Magnolia × soulangeana 'Lennei'
Common Name: saucer magnolia
Type: Tree
Family: Magnoliaceae
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 15.00 to 25.00 feet
Spread: 15.00 to 25.00 feet
Bloom Time: March to April
Bloom Description: Deep purple
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Tolerate: Clay Soil

Culture

Best grown in moist, acidic, organically rich, well-drained loams in full sun to part shade. Generally intolerant of soil extremes (dry or wet). Site in locations protected from strong winds, but avoid southern exposures close to houses where the buds may be induced to open too early in spring. Plants appreciate consistent and regular moisture throughout the year. Best sited in a protected location because early spring frosts can damage flowers.

‘Lennei’ blooms somewhat later than the original hybrid.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Magnolia x soulangeana, commonly known as saucer magnolia, is a deciduous hybrid magnolia (M. denudata x M. liliiflora). It is the most commonly grown deciduous magnolia. It is a broad shrub or small tree that typically rises to 20-25’ tall with a rounded crown. It is often grown in a multi-trunked shrubby form. It typically matures over time to 20-30’ tall and as wide. Fragrant flowers (to 8” across) bloom in early spring (late March to mid-April in St. Louis) before the foliage emerges. Flowers are pink with white interiors. Sparse numbers of additional flowers may bloom sporadically later in spring on new growth, but the later flowers are usually less vigorous and less colorful than those of the primary bloom. Saucer magnolia is perhaps the most popular deciduous magnolia in cultivation today, with a large number of hybrid cultivars now available in commerce featuring flowers in various shades of white, pink, rose, purple, magenta and burgundy.

Genus name honors Pierre Magnol, French botanist (1638-1715).

Hybrid designation honors Chevalier Etienne Soulange-Bodin (1774-1846), Director of the French Royal Institute, who crossed this hybrid in the early 1800s.

‘Lennei’ was introduced in Europe in 1853. It is a large, broad-spreading shrub that is most noted for its large, goblet-shaped, purple flowers and large leaves. It typically grows to 10-15’ tall over the first 10 years, eventually reaching 15-25’ tall over time. Fragrant flowers (to 8” across) bloom in early spring (March in St. Louis) before the foliage emerges. Flowers are deep purple with white inside. Sparse numbers of additional flowers may bloom sporadically later in spring on new growth, but the later flowers are usually less vigorous and less colorful than those of the primary bloom. ‘Lennei’ rarely produces fruit.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Leaf spot and canker can be troublesome. Watch for scale. Late spring frosts may damage flowers.

Garden Uses

Beautiful specimen flowering shrub or small tree for the landscape.