The Magnolia is a garden plant well known to most Melbourne Gardeners and also to gardeners in cooler climates like Tasmania and Northern Europe. Varieties and cultivars available locally in Melbourne include Grandiflora Teddy Bear, Magnolia Grandiflora Little Gem,  Grandiflora Exmouth and Magnolia Fairy.

Magnolia as a Landscape design plant with a neatly trimmed hedge providing contrast.


The Genus  includes more than 230 species of trees and shrubs that are originally native to East Asia, the Himalayas, and to North and South America. They can be either deciduous or evergreen which is surprising in itself. Although famous for their spectacular  and fragrant pink, purple, yellow or white cup shaped flowers, some are even a source of timber. It it is not just the huge flowers that make the magnolia an attractive plant. The vibrant green smooth leaves are also an attractive feature as well as the often colourful cone shaped fruit. Magnolias exist in the fossil records for more than 25 million years. Meaning that they are one of the earliest flowering plants on the planet. They existed even before most of our flying pollenating insects had evolved. As a result, they depended on beetles for pollination. Even today, you can see many varieties have  tough leathery outer petals, and woody carpels to make the flowers tough enough to cope with beetles pollenating the plants. Magnolias flower for just a short time, but when they do flower, they are spectacular.

Landscaping Melbourne – Magnolia Exmouth in Flower
Landscaping Melbourne – Magnolia Exmouth in Flower.

The  Exmouth is an evergreen variety that originated in Exmouth in Devon in the United Kingdom. The huge heavily scented creamy yellow flowers, that appear in late summer and early Autumn, can be up to 25 cm across. The glossy oblong leaves are also an attractive feature. This plant will grow up to 10m high and 10 m wide, but will flower when still quite young. Planting a few mature trees in your backyard will very quickly screen out your neighbours.

‘Heaven Scent’ is a vigorous small magnolia tree with dark foliage. Large flowers to 100mm in length, cup-shaped with nine rosy-pink tepals, soon fading to pale pink.
‘Heaven Scent’ is a vigorous small magnolia tree with dark foliage. Large flowers to 100mm in length, cup-shaped with nine rosy-pink tepals, soon fading to pale pink.

Small Garden Landscaping Ideas with Magnolias

If you are looking for small garden design ideas, then there are small slow growing dwarf varieties and cultivars that will suit you. One of our favourites at Red’s Landscape gardening is Magnolia grandiflora Little Gem.  The little gem is like a miniature version  of the Exmouth. Little Gem is happy with both partial shade and full sun. It is a smaller version of the evergreen bull bay magnolia but it will slowly grow to a height of around 5 metres with a spread of around 3 metres. It has attractive oval or elliptical shaped leaves and small flowers.

Landscaping Ideas. Magnolia Grandiflora Little Gem as a Melbourne Street Plant. A great way to give your property instant street appeal.
Small Garden Design Idea. Magnolia Little Gem in a planter pot. Box hedge and lavender as well as pansies provide design contrast with the dark green leaves of the magnolia.


Garden care and maintenance for your Magnolias

Once established, your plants will be fairly low maintenance. These plants prefer well drained fertile soil that is rich in humus and organic matter. Keep them well mulched. Some varieties may require tree staking if you have a wind swept coastal garden. The PH level of the soil will depend on the variety you choose, but most prefer slightly acidic soil. If possible, thy to position your magnolia with full sun in the morning with some shade in the afternoon.

Contact us

For help with the design  and development or your landscaping ideas, contact one of our experienced Landscape Gardeners.


We can help with small garden design all the way up to  Commercial Landscape design.


Our specialities include fast growing screening plants, plant health and horticulture, garden lighting  and outdoor pool landscaping ideas.

For more landscape garden design ideas, take a look at our Garden Design blog.


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