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Audubon® Southern Magnolia
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Southern Magnolia rolls out the welcome mat to birds in a display of southern hospitality. When this majestic flowering tree trades its huge, bowl-shaped, ivory-colored summer blooms for fall seeds, the birds come flocking. Robins and mockingbirds love the glossy red seeds, as do vireos, wood thrushes, and kingbirds. The seeds are high in fat, making them especially valuable to birds when they need the extra energy the most (whether migrating south or surviving the winter in place). Southern Magnolia’s sturdy branches and evergreen leaves also appeal to birds. They create wonderful niches for nesting, escaping from predators, or simply hanging out.
May Benefit & Attract: Thrushes, waxwings, wood warblers, finches, mockingbirds & thrashers, chickadees & titmice, orioles, cardinals & grosbeaks, crows & jays, sparrows, nuthatches, vireos, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, and wrens.
Take Birds Under Your Wing
New! Introducing our bird-friendly collection of Audubon® Native Plants & Trees
- Better for Birds, 100% Neonic-Free
- Not Available in non-native regions, states or counties (see Native Regions map)
Bower & Branch is proud to grow Audubon® Native Plants for Birds in partnership with the National Audubon Society to help birds and other wildlife thrive.
- The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow
- This bird-friendly native plant provides food and shelter for local and migrating birds and other wildlife
- Your purchase and planting of this native flora directly supports Audubon’s conservation mission and impact
- Learn how you can help birds in your home and community through Audubon’s Plants for Birds program
- Audubon Native Plants & Trees are free of neonicotinoids and exclusively grown by Bower & Branch
Audubon® is a licensed and registered trademark of the National Audubon Society. All rights reserved.
Size AA (2-3' tall) container grown
- Hardiness Zone: 7-10
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Recommended by Our Growers
Southern Magnolia, also known as Bull Bay, is native to the coastal plain extending from North Carolina to Texas. Though originally found not far from water, on moist but gritty, well-drained sites, it has since been planted everywhere in the South—in every city, town, and neighborhood. President Andrew Jackson was a big fan of the tree, and he had one planted on the White House lawn in 1828. It graced that spot for 189 years. In 2017, it finally had to be cut down, as it was in decline and was becoming a hazard. A sad day for tree lovers.
The flowers of Southern Magnolia are primitive; they evolved to be pollinated by beetles, not bees. They exude a wonderful lemony fragrance that beetles apparently like. You will, too! That delicious scent will hang in the air all summer when you plant Southern Magnolia in your yard.
How to Grow
Southern Magnolia is at home in rich soil in full sun to part shade. It likes regular irrigation, but can be surprisingly drought-tolerant once established, as many old, unmaintained specimens will attest. Give it some shelter from prevailing winter winds in the northern parts of its range. Southern Magnolia casts a dense shade that prevents growing anything directly beneath it, so let mulch be the groundcover of choice. Run over fallen leaves with the lawnmower to help them break down and recycle their nutrients. This tree is typically a slow grower, but it can be moderately fast with proper watering and fertilization.
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