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Saucer Magnolia vs Jane Magnolia: What Is The Difference?

Hello everyone! Today, let’s dive into the world of two amazing plants: the Saucer Magnolia and the Jane Magnolia.

The Saucer Magnolia and Jane Magnolia are both stunning, but they have distinct differences. The Saucer Magnolia, known for its large, saucer-shaped flowers, typically blooms in shades of pink and white. It grows into a larger tree and its blossoms appear before the leaves, making a striking display in early spring.

On the other hand, the Jane Magnolia, part of the ‘Little Girl’ series, is smaller in stature and ideal for limited spaces. Its flowers are tulip-shaped and usually a deep purple-pink color. The Jane Magnolia blooms a bit later, reducing the risk of frost damage to its blossoms.

saucer magnolia vs jane magnolia

Saucer Magnolia vs Jane Magnolia

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

Blooming

Let’s go through the differences between the flowers of Jane and Saucer Magnolias, one by one.

Flower shape

The most obvious difference lies in the shape of their flowers. Jane Magnolia, influenced by its ancestor Magnolia stellata, features somewhat narrower petals. This trait from Magnolia stellata means Jane’s petals are slimmer compared to those of the Saucer Magnolia, resulting in a tulip-like shape as they don’t open fully.

In contrast, the Saucer Magnolia has broader petals that open almost completely, creating a saucer-like appearance, which is how it got its name.

Flower size

The distinct shapes of their flowers lead to a difference in size as well. Typically, a Jane Magnolia flower measures about 4 inches in diameter. In contrast, the Saucer Magnolia’s flower can span up to 10 inches across, although it tends to be a bit shorter in height.

Color

Another key aspect to consider is the color. Both varieties feature a white or grayish-cream center. However, the outer petals differ significantly.

The Saucer Magnolia displays a soft pink on the outside of its petals, with more prominent veins. In contrast, the Jane Magnolia’s outer petals are a vibrant pink, sometimes even bordering on reddish-pink, and they typically appear quite bright. In terms of color vibrancy, Jane Magnolia often has a noticeable edge over the Saucer Magnolia.

Flowering period

Lastly, let’s talk about their flowering times. The Saucer Magnolia is known for its early blooming, often unfurling its flowers in early spring, sometimes as early as February. This early bloom can be both a boon and a drawback; you get to enjoy early flowers, but they’re also at risk of being damaged by late spring frosts.

Jane Magnolia, in contrast, blooms later in the season, usually in late spring around May. This later blooming schedule generally safeguards it from frost damage.

Read also: Growing Magnolias

Size

Today’s focus is on two similar-shaped trees: both are oval, but they differ in size.

The Saucer Magnolia is the larger of the two. It can reach over 25 feet in height and spread to about 20 feet wide. This makes it a sizable tree that requires ample space in your garden.

On the other hand, Jane Magnolia is more compact, typically growing no more than 15 feet tall and 10 feet wide. Its smaller stature makes it easier to maintain and a suitable choice for smaller spaces.

Additionally, their growth rates differ. The Saucer Magnolia grows at a rate of 1 to 2 feet per year, while Jane Magnolia’s growth is more modest, at most 1 foot per year.

Therefore, if you have the space and prefer larger trees, Saucer Magnolia is a great option. But if you’re dealing with limited space or favor more compact plants, Jane Magnolia would be a more fitting choice.

Heat Tolerance

Both of these magnolias are frost-resistant and can thrive starting from USDA hardiness zone 4. Jane Magnolia has the advantage of blooming late, which typically protects it from late frost damage. In contrast, the Saucer Magnolia blooms quite early and can suffer from low temperature damage.

However, when it comes to handling heat, the Saucer Magnolia has the upper hand. It’s known to grow well in zone 9. In such hot climates, providing a bit of shade for a few hours daily is beneficial, but overall, it adapts well to warmer conditions.

Jane Magnolia is best suited to regions no further south than zone 8. In hotter areas, it’s prone to leaf burns and can even face the risk of dying. In these conditions, neither shade nor extra watering tends to be effective in mitigating the heat stress.

Origin

The Saucer Magnolia, also known as Magnolia x soulangeana, is a hybrid created in the early 19th century by crossing Magnolia liliiflora with Magnolia denudata. This beautiful tree has been a favorite among gardeners worldwide for over 200 years.

Jane Magnolia, a more recent creation, emerged in the mid-20th century from the crossing of Magnolia liliiflora Nigra and Magnolia stellata Rosea. This crossbreeding led to a range of impressive varieties, with Jane being a standout among them.

A common thread between these magnolias is Magnolia liliiflora, which serves as a parent for both. The Saucer Magnolia is classified as an interspecific hybrid, while the Jane Magnolia is considered an intervarietal hybrid.

Varieties

The Saucer Magnolia stands out for its role in creating several daughter varieties with enhanced characteristics. Let me introduce you to some of the most popular Magnolia soulangeana varieties.

First up is Magnolia soulangeana Alba Superba. While its hardiness is slightly less robust, it boasts large, stunning flowers. Matching its parent in size, it can reach up to 20 feet tall, making it a solid alternative to Jane Magnolia.

Next is Magnolia soulangeana Lennei, an improved version of the Saucer Magnolia. Its flowers feature a striking red-pink color on the outer petals, more vivid than Jane’s, with snow-white inner petals for a dramatic bicolor effect. However, like Alba Superba, its frost resistance is lower, suitable for no colder than zone 6.

Lastly, we have Magnolia soulangeana Lilliputian, the most similar in size to Jane Magnolia. It grows to about 12 feet tall and 8 feet wide, making it even smaller than both main competitors. Its flowers are modestly sized at 5 inches across, colored in light pink with distinct pink veins. For those seeking a compact magnolia, Magnolia Lilliputian is definitely worth considering.