Magnolias have long been a popular choice as ornamental trees in Australia. Magnolia Teddy Bear is a fantastic cultivar of Bull Bay Magnolia that grows smaller and more compact.
This stunning specimen tree can stand alone in any garden with its large oval-shaped shiny green leaves and perky upright growing habit. This easy-going plant is a must-have for those looking for a decorative tree for their outdoor spaces.
Here is everything you need to know to grow and care for your Magnolia Teddy Bear.
Introducing Magnolia Teddy Bear
When flowering, this tree produces large and fragrant creamy-white cup-shaped flowers that form as upright blooms atop the tree’s luscious large evergreen foliage.
The dark-green leaves also shine brilliantly with coppery-red undersides and brilliant new growth. With so many attractive features, it's no wonder this cultivar has become one of the most popular choices of Magnolia trees.
This tree is a more recent cultivar of Bull Bay Magnolia and belongs to the Magnoliaceae family like much of its genus. This smaller growing cultivar features a denser growing habit that stays tight and tidy as the tree develops.
Widely popularised for its attractive foliage and flowers, this tree will bloom on and off throughout the year in the right conditions. In warmer, subtropical to tropical regions, this tree is considered fast-growing. In cooler areas, growth can be more moderate.
Most trees will reach about 3 to 6 metres tall and 2 to 3 metres wide in cultivation. This cultivar can be used in any sized garden as a feature tree outside, either in your garden bed or in pots, but it can also be used as an attractive screening plant, shade tree or windbreak.
Magnolia Teddy Bear
Southern Magnolia, Bull Bay Magnolia
3 to 6 metres tall, 2 to 3 metres wide
Full sun to part shade
Early spring through summer
Small berry-like fruit followed by seeds in autumn
Poisonous for Pets:
Non-toxic to cats and dogs
How to Grow Magnolia Teddy Bear
Since this plant is a hybrid cultivar, true to type young and healthy plants will need to be purchased from reputable local nurseries or online vendors. Small tubestock plants or seedlings can then be transplanted into your landscape.
Alternatively, as with most broadleaf evergreen trees, this plant can be propagated using cuttings taken in summer after the current season’s growth has started maturing.
Cuttings will ensure you grow a true to type version of the parent plant and they will also grow and produce flowers much faster than seedlings.
Magnolia Grandiflora Teddy Bear Propagation
Propagating Southern Magnolia Using Cuttings
- Take cuttings in late summer after the buds have set.
- Using a sharp and sterile knife or pruning shears, cut semi-hardwood stems or branches from your tree that are about 15 to 20cm in length.
- Place your cuttings in water immediately after cutting them away while you prepare your containers.
- Prepare propagation containers filled with rich, quality potting soil or moist perlite. The soil must be well-draining and your containers should also feature drainage holes.
- Gently remove all but the upper leaves from each cutting and then make a 5cm vertical slice in the stem ends.
- Dip each stem end into some rooting hormone and plant the cuttings into your containers.
- Place them in a warm location that gets indirect light. You can help with humidity levels if needed by placing each container into a plastic bag.
- Mist frequently and keep the potting mix slightly moist.
- New growth should appear within a few months.
- Let your cuttings establish themselves for a couple more months before transplanting them into their forever homes.
It is important to note that propagation using cuttings is not always the most reliable way to grow this tree and does require a little luck sometimes. Should you not succeed the first time, you can always try again in the following years.
Planting Magnolia Teddy Bear
These trees can easily integrate themselves into most garden settings and sizes. Whether planted alongside companions or used as a stand-alone feature tree outside, this special cultivar will need a few basic growing conditions to thrive and bloom prolifically. Planting should be done in spring to early summer.
Ideal Sun for Southern Magnolia
Full sun is preferred but this tree will also be able to grow and thrive in partly shaded positions. It is recommended that this plant receives about 5 to 6 hours of sun each day. A lack of sufficient light will cause poor growth.
Best Soil to Use
For container-grown plants, a quality potting mix or perlite mixture should work great. For garden beds, a mixture of sandy-loam soil with some compost mixed in is best. The soil must be well-draining to prevent the roots from sitting in water.
How to Plant your Magnolia Tree
Planting Teddy Bear Magnolia in the Garden
- Choose a spot that gets full sun to part shade.
- Clear any grass or ground-covering plants from around the planting area to about 1 metre across.
- Dig some quality compost and a slow-release fertiliser into the soil to create a healthy mixture for growth.
