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Teddy Bear Magnolia: How to Grow and Care for Them

magnolia teddy bear

The Teddy Bear Magnolia, a charming Southern magnolia variety, is becoming increasingly popular among garden enthusiasts and nature lovers. With its compact size and glossy leaves, this plant adds unique texture to any landscape design. In this blog post, we will explore what makes the Teddy Bear Magnolia so special and how to grow and care for it, as well as discussing its benefits and drawbacks.

What is the Teddy Bear Magnolia?

The Teddy Bear Magnolia is a charming tree that belongs to the Southern Magnolia family. This small-sized tree is famous for its beautiful blooms, which are creamy white with soft petals and give off a sweet fragrance. Its unique name comes from the fuzzy brown undersides of its leaves that resemble teddy bear fur.

Native to North America, this variety was developed by crossing two different species of magnolias in Florida in 1990. The resulting hybrid became known as the Teddy Bear Magnolia due to its compact size and adorable aesthetic appeal. It has since become popular among gardeners looking for an ornamental plant that can be grown in smaller spaces or containers while still serving as an attractive addition to any landscape design.

Physical Description

The Teddy Bear Magnolia is a unique variation of the Southern magnolia tree. Its compact size and round shape make it a popular choice for small gardens or as an accent tree. The leaves have soft, fuzzy brown undersides that give them a distinct texture and appearance, almost like a teddy bear's fur. In addition to its cute nickname, the Teddy Bear Magnolia also boasts large, fragrant white flowers with a unique cup-shaped appearance that add beauty and elegance to any landscape.

Origins and History

Created by crossbreeding two magnolia species in the mid-20th century, the Teddy Bear Magnolia is a unique and popular cultivar of the Southern Magnolia. Its name comes from its glossy appearance, resembling that of a teddy bear. Here are some interesting facts about this charming tree:

  • The first Teddy Bear Magnolias were bred in New Zealand in 1946.
  • They were created by crossing the Magnolia liliiflora 'Nigra' with M. grandiflora 'Lanceolata'.
  • The resulting hybrid was further refined over several generations to create a smaller, more compact tree.
  • Today, this cultivar is widely grown for its attractive foliage and fragrant flowers.

Where can I find a teddy bear magnolia?

If you're interested in adding a Teddy Bear Magnolia to your garden, your best bet is to check with local nurseries or garden centers. Alternatively, you can also purchase them online from Brisbane Plant Nursery or nurseries that specialize in magnolias. Make sure to check the growing zone requirements for the teddy bear magnolia before purchasing to ensure it can thrive in your area. As with any plant, it's important to follow proper growing techniques to ensure its success. For an Australian growing guide, I recommend checking out the Aussie Green Thumb website for tips and advice on growing magnolias and other plants.

Growing and Caring for Teddy Bear Magnolias

Teddy Bear Magnolias are a charming and unique variant of the Southern Magnolia tree, perfect for adding character to any landscape. When planting, it's important to choose a spot with well-draining soil that is slightly acidic. Proper watering is crucial during the first few years of growth, as these trees require consistent moisture but cannot tolerate standing water.

To ensure healthy growth and blooming, fertilize your Teddy Bear Magnolia every spring using a balanced slow-release fertilizer. Pruning should be done in late winter or early spring before new growth appears to maintain its shape and encourage new flowering shoots. With proper care and attention, your Teddy Bear Magnolia will provide beauty and enjoyment for years to come.

Planting and Soil Requirements

When it comes to planting and soil requirements for your Teddy Bear Magnolia, there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, choosing the right location is crucial for optimal growth. The ideal spot should have well-draining soil and partial shade or filtered sunlight.

Before planting, ensure that the soil is prepared properly by removing any weeds or debris and loosening up compacted areas. It's also recommended to add organic matter such as compost or peat moss to improve drainage.

Finally, maintaining an ideal pH level between 5.0-6.5 will help promote healthy growth of your Teddy Bear Magnolia. Consider having your soil tested before planting so you can adjust accordingly with lime or sulfur if needed.

