One of the most popular deciduous Magnolias, Magnolia x soulangeana, or Saucer Magnolia, is a spreading tree or large shrub festooned with an incredible profusion of fragrant flowers in early to mid spring. Goblet-shaped, the large flowers, up to 10 in. across (25 cm), can be white, pink, purple or red-purple. As they mature, they gracefully open their large tepals, revealing white interiors. This creates a bicolor effect which further adds to the beauty of the floral display. The blooms appear on naked branches before the obovate mid-green leaves unfurl. The foliage turns golden brown in fall, before shedding to the ground and outlining the smooth silvery bark. Growing with an upright habit when young, Saucer Magnolia becomes more rounded and broad spreading with age and is often grown as a multi-trunked shrub.
Magnolia x soulangeana is a hybrid Magnolia resulting from a cross between Magnolia denudata and Magnolia liliiflora. It creates a very impressive scene in the garden and makes a wonderful specimen flowering shrub or small tree for the landscape. This is an excellent selection as a container plant and espalier. While very hardy, its blooms, like those of most early blooming Magnolias, are susceptible to late frosts.