What is a Dwarf Magnolia?

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  • Written By: Misty Amber Brighton
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 23 October 2019
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Dwarf magnolia, or Magnolia nana, is an evergreen shrub believed to be native to southeast Asia. It has a fragrant white blossom that usually emerges in May or June. It normally grows between two to three feet (.61 to .91 m) high, and two to three feet (.61 to .91 m) in width.

This bush typically has large, green leaves that are pointed on one end. They are normally thick, leathery, and shiny. They sometimes appear to be bubbly on top as well. The underside of these leaves is usually pale green and smooth to the touch.

A dwarf magnolia shrub normally develops large, round buds in late spring. They are generally white in color. The flowers may appear in early to mid summer and last until late summer or early fall.

Unlike other species of magnolia trees, the dwarf magnolia does not produce pink or magenta-colored blossoms. While mainly white, this plant's blooms can also be cream-colored. Like the buds, they are normally very large and round, with multiple layers of petals. The flowers usually have a very strong fragrance that often attracts bees and butterflies.

This small tree is grown in many parts of the world. It does well in areas that have a moderate climate with very few days of frost during the winter. It can also thrive in areas of high elevation.


The dwarf magnolia does well when planted in partial shade or partial sun. It normally does not tolerate direct sunlight well. It does, however, generally need at least six or seven hours of filtered light a day during the summer months.

This plant can grow in sandy or clay soil. It prefers soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5, which generally means it is neither alkaline or acidic. A dwarf magnolia does not normally need to be fertilized, but can sometimes benefit from having organic matter, such as shredded leaves or pine straw, placed around the trunk.

The Magnolia nana does not normally withstand drought-like conditions. This can mean it needs to be watered often, especially during the summer months. It can sometimes tolerate very wet soil, as long as it is for a short period of time. It does not usually do well when planted in areas that tend to have standing water after a heavy rain.

Due to the compact size of the dwarf magnolia, it can be an ideal plant for a backyard garden. It does, however, tend to produce a great deal of pollen. Therefore, people who are suffer from seasonal allergies to this plant may need to wear a mask outdoors while this tree is in bloom, in order to keep them from flaring up.


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