The Magnolia x soulangeana is a cultivated hybrid; as such it does not have a natural range of distribution. It prefers rich soil with organic matter and is capable of growing in acidic, moist, sandy, clay, and well-drained soils. The tree requires consistent sun exposure and moisture in order to flourish. The tree exhibits some drought resistance and is relatively tolerant to wind and alkaline soils.
Origin, history, and uses:
It was created in the 1820s in France by hybridizing the Magnolia denudata (Yulan magnolia) and the Magnolia liliiflora (Magnolia denudata) - both of which originate from China. The hybrid was cultivated in England, other parts of Western Europe, and North America; primarily for botanical purposes as its large and fragrant flowers add beauty and its generous canopy adds shade to gardens.
The saucer magnolia is a common indicator plant for early spring events. Pink bud, early bloom, full bloom, past bloom, and petal drop are some of the discrete events of the saucer magnolia that can be associated with an array of landscape insect pests. In the Northeast, April is also when migratory birds begin to return - like robins and red-winged blackbirds - or pass over while heading further north - such as scoters and gannets. This time of April is also when shad begin to run in the Connecticut River, which local fishers (human and animal!) await in the winter.