Jane Magnolia Tree: Petite Tree With Huge Fragrant Blooms

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In your garden or front lawn, the magnificent magnolia trees create a striking impression with their beautiful and sprawling blooms, as well as their broad branches.

Some magnolia hybrids, such as the ‘Jane’ variety, are smaller deciduous versions of the colossal Southern magnolia trees. So what is there to know about the Jane magnolia tree?

The magnolia ‘Jane’ tree is a cross between the Waterlily (Magnolia liliflora) and ‘Reflorescens’ (M. stellata) varieties of magnolia and was created at the National Arboretum in the mid-1950s as part of the Little Girl series. These trees are hardy and low-branched with pleasing rounded canopies.

On top of this, Jane magnolia trees have flowers that are every bit as bright and bountiful as their large counterparts with stunning foliage changes and beautiful bark to enjoy in the colder months.

Keep reading to learn why this magnolia is prized, how to plant and care for one, and much more.

A Jane magnolia can be a gorgeous addition to your landscape, but before you make a final decision, be sure to check out all the other popular varieties in my comprehensive guide, Magnolia Types and Varieties.

Jane Magnolia Trees at a Glance

‘Jane’ is a rich and colorful late-blooming variety of magnolia trees. The late bloom time makes it less susceptible to frost damage.

These abundant hardy blooms make this tree a hit with growers across the US, particularly in the cooler climates.

Let’s learn a bit more about this stunning flowering tree from its seasonal interest and life span to whether or not you can grow them in pots.

Botanical nameMagnolia liliflora ‘Reflorescens’ x stellate ‘Waterlily’
Mature height10-15 ft.
Mature width6-10 ft.
Growth rateSlow
Light preferencesFull sun to partial shade
Ideal soilLoamy/sandy, slightly acidic & high in organic matter
Watering needs2-3 times weekly during first season, thorough soak during drought spells
FertilizationSlow-release acid-loving plant feed or mulch in spring every 2 years
Bloom timeMid-April to early May, second flush in summer
Bloom color & fragranceBurgundy-purple to pink and white with subtle fruit scent
Fall foliageGolden-yellow and bronze/copper

General Appearance

Jane magnolia is a compact shrub or small tree that produces large pink and purple blossoms. It also features long leathery leaves and contrasting light-gray bark.

Seasonal Beauty

The tulip-shaped flowers on Jane magnolia open up in a star-shaped formation once in full bloom, and these last long into spring and the start of summer, morphing from purple to pink and eventually white.

This is followed by the sight of the glossy and leathery-textured dark-green leaves changing gradually to tones of copper and gold around mid-fall.

As the foliage and flowers fall, winter reveals a neat and attractive rounded canopy with fuzzy flower buds on the tips of the bare branches ready for next season and smooth gray, almost silvery, bark.

Growth Rate & Mature Size

This tree has a fairly slow growth rate, achieving about one foot each year. At maturity, it will reach about 10-15 feet tall and 6-10 feet wide.

Can You Grow Jane Magnolias in Pots?

Absolutely! Jane magnolias’ compact habit makes them a great choice for container growing! Be sure to choose a pot at least 18 inches wide and deep (or about 10 times the expected size of the trunk at maturity).

Use a high-quality potting mix that is slightly acidic and high in organic matter.

Leave at least 6 inches at the pot surface for adding mulch as pot-grown magnolias will dry out faster and need all the moisture and root protection they can get.

Blooms

Jane magnolia’s tulip-shaped flowers have a faintly fruity scent and are a deep burgundy-purple or reddish-purple when closed before changing to a vibrant pink when fully open with centers that are white on the inside.

Flowers can be 8 inches wide in full bloom, and flowers bloom typically in late spring around mid-April to early May. Blooming can last up to 4 weeks — sometimes with a repeat flush in summer!

Leaves and Fall Foliage

As the leaves emerge in spring, they can have a pale green to copper-red tint. By summer, the large oval leaves turn dark green.

By early fall (mid-October), the canopy turns yellow and bronze or copper. As it is a deciduous tree, the leaves will soon turn brown and fall before winter takes hold.

Life Expectancy

With great care, magnolia Jane can live up to 50 years or more, consistently putting on a late-spring flower show, providing pretty leaves in summer, and gracing your yard with yellow and bronze in fall year after year.

Jane Magnolia Tree Growing Conditions

While a hardy variety, the Jane magnolia tree will grow best in certain Growing Zones, soil, and sunlight conditions. Let’s find out what their ideal environment entails below.

Hardiness Zones

Jane magnolia trees grow well in USDA zones 4 through 8 (not counting the hottest regions of Florida, Texas, and California), and they can survive impressive winter temperatures of minus 30°F, which means that they are quite cold hardy.

Sun Requirements

These hybrid magnolias can grow well in full sun to part shade depending on their climate.

Prevent sun scald and premature bud blooming by planting your Jane magnolia in part shade in warm southern regions, and always ensure the tree receives full sun in cooler areas.

Soil Preferences

Jane magnolia adapts well to most soil types but cannot tolerate soggy, poor-draining mediums.

For best results, opt for neutral to slightly acidic loamy or sandy well-drained soil, and enrich the planting hole with a good amount of organically rich matter beforehand (compost, shredded bark, well-rotted manure, etc).

