Anise Magnolia

How to Grow and Care for Anise Magnolia: 4 Simple Steps

If you want to know how to grow and care for anise magnolia then you are at the right place. On the other hand, some magnolia species within a genus known for their beauty can take your breath away, while others make you want to breathe it all in. Magnolia salicifolia, also known as anise magnolia, does both. It is a small deciduous tree with willow-like leaves thinner than those of a typical magnolia, and it has spectacular six-sided white flowers with a pink tinge that bloom in early spring before the leaves unfurl. 

The flowers’ appearance is impressive, but their anise-lemon scent is equally enticing. When scratched, the bark will also release the fragrance. Anise magnolia bears fruit in late summer, which ripens into startling red seed pots that contrast with the dark green leaves. The foliage turns a brilliant golden yellow in the fall. Before falling, the foliage turns a brilliant golden yellow.

Anise magnolia, like other deciduous species in the genus, is typically planted in late fall in warmer climates and early spring in colder climates. It is typically sold as a container-grown or ball-and-burlap tree, with a moderate growth rate of 1 to 2 feet per year, though it will slow significantly after 5 to 6 years.

So let’s know how to grow and care for anise magnolia. 

Different Varieties of Anise Magnolia 

There are several cultivars of the anise magnolia, which have been used to parent many hybrid magnolias. Here are a few popular options:

  • ‘Else Frye’ has large white flowers that are 6 inches across.
  • ‘Lufer’ has pure white star-shaped flowers with red tips.
  • ‘Kochanakee’ has large fragrant flowers and a pyramidal shape.
  • The symmetrical pyramidal form of the ‘Memorial Garden‘ is adorned with white flowers.
  • ‘Miss Jack’ is a larger, faster-growing tree with thousands of flowers.
  • The flowers on ‘WB Clarke’ are larger, and the leaves are thicker and more heavily veined.
  • Magnolia x kewensis ‘Wada’s Memory’ is a popular hybrid form. 

It is a fast-growing variety with bronze foliage in the spring that changes to green in the summer and bright yellow in the fall. It also has a weaker scent.

How to Care for Anise Magnolia: Easy Way

Anise magnolia trees are relatively simple to grow. The main concern is finding a suitable location that is wind-protected and has moist soil with adequate drainage.

Dig a hole twice the width and depth of your tree’s root ball or container. Remove the tree from its burlap or container gently and place it in the hole, keeping it upright as you fill it and compress the soil. The top of the root ball should be level with or slightly higher than the surrounding ground. Mulch lightly to a depth of 3 inches from the tree’s drip line, ensuring no mulch touches the tree’s trunk.

If the tree is far from a water source, build a berm around the mulch to keep water and moisture in, and thoroughly soak the tree. For the first year, water your magnolia regularly until it is established.

1. Light

If you water it regularly or place it in an area with rich, moist soil, your anise magnolia can tolerate full sun. Plant it in a spot that receives partial shade if the soil is not particularly moist.

2. Soil 

This tree prefers moist, slightly acidic soil, but it must have excellent drainage. Before planting, determine the porosity of the soil.

To accomplish this: In the planting area, dig a hole 12 inches wide by 12 inches deep. Fill the hole with water and drain it. Then, after it has drained, refill it with water and how long it takes to drain. Water will drain at a rate of about 1 inch per hour in well-drained soil. A faster rate, such as in loose, sandy soil, could indicate dry site conditions. A slower rate indicates poor draining soil and serves as a warning sign that you should improve drainage with amendments, plant in a bed, or look for plants that are more tolerant of wet soil conditions.

3. Water

As it grows in the first year, give your magnolia 1 inch of water per week. After the tree has established itself, it should not require additional watering unless your area is experiencing drought or is particularly arid.

4. Humidity and temperature

Anise magnolia is hardy in zones 3 to 9, though gardeners at either end of this range may find the tree struggles in extreme cold or heat. Anise magnolia prefers consistently moist soil in warm summer temperatures, so they thrive with the occasional rainstorm or deep watering.

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How to Grow Anise Magnolia from Seed

During the summer or early fall, collect scarlet seeds from dried fruits. Plant them in the fall, about 1/2 inch deep, in the desired garden location. Because anise magnolia seeds require cold stratification, they should germinate in spring if sown directly in the garden.

You can also start seeds indoors. Place the seeds in small plastic bags filled with moistened peat moss in the fall. Place the bags in the refrigerator for at least three months, loosely secured to allow air circulation. Remove the seeds in late winter and plant them in small containers filled with commercial potting mix, about 1/2 inch deep. Keep the containers moist as the seeds germinate and sprout, and place them in a location with bright indirect light. When all danger of frost has passed, the new seedlings can be moved outside to plant in the garden or to continue growing in the pot.

Anise Magnolia Propagation

Anise magnolia is a bit more difficult to root from stem cuttings, so take several cuttings to ensure success. Here’s how it’s done:

  • In June or July, cut a 6- to 9-inch cutting from the tip of an actively growing branch with sharp pruners. To keep the cutting moist, immerse it in water.
  • Remove all but two or three upper leaves, then make a 2-inch vertical slice at the end of the stem with a sharp knife.
  • Plant the cutting in a small pot filled with moist perlite or vermiculite after dipping the cut end of the stem in rooting hormone powder.
  • Place the pot in a location with bright indirect light and cover it loosely with a plastic bag to keep it moist. Mist the pot frequently and keep an eye out for the growth of roots.
  • When the cutting is firmly rooted (as indicated by resistance when pulling on the stem), transplant it into a larger pot filled with a standard potting mix.
  • When the transplanted cutting has started to sprout new leaves, it is ready to be planted in the landscape.

Common Pests and Plant Diseases

Anise magnolia has many of the same issues as other small deciduous magnolias.

Scale is the most common insect pest, causing small bumps on the undersides of leaves. As the insects inside the protective bumps feed on plant juices, the leaves of the tree can turn yellow and fall off. Scale is difficult to control, but a spring application of horticultural oil can delay the insects’ reemergence.

Magnolias are susceptible to various fungal and bacterial diseases, particularly in wet weather. These diseases range from simple leaf spots rarely requiring treatment to more serious blights that cause rapid leaf decline. Spray or systemic fungicides can be used to treat mild fungal diseases. Serious disease may necessitate a professional diagnosis or the assistance of your local University extension service. When diseases strike, practice good hygiene by removing affected branches, raking up leaf debris, and sterilizing pruning tools between pruning cuts.


Q1. Is this a food plant?

The petals of this magnolia’s flowers were frequently eaten during the colonial era. They have a strong flavor and taste similar to how they smell.

The petals were pickled in a brine that resembled a sweet and sour pickle brine to dilute the flavor. Similarly to the bay leaf, dried magnolia leaves were commonly used to flavor soups, stews, and sauces.

Q2. What is the life expectancy of anise magnolia?

An anise magnolia can live for 80 years or more if it is fortunate enough to avoid serious fungal disease or wind damage. However, this small tree typically lives for 30 to 40 years.

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