Anne of Green Gardens

Flowering Tree: Tulip Tree

Magnolia blossoms blogpostEvery time I pass the saucer magnolia (Magnolia x soulangeana) outside my house, I have to stop and admire its splendor. During most of the year, this tree blends into the background, but in mid-to late winter or spring (depending on your climate) it produces a riot of gorgeous, purplish pink flowers that look like tulips, which is why it’s also known as “the tulip tree.”

This flowering tree literally “pops” with color because instead of producing its leaves first like most deciduous trees, it produces flower buds that bloom alone. The saucer magnolia (Magnolia X soulangeana) makes a great shade tree that does well in lawn. If you’ve always wanted one for your yard, now is the time to plant! (actually, anytime of year is fine, but why not do it now while you are still inspired?)

One thing to note is that although this tree is sometimes referred to as a tulip tree, there is another tree called by the same common name. To avoid confusion, it’s best to refer to the saucer magnolia by that name. The true tulip tree is Liriodendron tulipifera and is a much larger tree that has tulip-shaped leaves with big yellow blossoms. Also, there is yet another type of magnolia that is in the magnolia genus that is an evergreen tree that has glossy leaves, white flowers and red cones.

USDA Zones: 4-9
Height: 20-30′
Width: 25′
Sun/Shade: Full Sun
Water Requirements: Regular water.
Pruning: Prune for shape after flowering, major pruning in dormant season.



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