How To Plant a Jane Magnolia Tree

  1. Moisten the soil inside the nursery pot for easier removal as the fleshy roots can be quite fragile, and gently coax the root ball out of the container.
  2. Dig a hole equal in depth to the root ball and at least 3 times as wide, and amend with organic matter. Carefully loosen the dirt around the roots.
  3. Place the tree root ball into the hole, and backfill about halfway full with soil. Give the roots a thorough soak.
  4. Allow the water to drain fully before filling in the rest of the soil, and lightly tamp the soil down by hand.

To accommodate Jane magnolia’s large foliage and softwood structure, consider offering wind protection if planting in Northern climates.

How To Care for Jane Magnolia 

Once planted in your green space, help your Jane magnolia tree flourish for years to come by getting to know its long-term care and maintenance needs.

Let’s take a look at the preferred watering, feeding, and pruning regimen for this variety.

Watering

You’ll need to water your Jane magnolia 2-3 times per week in its first year to encourage strong roots.

Once established, it’s important to keep the soil moist but not soggy, so check the top 4 inches when you think it’s time to water, and provide deep supplementary water during long hot spells.

Fertilization

Wait until the second growing season to fertilize your Jane magnolia and provide a slow-release feed in spring every couple of years.

You can use fertilizer for acid-loving plants (this one is excellent), or add a 2-3 inch layer of mulch (compost, lawn clippings, etc.) around the roots to deliver a natural slow-drip of nutrients.

Espoma Organic Tree-Tone 6-3-2 | Organic Fruit Tree Fertilizer


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Pruning

Pruning should be done minimally to avoid bleeding sap and stressing out the buds before they bloom whether you’re growing them as trees or shrubs.

In early spring or winter when the tree is dormant, prune out any dead, broken, or diseased branches using sharp, clean pruning shears to maintain a strong frame.

You can also routinely remove any weeds to keep things neat and prevent overcrowding at the base.

Pests, Diseases & Common Problems With Magnolia Jane 

Under poor conditions, this hardy variety can be troubled by snails, weevils, and small sap-sucking bugs like scale and thrips.

Tackle these insect problems with a spray of horticultural oil around the tree, and prune any badly affected foliage.

When the canopy is too crowded and moist, fungal disease problems include leaf spot and powdery mildew.

Prevent these by checking for and pruning out any branches that touch or cross each other, and apply a copper fungicide spray (find it here) to the affected leaves.

Captain Jack's Copper Fungicide, 16oz


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Other problems you might face with your Jane magnolia are wilting and browning leaves when soil conditions are persistently dry.

The large leaves and blooms can also mean a messy lawn once they drop, so be sure to clear away leaf and flower debris as you spot it since the decay can invite pests and disease.

A pair of Jane magnolia flowers up close with more in the background.

Propagating Magnolia ‘Jane’

Jane magnolia trees are sterile, so they don’t produce seeds for replanting. You can, however, grow new magnolia plants by taking cuttings.

  1. Take a 4 to 6-inch stem section of new growth with sharp pruning shears, preferably taking the cutting in the early morning to reduce moisture loss.
  2. Dip the severed end into root-stimulating hormone powder (I use this one), and quickly plant the new cutting in a 5-6 inch nursery pot filled with moist general-purpose potting soil.
  3. Water well and keep the cutting in a humidity cloche out of direct sunlight. Mist the soil occasionally to maintain moist conditions. Roots should begin to form within 6-8 weeks.

Landscape Ideas

Its rounded canopy and shrub-like form make Jane magnolias a great choice as focal specimens in your garden or front yard, but their compact habit can mean they are equally stunning when planted in rows of 3-4 as a hedge!

Companion Plants

There are many gorgeous flowering plants to pair with your Jane magnolia tree that cope well in the partial shade beneath the canopy. Plus, they can help bring pollinating pals to your garden!

Here are some of the best to choose from:

  • Hydrangeas
  • Peace lilies
  • Camellias
  • Blue ginger
  • Clivias
  • Cala lilies
  • Dwarf irises
  • Elephant ears
  • Daffodils
  • Bluebells

Where To Buy Magnolia ‘Jane’

This pretty magnolia hybrid is available at many online nurseries, and most retailers will ship to your region within days.

The following nurseries are committed to careful delivery methods to minimize damage, which is crucial for magnolia varieties like Jane with its delicate fleshy root system.

Related Questions:

How Far To Plant Jane Magnolia Tree From House?

As a relatively small, non-invasive variety, Jane magnolia trees may be planted close to your home or fence line.

The roots typically spread up to 6 feet from the trunk, but as the branches can spread quite far, a planting space of at least 13 feet from your home or nearest building structure is advised.

How To Get Magnolia ‘Jane’ To Bloom?

Jane magnolia trees can bloom if they live in moist soil and are not subject to drought stress.

In addition to supplementary irrigation during high heat, encourage this tree to bloom by using slow-release fertilizer in early spring, and practice minimal pruning (dead branches and only after flowering).

Closing Thoughts

To sum up, the magnolia ‘Jane’ is a low-maintenance and compact shrub-like tree, making it ideal for modest garden spaces.

This petite, hardy magnolia blooms beautifully and reliably and is tolerant of most soil types, and it can even grow well in pots.

Just be sure to prune minimally to prevent disappointing blooms and keep the soil moist to prevent a lot of the stress that contributes to foliage issues and disease.

If you’re impressed by the Jane magnolia, be sure to check out these stunning beauties next: