Sun exposure:
Full shade
South facing, west facing
Position in border:
Back, middle


Acidic / Chalky / Alkaline / Well Drained / Light / Sandy

Bull bay, Magnolia grandiflora, is a large shrub or small tree. It makes a superb architectural specimen and gives year-round interest with enormous, glossy, evergreen leaves and huge exotic-looking summer flowers. Magnolia grandiflora tolerates hard pruning, can be trimmed to shape or trained against a vertical surface. Or simply grow as a free-standing tree where it will ultimately reach a height of around 10m.

Unlike many magnolias, Magnolia grandiflora will tolerate a wide range of soil types, but will do best in a moist but well-drained soil. It grows quite slowly so buy the biggest specimen you can afford.

Grow Magnolia grandiflora as a free-standing tree, either un-pruned or trimmed to a pyramidal shape, or train against a fence, wall, or vertical framework. In cold areas, train against a warm south- or west-facing wall where the ‘storage heater’ effect of the wall mitigates hard frosts. Feed annually, in early spring, with a general fertilizer, and prune in mid-spring if required. Mulch with compost in autumn.

More on growing magnolias:

Where to buy Magnolia grandiflora

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Buy your Magnolia grandiflora from a reputable source and check the leaves for signs of damage or disease before buying or, if buying online, planting.

Magnolia and wildlife

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

Is Magnolia poisonous?

Magnolia has no toxic effects reported.

No reported toxicity to:
Is not known to attract Birds
Is not known to attract Cats
Is not known to attract Dogs
Is not known to attract Horses
Is not known to attract Livestock
Is not known to attract People