Bull bay, Magnolia grandiflora

Magnolia grandiflora

Bull bay

  • Botanical name: Magnolia grandiflora
  • Common name: Bull bay
  • Family: Magnoliaceae
  • Plant Type: Shrub, Evergreen
Flower colour:


Foliage colour:


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.


How to grow Magnolia grandiflora

  • Plant size

    6m height

    2m spread

  • Aspect

    South facing, west facing

  • Position in border

    Middle, back

  • Sun exposure: Full shade
  • Hardiness: Half hardy
  • Soil type: Acidic / chalky / alkaline / well drained / light / sandy

Magnolia grandiflora and wildlife

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

Is Magnolia grandiflora poisonous?

Magnolia grandiflora 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