  • Choose a spot with well-draining soil and partial shade/filtered sunlight
  • Prepare the soil by removing weeds/debris, loosening compacted areas, adding organic matter
  • Maintain an ideal pH level between 5.0-6.5

Watering and Fertilizing

Proper watering frequency for Teddy Bear Magnolias varies with the seasons. During summer, water your magnolia once or twice a week to keep the soil moist. In winter, reduce watering to once every two weeks since the plant will be dormant. Overwatering can damage the roots of your Teddy Bear Magnolia.

For optimal growth and blooming of your Teddy Bear Magnolia, use fertilizers that are specific to acid-loving plants like azaleas and camellias. Apply slow-release fertilizers during spring and early summer when new leaves start growing. Avoid over-fertilizing as this can cause root burn or leaf scorching on your magnolia plant.

Pruning and Training

Proper pruning is essential for maintaining the health and shape of your Teddy Bear Magnolia. To keep your tree looking its best, prune it during the dormant season (late winter or early spring). When shaping the tree, use techniques like thinning out crowded branches and directional pruning to encourage upward growth.

It's important to remove any diseased or dead branches from your Teddy Bear Magnolia, but be sure to do so safely. Make clean cuts at a slight angle just above the branch collar where it meets the trunk, without leaving any stubs. This will help prevent damage and promote healing in your magnolia tree.

How large will a teddy bear magnolia grow?

The Teddy Bear Magnolia is a popular ornamental tree known for its unique foliage and stunning flowers. This tree is relatively small compared to other magnolia species, making it an ideal choice for small gardens, patios, and courtyards.

The Teddy Bear Magnolia usually grows up to 6 meters tall and 3 meters wide, forming a compact, upright-growing profile. Its glossy, dark green leaves are oval-shaped and measure up to 20 centimeters long. In late spring and early summer, the tree produces fragrant, creamy-white flowers that can measure up to 15 centimeters in diameter.

In terms of growth rate, the Teddy Bear Magnolia is relatively slow-growing, adding only a few inches of growth per year. However, it is a long-lived tree that can survive for several decades with proper care.

If you are considering planting a Teddy Bear Magnolia, make sure to choose a location that receives full to partial sun and has well-draining soil. This tree is relatively low-maintenance, but it may require occasional pruning to maintain its shape and size. With proper care, the Teddy Bear Magnolia can be a beautiful addition to any landscape.

Benefits of Growing Teddy Bear Magnolias

The Teddy Bear Magnolia is a unique Southern Magnolia that has gained popularity due to its beautiful aesthetic value. Its compact size, lush foliage and showy blooms make it an ideal choice for small gardens and urban landscapes.

Aside from its stunning looks, growing Teddy Bear Magnolias also provide several environmental benefits. They help reduce air pollution by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and producing oxygen. Moreover, they attract pollinators like bees and butterflies which aid in sustaining our ecosystem. These trees also prevent soil erosion as their roots hold onto soil tightly preventing it from being washed away during heavy rains or storms.

Aesthetic Value

The Teddy Bear Magnolia is a stunning addition to any landscape design, with its unique and appealing appearance. The fluffy, white flowers are a standout feature that will catch the eye of anyone passing by. Its compact size makes it suitable for small gardens or container planting, adding charm even in limited spaces.

Here are some key aesthetic values of the Teddy Bear Magnolia:

  • Unique and appealing appearance with fluffy white flowers
  • Compact size suitable for small gardens or container planting
  • Adds a touch of charm to any landscape design

Whether you're looking to spruce up your garden or add an interesting feature to your property's landscaping, the Teddy Bear Magnolia is sure to impress. Its beauty speaks for itself and can enhance any outdoor area both visually and aesthetically.

Environmental Benefits

The Teddy Bear Magnolia, a unique hybrid of the Southern Magnolia, offers numerous environmental benefits. Its dense foliage helps reduce air pollution by absorbing carbon dioxide while providing shade and shelter for wildlife such as birds and squirrels. The leaf litter decomposition also improves soil quality, promoting healthier vegetation growth.

