Magnolia LiLiiflora Guide: How to Grow & Care for Lily Magnolia

Our Guide to Magnolia LiLiiflora - Everything you will ever need to know! Tips for growing and caring for “Lily Magnolia” Plants
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Want a small tree with beautiful delicate flowers to spruce up your landscape? You need to get yourself a Lily Magnolia!

Magnolia LiLiiflora is also commonly known as Lily Magnolia. It is a beautiful large shrub or small tree that will make a great addition to any landscape. Lily Magnolia is one of the smaller species belonging to the Magnolia genus. So this shrub is perfect for small gardens that need an elegant focal point. A Magnolia LiLiiflora will also make a lovely addition to landscapes in city gardens or cottage gardens.

If you’ve ever seen Lily Magnolias in bloom, you already know how easily they capture your attention. Their huge spread of green leaves and delicate flowers make Magnolia trees very popular.

Native to southwestern China, the Lily Magnolia trees that first arrived in English-speaking countries were cultivated in Japan. For this reason, in certain places, people refer to Magnolia shrubs as Japanese Magnolias.

From late winter to early spring, Lily Magnolia produces beautiful blooms. These shrubs can make spectacular shows in any landscape, be it rural or urban.

Ready to learn more about how to grow and care for Lily Magnolia? Keep reading below!

About Lily Magnolia

  • Magnolia LiLiiflora belongs to the family of Magnoliaceae, and it is native to southwestern China.
  • People have cultivated this mesmerizing tree for many centuries in parts of China and Japan.
  • Other common names of this shrub include Purple Lily Magnolia, Mulan Magnolia, Purple Magnolia, Tulip Magnolia, Jane Magnolia, and Woody Orchid.
  • Thanks to being a small tree with wonderful foliage and elegant flowers, Lily Magnolia looks great in any small garden landscape.
  • Some great garden early spring-flowering companions for Lily Magnolia include Camellias, Bulbs, Calla lilies, and a mix of ferns and hostas. All these early spring-flowering plants will adjust to the partial shade underneath your Lily Magnolia and bloom at the same time with the tree.
  • This shrub can be somehow temperamental when it comes to environmental conditions. It really needs ideal growing conditions to thrive. However, as long as you give it what it needs, it will grow into a lovely and majestic small tree.
  • Lily Magnolia is sun-loving. This shrub prefers sunny spots where it can get full sun but it can also adapt to partial shade.
  • It’s best to provide your Lily Magnolia with as much sun as possible for the best flowering.
  • Lily Magnolia is pretty cold-hardy, and it can survive temperatures down to -10 °F (-23.3 °C). So, it is best to plant it in an area of your garden where it will be safe and won’t suffer damage due to strong winds and very cold temperatures.
  • Pay attention to protecting your Lily Magnolia from early spring cold spells as its spring flowers can easily fall off due to freezing temperatures.
  • It is best to grow this shrub in consistently moist, slightly acidic soil. You need to make sure that you provide your Lily Magnolia with well-draining soil as it is sensitive to root rot. Water this small tree regularly throughout the year.
  • Magnolias are relatively problem-free shrubs. The tricky part is that their problems can be life-threatening. Some of the known dangers to Lily Magnolia besides phytophthora include scale insects, coral spot, and honey fungus.
  • Keep an eye out for these problems because they might not kill the plant, but they can definitely affect its appearance. So, if you identify any of these problems, treat them immediately.
  • Magnolia tree is not toxic for humans or pets if they handle it or ingest it. It is not edible, so no one should ingest it. But if it happens by accident, you don’t have to worry about poisoning or other extreme reactions.
Magnolia LiLiiflora
Magnolia LiLiiflora

Lily Magnolia Features: An Overview

  • Lily Magnolia grows as a large shrub, or small tree branching from the base. This species is one of the smallest found in the Magnolia genus, which is why people with small gardens prefer it.
  • If you grow it from seed, it can take a Lily Magnolia up to 10-15 years to reach maturity. This shrub can reach heights of 8 to 12 feet (2,43- 3,65 m).
  • It features deep lustrous green leaves on its branches and, in early spring, it produces slightly fragrant, dark reddish-purple flowers. The flowering can continue for the rest of the summer.
  • Lily Magnolias produce flowers that are tulip-shaped and that have 9 to 18 tepals.
  • The blooms of Lily Magnolias can be up to 5 inches (12 cm) long.

Growing Lily Magnolia

Some gardeners consider that Lily Magnolia is a little bit temperamental when it comes to growing conditions. But the good news is that it’s really not impossible to grow and care for this shrub. All it takes for Magnolia LiLiiflora to thrive is a gardener who can pay attention to the ideal growing conditions and who keeps an eye out for problems and pests. In return, this shrub will repay you by being an elegant and lovely focal point in your landscape.

