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Saucer Magnolia vs Jane Magnolia: What Is The Difference Between Them?

Before this post, I already created a whole series of comparative articles about magnolias and I have so much more to share with you. For that reason, today we are going to talk about two other wonderful plants, Saucer Magnolia and Jane Magnolia.

Saucer Magnolia is larger and grows more vigorously than Jane Magnolia which is an advantage of the first one. The Saucer Magnolia flowers are larger but the color is not very bright, while the Jane Magnolia has bright pink flowers of a smaller size.

The shape of Jen’s flower is more similar to that of a tulip, whereas Saucer Magnolia flowers are more like a saucer. As for climate, Saucer Magnolia is better suited for southern latitudes and Jane, on the other hand, is better in temperate climates.

Saucer Magnolia is also called Magnolia x soulangeana. It was obtained by crossing Magnolia liliiflora with Magnolia denudata in the first half of the 19th century. The result is a wonderful tree that has won the hearts of many gardeners around the world for 200 years.

Jane is a newer variety. It was obtained in the middle of the last century by crossing Magnolia liliiflora Nigra and Magnolia stellata Rosea. The result was a whole cohort of remarkable varieties, among which Jane occupies an honorable place.

What these magnolias have in common is that one of their parents was Magnolia liliiflora, although in the case of Jane it was a variety of that species. In other words, Saucer Magnolia is an interspecific hybrid, while Jane Magnolia is an intervarietal hybrid.

The other parent in these magnolias is different, hence they have different varietal characteristics about which we will talk today. Also please check the article about growing magnolias.

  Saucer Magnolia Jane Magnolia
Hardiness zone 4-9 4-8
Mature height 20 ft (6 m) 12-15 ft (3.6-4.5 m)
Mature width 25 ft (7.5 m) 8-10 ft (2.4-3 m)
Growth rate fast medium
Reblooming rare rare
Light exposure full sun, partial shade full sun, partial shade
Soil moist, drained moist, drained
Soil pH 6.2-7.0 6.4-7.3
Watering One time per week in a drought One time per week in a drought
Diseases fungus fungus
Pests insects insects
saucer magnolia vs jane magnolia

Saucer Magnolia vs Jane Magnolia

Blooming is different

Jane and Saucer’s Magnolia flowers have several differences, so let’s break them down in order.

They have different flower shapes

The first noticeable difference is the different shapes of the flowers. As I mentioned before, one of the precursors of Jane is Magnolia stellata. This species usually has narrow petals, and it is this quality that Jane has inherited to some extent. Its petals are narrower than those of Saucer Magnolia.

As a result, the petals are not fully opened but form a tulip-like flower shape.

At the same time Saucer Magnolia has wider petals and opens them almost completely. This gives the flowers a saucer-like shape, hence the name of this magnolia.

In this respect, Saucer Magnolia flowers look more voluminous and ornate, although this is a matter of personal preference.

Saucer Magnolia has larger flowers

Because of the different shapes of the flowers, their size also differs. The Jane flower is usually 4 inches across. At the same time, the Saucer Magnolia flower can reach up to 10 inches across but they are slightly smaller in height.

Jane has a brighter color of flowers

The next thing to mention here is the color. Both of these varieties have a white or grayish-cream center of the flower. But the outer part of the petals is different.

Saucer Magnolia has a light pink on the outside of the petals but the veins are more pronounced. Whereas Jane’s outer petals are bright pink and sometimes even reddish pink and are usually very bright. Jane has a clear advantage over her competitor when it comes to color.

The flowering period is different

And the last is the flowering time. Saucer Magnolia is an early flowering magnolia. Usually, flowers appear in early spring and sometimes even in February. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage because you can get flowers early but they can be damaged by spring frosts.

Jane, on the other hand, is a late-blooming magnolia. It blooms in late spring (May). For this reason, it is very rarely subject to frost damage.

Also, both of these varieties can sometimes rebloom. This is quite rare, but it does sometimes happen. The second time there are not as many flowers as usual and their color is not as bright as in the spring. A rebloom may occur in late summer or, in the case of Saucer Magnolia, even in winter.

