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Publication #FPS-367

Magnolia x soulangiana 'Alexandrina' 'Alexandrina' Saucer Magnolia1

Edward F. Gilman2


Young Japanese or saucer magnolia are distinctly upright, becoming more oval, then round by 10 years of age (Fig. 1). Blooms open in late winter in the southern part of its range to early spring in the northern part of its range before the leaves emerge. Flowers on 'Alexandrina' are among the prettiest of the magnolias. Petals are pink on the outside and whitish-pink inside. Even young trees can develop a beautiful flower display. However, a late frost can often ruin the flowers in all areas where it is grown. In warmer climates, the late-flowering selections avoid frost damage but some are less showy than the early-flowered forms, which blossom when little else is in bloom.

Figure 1. 

'Alexandrina' saucer magnolia

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

General Information

Scientific name: Magnolia x soulangiana 'Alexandrina'
Pronunciation: mag-NO-lee-uh x soo-lan-jee-AY-nuh
Common name(s): 'Alexandrina' saucer magnolia
Family: Magnoliaceae
Plant type: tree
USDA hardiness zones: 5 through 9A (Fig. 2)
Planting month for zone 7: year round
Planting month for zone 8: year round
Planting month for zone 9: year round
Origin: not native to North America
Uses: near a deck or patio; container or above-ground planter; espalier
Availability: generally available in many areas within its hardiness range

Figure 2. 

Shaded area represents potential planting range.

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]


Height: 20 to 25 feet
Spread: 15 to 25 feet
Plant habit: upright; round
Plant density: open
Growth rate: moderate
Texture: coarse


Leaf arrangement: alternate
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: undulate
Leaf shape: obovate
Leaf venation: pinnate
Leaf type and persistence: deciduous
Leaf blade length: 4 to 8 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: yellow
Fall characteristic: showy


Flower color: white; pink
Flower characteristic: spring flowering; summer flowering

Figure 3. 

Flower of 'Alexandrina' saucer magnolia

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]


Fruit shape: irregular
Fruit length: 1 to 3 inches
Fruit cover: dry or hard
Fruit color: red
Fruit characteristic: rarely fruits

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: no thorns; typically multi-trunked or clumping stems
Current year stem/twig color: brown
Current year stem/twig thickness: medium


Light requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sun
Soil tolerances: clay; sand; loam; acidic;
Drought tolerance: moderate
Soil salt tolerances: unknown
Plant spacing: 36 to 60 inches


Roots: usually not a problem
Winter interest: plant has winter interest due to unusual form, nice persistent fruits, showy winter trunk, or winter flowers
Outstanding plant: plant has outstanding ornamental features and could be planted more
Invasive potential: not known to be invasive
Pest resistance: long-term health usually not affected by pests

Use and Management

The tree is best used as a specimen in a sunny spot where it can develop a symmetrical crown. It develops an open canopy but flowers fine in a partially shaded spot. It can be pruned up if planted close to a walk or patio to allow for pedestrian clearance but probably looks its best when branches are left to droop to the ground. The light gray bark shows off nicely, particularly during the winter when the tree is bare.
Transplant in the spring, just before growth begins, and use balled and burlapped or containerized plants. Pruning wounds may not close well, so train plants early in their life to develop the desired form to avoid large pruning wounds.

Pests and Diseases

It is generally pest free, but scales of various types may infest twigs and foliage. Magnolia may be subject to leaf spots. Canker diseases will kill entire branches



This document is FPS-367, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at


Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.