First, let’s talk about Lily Magnolias’ lighting requirements. As we’ve mentioned above, this mesmerizing shrub is sun-loving and needs full sun conditions for best blooming. It can also adapt to partial shade if necessary. However, we highly recommend finding a spot in your garden where the small tree will get at least 4 to 6 hours of sunlight per day for best flowering.

Magnolia Liliiflora Seeds, From Amazon

When you first plant your Lily Magnolia, you don’t have to apply any fertilizer. Afterward, your shrub will definitely benefit from a spring feeding with a slow-release fertilizer. It will give your Lily Magnolia the nutrients and strength it needs to produce flowers. It is best to apply the fertilizer as soon as the flower buds begin to develop.

When it comes to pruning, Lily Magnolia doesn’t respond well to severe pruning, so it’s best to avoid it if it is not necessary. However, when the shrub becomes overgrown for your landscape space or when there are too many dead or damaged branches, you can prune it. But do it immediately after it has bloomed. Pruning it later than that might reduce the flowering in the following spring.

How to Plant Lily Magnolia

Planting Lily Magnolia is not a very complicated process. There are a few things to keep in mind for successful planting.

In general, it is best to plant a Lily Magnolia when it is dormant in the late fall or winter months. For the first 6 to 12 months after planting it, your shrub will benefit from mulch and regular irrigation in warmer times and dry weather.

Now, to ensure success with planting your Lily Magnolia, keep in mind the basic growing needs it has. For example, you need to remember that this shrub needs to get a lot of sunlight for at least 4-6 hours a day. So, plant your Lily Magnolia in a sunny spot.

This small tree is really sensitive to strong winds in particular and to very cold temperatures. So, plant it in a spot in your garden where it gets plenty f shelter from this type of bad weather.

Besides that, keep in mind that Lily Magnolia is sensitive to overwatering as it is prone to root rot. So, although this shrub adapts well to moist, slightly acidic soil, make sure you plant it in well-draining soil.

The lowest temperature Lily Magnolias can survive is -10 °F (-23.3 °C). So, consider if your climate is really appropriate for this shrub to thrive. More precisely, if you live in an area with a cooler climate where temperatures are constantly below freezing during winter, you should consider planting your Lily Magnolia in a container. Use a container that is several times larger than the small tree’s root ball because its roots are going to need a lot of space to grow.

Lily Magnolia
Lily Magnolia

Watering Lily Magnolia

When it comes to watering your Lily Magnolia, you have to water it regularly throughout the year, especially during the first years after planting. To keep it healthy and ensure growth during its first years of life, cover your magnolia’s root area with mulch. This will help balance out soil moisture levels and temperatures.

After the shrub has established and it has completely developed its root system, it becomes relatively tolerant of temporary dry conditions. But it is a good idea to pay more attention to watering it during prolonged droughts that are more frequent in the hot summer months.

Important thing to keep in mind: Don’t forget about providing your Lily Magnolia with well-draining soil to protect it from root rot, which can be caused by overwatering.

Propagating Lily Magnolia

If you want more lovely Lily Magnolia shrubs in your garden, you can propagate your mature plant via cuttings or by planting the seeds. Seed planting will take longer until the shrub starts to grow.

Propagation via cuttings is the most popular method in the case of Lily Magnolia. To propagate your parent shrub, take 6 to 8-inch cuttings in early summer after the buds have set. It’s best to take the cuttings from growing tips of the branches of your mature Lily Magnolia. Remove the upper leaves from the cuttings and then make a 2-inch vertical slice at the end of the stem and then place it in rooting hormone. Plant the cuttings in small containers that are filled with moist perlite.

The next step is to cover the container in a loose plastic bag and place it in a bright location but where it doesn’t receive direct sunlight. Keep and grow the cuttings there for a few months until the root system has developed. Once this process is complete, you can plant your young Magnolias in your garden. It’s best to transplant your new Lily Magnolia in the garden in the fall.

In Conclusion

Lily Magnolia is a lovely small tree to have in your garden. Its elegant appearance and delicate flowers will be an amazing focal point in your outdoor space.

Are you a fan of Lily Magnolia? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


Miruna is an experienced content writer with a passion for gardening. She is the proud owner of an outdoor rose garden and an indoor collection of tiny succulents. She bought her first succulent 10 years ago - an adorable Echeveria Setosa. Now she owns more than 100 succulents and cacti of different colors, shapes, and sizes. Miruna is a versatile writer and, as you might have guessed, her favorite topic is gardening. Contact

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