March's Gainesville Landscape Plant: 'Southern Charm' Magnolia

What makes this plant win the ‘Gainesville Landscape Plant of the Month’?

This Magnolia is a compact variety that is perfect for an accent plant or specimen for your Gainesville Landscape. It’s large leaves are glossy green on top and dark on bottom, and it is covered with blooms in the spring throughout the summer. Its large flowers are striking, larger than an average hand when open, and have a strong sweet fragrance.

How big do they grow?

Although the ‘Southern Charm’ is a dwarf variety, that is only when compared to its lineage of 30-40 ft tall trees. It typically tops out around 20’ height at maturity, making a beautiful large specimen tree for your lawn.

Where in the landscape do they grow best?

They prefer full sun and we typically design them inside of mulch beds rather than in the lawn. This is for two reasons, one being that the canopy of the tree typically hangs low and doesn’t allow enough sun for turf to grow under it. Reason two is the large leaves tend to fall throughout the year and can leave a lawn looking messy. However, leaves falling into mulch go almost completely unnoticed by the untrained eye, and leave the lawn neat and tidy.

What are their maintenance needs?

Besides cleaning up leaves that may blow into the lawn on stormy days, very little maintenance is required for these Florida Friendly trees.

Do any Gainesville lawn pests attack them?

The most common lawn insect that attacks Magnolias is the Magnolia scale. These insects have a tough outer shell, but pierce and suck the nutrients from the tree, slowly diminishing its health over time. Treatments with an organic insecticide soap or horticultural oil are sometimes effective, but the most effective treatment is a systemic treatment of insecticide that controls the insects when they uptake the tree's nutrients.

What seasons are they at their best?

The charm of this Magnolia is in the late spring when it sets its first blooms that continue throughout the season.