Native to Southwest China, the Magnolia Liliflora is a small tree that sprouts cup-shaped pink/purple flowers. It can reach between 8 and 12 feet in height and is likely to span just as wide.
It is like many other plants, is most likely to bloom in the spring months, between April and May, depending on the temperatures in your area around that time. So, it is a slow-growing tree, taking approximately 10 to 15 years to reach its full size. So it’s unlikely to take over your garden at any point. However, you should set aside a large area for the small tree to grow into as it will be quite large once its matured.
Caring for the Lily Magnolia
The tree can only be kept outside, due to its complex root network and large size. It would not be accommodated using a container or pot.
Positioning your Lily Magnolia is important, as it needs a decent amount of light and the correct soil requirements. Position your Magnolia Liliflora somewhere it’ll be protected from winds and cold temperatures.
Full sunlight is best for the lily magnolia; however, the tree will still grow in areas of partial shade. Do not plant this shrub somewhere where it has no access to light, it will simply not grow, and its health will decline rapidly. Six to eight hours of light per day is what you should be aiming for.
Regular watering is required during the first couple of years; however, this can be cut back after the shrub has settled in. After being established, most owners just let rainfall do its thing, but if you live in a particularly dry area, consider watering your shrub around once a week to ensure it is drinking enough.
Fertilizers can be used during the blooming season but should not be used in the first few years after planting. Apply a slow-release liquid fertilizer with a balanced ratio if you insist on feeding and do this annually around spring.
Rich, slightly acidic, well-draining soils are the best for the lily magnolia. The soil should be high in nutrients and if lacking, should be adjusted with compost or peat moss before you begin the planting process.
You can add mulch to the base of the shrub to ensure that it’s not exposed to fluctuating temperatures and is maximizing the moisture provided. When originally planted, thoroughly water until the soil is left moist on top.
Higher heat may cause the buds to open early. However, colder temperatures will not go down well with your Magnolia Liliflora. The cold will attack the plant and damage its flowers, leaves, and branches. It will take a long time for your lily magnolia to recover from the cold. So, it can be prevented from these conditions in the first place is your best bet.
Propagating via seeds or cuttings can both be successful forms of propagation. Cuttings should be 6-8 inches long and should be made in early summer. Remove the leaves from the upper part of the cutting and make a cut into the stem’s end around 2 inches long before dipping the end into a rooting hormone.
The cutting should then be placed into a container with perlite. Then, place it in a bright area out of direct sun rays. Monitor the cuttings, making sure to keep them moist and wait until a root network can be seen. After this, they can be planted on their own and cared for like the original.
You will not need to prune your Magnolia Liliflora unless you notice dead or broken branches, or your shrub is exceeding the space provided.
Generally, this tree will not respond happily to pruning, so it should only be done if really necessary. If you need to prune your lily magnolia, do so straight after it blooms. If you wait too long, you can hinder the shrub’s ability to flower in the future.
The best thing about these small trees are that they are very unproblematic. They are susceptible to a few common pests and diseases, but none are life-threatening, and most can be dealt with quickly and easily.
Therefore, the Magnolia Liliflora is a great plant to invest in if you want a long-term addition to the garden. It won’t need a huge amount of assistance throughout its life. It will often just stand there, looking pretty and fending for itself.
However, if you do encounter minor problems the lily magnolia is vulnerable to it’s likely to be one of the following things.
Magnolia scale insects can appear on the trunk and branches of the tree, and they will suck the sap out of the stems. This is not a life-threatening issue but can damage your tree in the long run. If you notice these small pests appear on your tree you can use horticultural oil. This will help to fight off the scale insects and attract ladybugs to the area, who commonly feed on scale insects.
Powdery mildew may also appear if you’re unlucky and is usually a sign that your shrub is exposed to overly humid conditions. Powdery mildew is a fungal infection that creates white dust on the leaves of the plant if not treated. Early signs include spotting on the leaves and yellowing. Pruning your lily magnolia to help with air circulation may help reduce the chance of experiencing fungal disease. However, this should only be done if your shrub is very overcrowded. Misting the leaves may also help to prevent spores from settling on the leaves and accumulating to mildew.
The Magnolia Liliflora, or Lily Magnolia is a brilliant shrub for those with a big garden space and busy schedules. It needs very little attention after it has settled in and is unlikely to cause many issues throughout its long life.
There are very few negatives to this plant – we recommend it as one of the best-looking and easily managed trees out there!
Elyssa Goins is a gardener, beekeeper, and a proud mom of four. She is a member of the American Horticultural Society, has been published in a Scientific Journal, and loves to talk about her love of plants. For the past twenty years, she’s been all about growing and caring for various fruits, veggies, herbs, livestock, kids, and houseplants. Managing a big garden to feed four growing kids and raising dairy goats has taught her so much about being an excellent plant parent and now is her time to share with you.