As an evergreen tree with a compact size and slow growth rate, the Teddy Bear Magnolia is an ideal addition to any landscape design. Not only does it add aesthetic value with its large white fragrant blooms and glossy leaves, but it also contributes to creating a more sustainable environment through its ecological benefits. By planting this tree in your yard or community spaces, you can make a positive impact on the local ecosystem while enjoying its natural beauty for years to come.

Economic Benefits

The Teddy Bear Magnolia not only has an attractive appearance, but it also increases property value due to its low maintenance requirements. This makes it a popular choice for landscaping projects in both residential and commercial areas. Additionally, the cut flowers from this tree can be used in floral arrangements for the cut flower industry, providing another economic benefit.

Furthermore, the drought-tolerant nature of the Teddy Bear Magnolia reduces water consumption costs. With increasing concerns over water scarcity and rising water prices, this is a significant advantage for those looking to reduce their expenses while still maintaining a beautiful landscape. These economic benefits make the Teddy Bear Magnolia stand out as a worthwhile investment for property owners and landscapers alike.

Potential Drawbacks of Growing Teddy Bear Magnolias

When it comes to growing the Teddy Bear Magnolia, there are a few drawbacks that should be considered. For starters, these trees require regular maintenance and upkeep in order to thrive. This includes proper pruning, watering, and fertilization. Failure to provide the necessary care can result in stunted growth or even death of the tree.

Another potential drawback is the need for disease and pest control measures. While magnolias are generally hardy plants, they can still be susceptible to diseases such as fungal leaf spot or pests like scale insects. Proactive management through proper sanitation practices and targeted treatments may be required to keep your Teddy Bear Magnolia healthy and thriving.

Maintenance and Upkeep

Regular upkeep of your Teddy Bear Magnolia is key to ensure healthy growth and maintain its unique shape. Here are some tips for maintaining your plant:

  • Regular pruning: Pruning promotes healthy growth and maintains the desired shape of the tree. Be sure to prune after flowering, using sharp, clean tools.
  • Proper fertilization: Fertilize in early spring with a balanced fertilizer to promote healthy growth.
  • Regular watering: Water deeply during dry spells, making sure not to over-water.

By following these maintenance tips, you can enjoy a thriving Teddy Bear Magnolia for years to come.

Disease and Pest Control

Proper sanitation practices in the garden are crucial for preventing diseases and pests from affecting your Teddy Bear Magnolia. Fallen leaves, branches, and debris should be removed regularly to prevent the buildup of harmful organisms that can cause damage to your plants. In addition, using insecticides or fungicides may be necessary if pests or diseases do appear on your magnolias. These products must be used according to instructions and with caution.

Prompt removal of infected or dead branches is also important when it comes to disease control in Teddy Bear Magnolias. These branches should be pruned as soon as they are identified to prevent further spread of infections throughout the tree. Taking these measures will help keep your Teddy Bear Magnolia healthy and thriving for years to come.

Costs and Availability

The 'Teddy Bear' cultivar of the Southern Magnolia tree is a unique and beautiful addition to any garden or landscape. However, its uniqueness also comes with a slightly higher cost compared to traditional Southern Magnolia trees due to its distinct characteristics. It's important to note that this particular cultivar may not be readily available at all nurseries or garden centers, so it may take some research and effort to find a reliable source for purchasing one.

Additionally, the Teddy Bear magnolia may require specialized care from a horticulturist or expert gardener. This includes ensuring proper soil conditions, regular pruning and shaping, as well as protection from harsh weather conditions. While it may require extra attention and effort in terms of maintenance, the beauty of this unique tree is certainly worth it for those willing to put in the work.


In conclusion, the Teddy Bear Magnolia is an excellent addition to any garden or landscape. Its compact size and unique shape make it a versatile plant that can be used as a focal point or as a backdrop for other plants. The fragrant blooms of the Teddy Bear Magnolia are smaller than those of its larger Southern Magnolia cousins, but they still provide plenty of visual interest and charm.

If you're looking for a low-maintenance plant that will thrive in most environments, the Teddy Bear Magnolia is definitely worth considering. With proper care and attention, this hardy shrub will continue to delight year after year with its lush foliage, beautiful flowers, and distinctive appearance. So why not add one (or more!) to your garden today?

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