Chinese magnolia (Magnolia Liliiflora Nigra) flowers. Getty Images

Magnolia liliiflora ‘Nigra’

Black lily magnolia

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flowers
Flowers

Plant does not flower in January

Plant does not flower in February

Plant does not flower in March

Plant does not flower in April

Plant does flower in May

Plant does flower in June

Plant does not flower in July

Plant does not flower in August

Plant does not flower in September

Plant does not flower in October

Plant does not flower in November

Plant does not flower in December

  • Botanical name: Magnolia liliiflora 'Nigra'
  • Common name: Black lily magnolia
  • Plant Type: Shrub, Tree, Deciduous
Flower colour:

Purple

Foliage colour:

Green

Magnolia liliiflora ‘Nigra’, the black lily magnolia, is a beautiful shrub that eventually becomes a small, multi-stemmed tree. It’s grown for its sumptuous, large, tulip-shaped flowers that are deep purple-red on the outside, paler on the inside. They appear later than most magnolias – mostly in late spring and early summer, then sporadically through to early autumn. 

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As Magnolia liliiflora ‘Nigra’ only reaches around 4m x 2.5m, it is suitable for a smaller garden. Unlike many magnolias, it’s deciduous. 

Grow Magnolia liliiflora ‘Nigra’ in a sun or partial shade, sheltered from strong winds. Magnolias do best in moist but well-drained, neutral to acid soil. When planting, add plenty of well rotted manure or garden compost to the planting hole, then add a mulch of rotted bark chips or manure, leaf mould or garden compost afterwards. Continue to mulch each spring and keep well watered until established.

Late frosts may damage flower buds, so cover the plant with fleece if possible if low temperatures are forecast. Magnolia liliiflora ‘Nigra’ does not need pruning – trim to maintain its shape or remove any broken or crossing branches in midsummer.

Magnolia liliiflora ‘Nigra’ holds the prestigious RHS Award of Garden Merit.

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Read our detailed guide to growing magnolias.

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Advice on buying Magnolia liliiflora ‘Nigra’

  • Make sure you have the right conditions for growing Magnolia liliiflora ‘Nigra’ – it needs moist, neutral to acidic soil and shelter from strong winds
  • You may find Magnolia liliiflora ‘Nigra’ at the garden centre, but it’s most likely to be available at a specialist tree nursery or online

Where to buy Magnolia liliiflora ‘Nigra’

How to grow Magnolia 'Nigra'

  • Plant size

    4m height

    2.5m spread

  • Aspect

    South facing, east facing, west facing

  • Position in border

    Middle, back

  • Sun exposure: Full sun, partial shade
  • Hardiness: Hardy
  • Soil type: Acidic / clay / heavy / moist

Plant calendar

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flowers
Flowers

Plant does not flower in January

Plant does not flower in February

Plant does not flower in March

Plant does not flower in April

Plant does flower in May

Plant does flower in June

Plant does not flower in July

Plant does not flower in August

Plant does not flower in September

Plant does not flower in October

Plant does not flower in November

Plant does not flower in December

Magnolia 'Nigra' and wildlife

Magnolia 'Nigra' has no particular known value to wildlife in the UK.

Is Magnolia 'Nigra' poisonous?

Magnolia 'Nigra' has no toxic effects reported.

No reported toxicity to:

No reported toxicity to Birds

No reported toxicity to Cats

No reported toxicity to Dogs

No reported toxicity to Horses

No reported toxicity to Livestock

No reported toxicity to People

Plants that go well with Magnolia 'Nigra'