- Using a spade or shovel, dig a planting hole that is twice as wide and to the same depth as the plant's current container.
- Carefully remove the plant from its current container with care. Magnolias don’t respond well to root disturbances.
- Gently place and position the plant into your planting hole and gently backfill with soil, lightly firming down once the plant is snug.
- Always water well after planting to settle the roots in the soil.
- Help keep the soil moist for the first several weeks while the plant establishes itself in its new home.
- Mulch with an organic mulch around the base of the plant, being careful not to mulch too close to the main trunk.
- Depending on your weather conditions, you may need to water deeply about once to twice per week while the tree grows.
Planting Magnolia Teddy Bear in a Pot
- Choose a pot that is at least twice the size of the root ball of your plant.
- Prepare your pot with a quality, rich potting mix that retains healthy amounts of moisture.
- Gently remove your plant from its current container, taking care not to disturb the roots too much.
- Position your plant in the pot and backfill with soil, lightly firming it down once your plant is sitting comfortably.
- Water in well after planting.
- Position your pot in a location that gets enough sunlight.
- Provide your plant with a deep watering about twice a week depending on weather conditions. If there is sufficient rain, supplemental watering can be kept to a minimum.
- During flowering seasons, feed your potted Magnolia every 2 weeks or so to encourage bountiful blooms and dense new growth.
Magnolia Teddy Bear Care Tips
Caring for these perky plants shouldn’t require much hassle at all, especially once they are established and actively growing. Thanks to their inherent tidy growing habits, these small trees tend to maintain themselves quite well in gardens.
Here are a few quick caring tips when growing your teddy bear.
Pruning Magnolia Teddy Bear
This tree may not need to be pruned at all and vigorous pruning is generally discouraged when dealing with this plant. Minor trimming may be needed in spring before new growth for small improvements to shape and density in preparation for the growing season.
Water your tree moderately once established. Extra supplementary water will be needed during the hot summer months when you can water deeply about once per week. If replanting, water in thoroughly and add some compost to the surrounding soil.
Fertilising Magnolia Grandiflora
During flowering seasons in spring, feed your tree with a general controlled release tree fertiliser to encourage healthy new growth and bigger blooms. Fertilising is especially important in poorer soils.
Common Pests, Problems & Diseases
As with many broadleaved outdoor plants, small scale insects or mealybugs could pose a minor issue from time to time, especially in the warmer months.
These bugs normally form on the undersides of leaves where you would notice small brown spots as well as foliage being damaged.
Luckily, these pests are easy to treat by spraying them and knocking them off of your foliage using soap and water. Alternatively, you can apply some neem oil or a similar horticultural spray to rid your plant of the infestation.
Browning Leaf Tips & Edges
This is a clear indication that your tree needs more water in the hot summer months. Be sure to stick to a regular and healthy watering routine and to check your soil moisture more frequently during summer.
Magnolia Grandiflora Teddy Bear FAQs
What is the difference between Little Gem and Teddy Bear Magnolia?
Little Gem is a taller growing variety that also grows narrower than Teddy Bear. Teddy Bear magnolia tree creates a lower and wider canopy whereas Little Gem is more pyramidal. Magnolia Teddy Bear also features more attractive foliage according to many enthusiasts.
What grows under a Teddy Bear Magnolia?
Once matured with a full canopy, the ground below this tree may only receive dappled and indirect light. It is best to plant shade-tolerant plants underneath your magnolia.
Popular choices include:
Why does my Teddy Bear Magnolia tree not flower?
There could be two possible reasons for this. It could be that your tree isn’t receiving enough light, especially in the growing seasons. Magnolias flower best when given at least 3 to 4 hours of direct light each day.
The other reason could be an excess of nitrogen in your fertiliser causing a nutrient imbalance in the soil.
If you’re interested in growing the other very popular magnolia tree, Little Gem Magnolia, then be sure to check out our helpful full guide below:
Elevate Your Landscape with the Evergreen Magnolia Teddy Bear
With effortless charm and all-around attractive features, this specially cultivated magnolia tree was made to be the perfect ornamental garden tree for any garden setting or size.
The delicate but profuse creamy-white flowers sit comfortably atop glossy-green, large-leaved foliage that grows in a tidy and easy to manage way. Whether grouped as a decorative addition to your garden or used as a stand-alone feature plant, the Magnolia Teddy Bear is easy to enjoy.