, with sparse continued flowering throughout the summer. Flowers give way to spherical cone-like fruiting clusters (to 3” long) that mature in late summer, releasing individual rose-red coated seeds suspended on slender threads at maturity.
No serious insect or disease problems. The species is not winter hardy to St. Louis.
‘Bracken’s Brown Beauty’, however, is reliably winter hardy to the St. Louis area (USDA Zones 5b-6a).
Beautiful specimen flowering tree for lawns.