Magnolia grandiflora 'Bracken's Brown Beauty'
Common Name: southern magnolia
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Magnoliaceae
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 20.00 to 30.00 feet
Spread: 15.00 to 25.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Air Pollution

Culture

Grow in moist, organically rich, well-drained loams in full sun to part shade. Part shade may be best. Generally intolerant of soil extremes (dry or wet). Also intolerant of many urban pollutants. Although this cultivar is winter hardy to USDA Zone 5b, it is still probably best sited in a protected location in the St. Louis area.

Noteworthy Characteristics

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.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Beautiful specimen flowering tree for lawns.