Sun exposure:
Full sun, partial shade
East facing, south facing, west facing
Position in border:
Back, middle


Prefers rich soil:
Acidic / Clay / Heavy / Moist

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

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 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 (Royal Horticultural Society) Award of Garden Merit.

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'

Plant calendar


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:
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
Plants that go well with Magnolia 'Nigra'