Saucer Magnolia is bigger than Jane Magnolia

The shape of both of today’s competitors is about the same. They are oval-shaped trees more like a large bush. The difference here is their size.

Saucer Magnolia is larger than its competitor. It is over 25 feet tall while 20 feet wide. It is a large plant for which you will have to provide a significant amount of space in your yard.

Jane on the other hand is a more compact plant. It is usually no more than 15 feet tall and 10 feet wide. So, because of its smaller size, this variety will be a little easier to maintain.

Also, these trees have different growth rates. Saucer magnolia grows 1 to 2 feet a year, while Jane grows 1 foot at the most.

So if you have enough space and you like big trees, the Saucer Magnolia is a good choice. But if you like compact plants or have a small garden, then Jane Magnolia is a better choice.

Saucer Magnolia tolerates the heat better than Jane Magnolia

These magnolias are frost-resistant. They can be grown from the 4 USDA hardiness zone. As I mentioned, Jane has the advantage of late-blooming, which means it is not at risk of late frost damage. Whereas Saucer Magnolia blooms very early and can be damaged by low temperatures.

But on the other hand Saucer Magnolia is better in heat. It is confirmed that it can be grown in zone 9. Of course in such hot conditions, a little shade for at least a few hours a day will be beneficial to it. But in general, she will do well in a hot climate.

Jane, on the other hand, is recommended to grow no further south than zone 8. Otherwise, it will regularly receive leaf burns and may even die. Neither shade nor extra watering will help here.

The conclusion of this chapter is that if you live in the north, then Jane Magnolia is a better choice. But if you live in the south then Saucer Magnolia is the best option.

Saucer Magnolia has several varieties

One of the most significant advantages of Saucer Magnolia is that it has been the basis for a number of daughter varieties that have improved characteristics. If you compare these varieties with Jane Magnolia, you could write at least one more article. So I will tell you briefly about the most popular Magnolia soulangeana varieties.

The first is Magnolia soulangeana Alba Superba. It has a little worse hardiness, but the flowers are still big and beautiful. The size is just as big as the mother plant, it can easily reach a height of 20 feet. Overall, it is a worthy competitor to Jane Magnolia.

The second is Magnolia soulangeana Lennei. It is an even better version of Saucer Magnolia. Its flowers have a brighter red-pink color on the outside of the petals than Jane’s. The inside of the petals is snow-white, which creates a very dramatic bicolor effect. But unfortunately, as with the previous variety, it has the worst frost resistance (not north of zone 6).

And last on the list is Magnolia soulangeana Lilliputian. It is a variety that is the closest in size to Jane. It’s 12 feet tall and 8 feet wide, which means it’s even smaller than both of today’s competitors. The flowers are small (5 inches across), but they are a light pink color with pronounced pink veins on the petals. If you are looking for a compact magnolia then you should definitely consider Magnolia Lilliputian.


The first thing these two wonderful magnolias have in common is fragrance. Both have a fairly strong scent, which during flowering can be felt from quite a distance. Not all magnolias can boast of this, some species and varieties have a scent that is barely perceptible.

The next thing all magnolias need is enough light. If there is not enough light, the magnolia will not bloom and its crown will be loose. It should receive at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. In northern states, the more sun the better. In the south, some shade will be helpful.

Although magnolias can grow in almost any type of soil, you need to provide them with a nutritious and loose substrate to get great blooms. To do this, fill the hole halfway with good quality compost before planting and mix it with the native soil. This will be the best environment for the magnolia roots.

Watering is also important for both varieties, especially in the first year after planting. Water only in dry weather if the soil is more than an inch dry. After watering, the soil around the tree should be moist but there should not be a swamp. Otherwise, root rot can occur.

Flowering takes a lot of energy from magnolias. So you need to feed them to get good blooms next year. The first thing to do is to mulch the surface near the tree with compost. This prevents the soil from drying out quickly and provides organic fertilizer. It is also a good idea to put some slow-release fertilizer (NPK 10-10-10) in the soil. One fertilizer per year is enough.