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Magnolia x soulangeana 'Burgundy': 'Burgundy' Saucer Magnolia

Edward F. Gilman, Dennis G. Watson, Ryan W. Klein, and Deborah R. Hilbert


Saucer magnolia is a multi-stemmed, spreading tree, 25 feet tall with a 20- to 30-foot spread and bright, attractive, gray bark. Growth rate is moderately fast but slows down considerably as the tree reaches about 20-years of age. Young trees are distinctly upright, becoming more oval than round by 10-years-old. Large, fuzzy, green flower buds are carried through the winter at the tips of brittle branches. The blooms open in late winter to early spring before the leaves, producing large, deep-purple flowers, creating a spectacular flower display. This will be a very popular cultivar once the general public finds out about it. However, a late frost can often ruin the flowers in all areas where it is grown. This can be incredibly disappointing since you wait 51 weeks for the flowers to appear. 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 flower. ‘Burgundy' is an early flowering selection.

Middle-aged Magnolia x soulangeana 'Burgundy': 'Burgundy' saucer magnolia.
Figure 1. Middle-aged Magnolia x soulangeana 'Burgundy': 'Burgundy' saucer magnolia.
Credit: UF/IFAS

General Information

Scientific name: Magnolia x soulangeana

Pronunciation: mag-NO-lee-uh x soo-lan-jee-AY-nuh

Common name(s): 'Burgundy' saucer magnolia

Family: Magnoliaceae

USDA hardiness zones: 4B through 9A (Figure 2)

Origin: not native to North America

Invasive potential: not assessed/incomplete assessment

Uses: specimen; deck or patio; container or planter; espalier; shade

Figure 2. Range.
Credit: UF/IFAS


Height: 20 to 25 feet

Spread: 20 to 30 feet

Crown uniformity: irregular

Crown shape: upright/erect, round

Crown density: open

Growth rate: moderate

Texture: coarse


Leaf arrangement: alternate (Figure 3)

Leaf type: simple

Leaf margin: entire

Leaf shape: obovate, oblong

Leaf venation: pinnate, brachidodrome

Leaf type and persistence: deciduous

Leaf blade length: 2 to 4 inches, 4 to 8 inches

Leaf color: green

Fall color: yellow

Fall characteristic: showy

Figure 3. Foliage.
Credit: UF/IFAS


Flower color: purple

Flower characteristics: very showy

Figure 4. Flower.
Credit: UF/IFAS


Fruit shape: elongated, irregular

Fruit length: 1 to 3 inches

Fruit covering: dry or hard

Fruit color: red

Fruit characteristics: does not attract wildlife; not showy; fruit/leaves not a litter problem

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: branches droop; showy; typically multi-trunked; thorns

Pruning requirement: little required

Breakage: resistant

Current year twig color: brown

Current year twig thickness: medium

Wood specific gravity: unknown


Light requirement: full sun, partial sun, or partial shade

Soil tolerances: sand; loam; clay; acidic; well-drained

Drought tolerance: moderate

Aerosol salt tolerance: none


Roots: not a problem

Winter interest: yes

Outstanding tree: yes

Ozone sensitivity: unknown

Verticillium wilt susceptibility: susceptible

Pest resistance: resistant to pests/diseases

Use and Management

The tree is best used as a specimen in a sunny spot where it can develop a symmetrical crown. 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.

Saucer magnolia grows best in a sunny location in rich, moist but porous soil. It will tolerate poor drainage for only a short period of time. Growth will be thin and leggy in a shaded spot but acceptable in part shade. Saucer magnolia dislikes dry or alkaline soil but will otherwise grow very well in the city. Transplant in the spring, just before growth begins, and use balled and burlapped or containerized plants. Older plants do not like to be pruned and large wounds may not close well. Train plants early in their life to develop the desired form.

Some saucer magnolia cultivars will be hard to find: ‘Alba'—flowers almost white; ‘Alexandrina'—flowers almost white; ‘Amabalis'—flowers white; ‘Andre LeRoy'—flowers dark pink to purplish outside, cup shaped; ‘Brozzonii'—flowers white shaded with purple; ‘Grace McDade'—flowers white with pink at the petal bases; ‘Lennei'—flowers rosy purple outside, white flushed with purple inside, flowers large, blooms later; ‘Lilliputian'—slow grower to 10 to 15 feet tall; ‘Lombardy Rose'—similar to Lennei except flowers continue to open for several weeks; ‘Niemetzi'—upright growth; ‘Rubra'—(‘Rustica', ‘Rustica Rubra')—similar to ‘Lennei'; ‘San Jose'—large flowers nearly as dark as ‘Lennei'; ‘Speciosa'—similar to ‘Alba' but it is last of the cultivars to bloom, a tall, upright, fast-growing tree; ‘Spectabilis'—flowers almost white; ‘Verbanica'—flowers clear rose pink outside, late blooming, slow-growing to 10 feet tall.


It is generally pest free. Scales of various types may infest twigs. Magnolia scale is the most common scale and can be one half-inch-across. Overwintering scales are usually controlled with horticultural oil.

Tulip-poplar weevil (sassafras weevil) feeds as a leaf miner when young and chews holes in the leaves as an adult.


It is generally disease free. Magnolia may be subject to leaf spots caused by bacteria or a large number of fungi. Leaf spots rarely require chemical controls. Rake up and dispose of infected leaves.

Canker diseases will kill branches. Cankers on branches can be pruned out. Keep trees healthy with regular fertilization and by watering in dry weather.

Verticillium wilt may cause death of a few branches or may kill the tree. Prune out dead branches and fertilize with high nitrogen fertilizer.

Publication #ENH-547

Release Date:April 15, 2024

Related Collections

Part of Southern Trees Fact Sheets

Related Topics

  • Critical Issue: 1. Agricultural and Horticultural Enterprises
Organism ID

About this Publication

This document is ENH-547, one of a series of the Department of Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date November 1993. Revised December 2006 and March 2024. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication.

About the Authors

Edward F. Gilman, professor emeritus; Dennis G. Watson, former associate professor, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering; Ryan W. Klein, assistant professor, arboriculture; and Deborah R. Hilbert, UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center; Department of Environmental Horticulture; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


  • Michael Andreu
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