Little Gem Magnolia Tree Pros And Cons – 12 Amazing Facts

If you are searching for “Little Gem Magnolia Tree Pros And Cons” before that let me tell you, for those homeowners looking to spruce up their yards with beauty and elegance, magnolia trees are a popular option. The Little Gem magnolia (Southern Magnolia) has grown to be one of the numerous types of these trees that has gained popularity recently. This little, evergreen tree is well-known for its low care requirements and lovely, fragrant blossoms. Yet like with any plant, there are advantages and disadvantages to take into account when determining if the Little Gem magnolia (Southern Magnolia) is the best option for your landscaping requirements.

In this blog post, we will explore the Little Gem Magnolia Tree Pros And Cons, so that you can make an informed decision about whether it is the right fit for your landscape.

Pros Cons
Dwarf Size Expensive Cost
Evergreen Slow growth
Fragrant Blooms Soil requirements
Low maintenance Size limitation
Tolerant to Salt, Pollution, and Deer Fragility
Narrow growth habit
Pest and disease resistant

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Pro: Dwarf Size

The Little Gem Magnolia, commonly known as the Southern Magnolia, possesses several unique advantages that make it an excellent choice for patios, gardens, and small yards. Its smaller size is a key benefit, as it is specifically suited for compact spaces. This characteristic not only simplifies care and maintenance but also facilitates pruning to retain its size and form, allowing it to remain modest and compact.

According to reputable sources such as the Arbor Day Foundation and North Carolina State University, the Little Gem Magnolia tree typically matures to a height of 15-20 feet with a spread of 7-10 feet. With a growth rate of around 1.5 feet per year, it establishes itself steadily. Additionally, being an evergreen tree, it retains its leaves throughout the year, providing a constant touch of greenery.

When planting a Little Gem Magnolia, it is crucial to allocate sufficient space for its healthy growth. Considering its projected size at maturity, which ranges from 15-20 feet tall and 7-10 feet wide, it is advisable to choose a planting area with ample room. To avoid potential damage, it is recommended to plant the tree at least 8 feet away from any buildings or structures, allowing it to develop and expand freely.

Ensuring proper spacing is vital for the overall well-being and longevity of the tree. Sufficient room enables the branches to spread naturally, preventing overcrowding and potential harm to nearby structures. Moreover, proper spacing promotes adequate air circulation, minimizing the risk of fungal diseases and supporting healthy growth.

Several factors should be considered when selecting a suitable planting location for the Little Gem Magnolia. These include sunlight exposure, soil conditions, and drainage. This tree thrives in full sun to partial shade, so it is important to choose an area that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. The soil should be well-draining, as the tree prefers moist but not waterlogged conditions. Improving soil drainage and fertility can be achieved by incorporating organic matter.

Regular watering is essential, particularly during the establishment period, to facilitate the development of a strong root system and help the tree withstand environmental stress. Applying organic mulch around the base of the tree retains moisture, regulates soil temperature, and suppresses weed growth.

Proper care and maintenance are crucial for the overall health of the Little Gem Magnolia. Regular inspections for pests and diseases, such as scale insects or fungal infections, are recommended. Appropriate treatments or professional assistance should be sought to preserve the tree’s well-being.

Little Gem Magnolia Tree Pro: Dwarf Size

Pro: Evergreen

The fact that the Little Gem magnolia tree (Southern Magnolia) is evergreen is one of its greatest attractions. The Little Gem, in contrast to the majority of deciduous magnolia trees, keeps its leaves all year long, providing seclusion and year-round foliage. Those who live in regions with lengthy, very cold winters would particularly benefit from this.

The Little Gem Magnolia Tree produces cone-shaped fruit clusters up to 5 inches long in addition to its evergreen leaves. While the fruit is not edible, it gives the tree some aesthetic attractiveness. The tree’s fragrant, white blossoms, which bloom from May to June, are another reason for its fame. When fully bloomed, the blooms are impressively huge, measuring between 3 and 5 inches in diameter. A delicious, lemony fragrance that emanates from the blossoms also attracts bees and butterflies and fills the air.

Little Gem Magnolia Tree Pro: Evergreen

The slow-growing Little Gem Magnolia Tree matures at a height and width of around 25 feet and 10-15 feet, respectively. The Southern Magnolia, often known as the Big Tree Magnolia, has a smaller variety of that tree (Magnolia grandiflora). Due to its tiny stature, the tree is a great option for accent trees in big landscapes or smaller yards. Also, because of its slender, columnar form, it is the perfect plant to grow as a windbreak or privacy screen.

The Little Gem Magnolia Tree may grow in a variety of soil types, including chalk, clay, loam, and sand, but favors wet, well-drained soil. Moreover, it may thrive on soil that ranges in pH from acidic to alkaline. The tree is hardy in USDA zones 7–10 and likes full sun to light shade.

Pro: Fragrant Blooms

Little Gem Magnolia Tree Pro: Fragrant Blooms

One of the Little Gem Magnolia tree’s most prized characteristics is fragrance, which enchants and seduces the senses. The tree blooms in the middle of spring and continues to bloom throughout the summer, bringing a tranquil and welcoming environment to any garden or landscape.

The Little Gem Magnolia flowers have a really alluring scent. Its floral undertones are mixed with traces of freshness and zest to provide a distinctive and enchanting perfume that permeates the room. The sweet and pleasing aroma, which lends a touch of elegance and charm to the surroundings, is often characterized as smelling like lemon, citrus, or jasmine. The aroma of the Little Gem Magnolia produces a calming and uplifting atmosphere, whether it is used as a foreground smell while lounging outside or as a background scent during a leisurely walk in the garden.

The Little Gem Magnolia not only has a seductive scent, but also gives a feast for the eyes. The elliptical leaves have a deep green color, and the white blooms, which have a diameter of around 4 inches, show out against them. The striking visual show produced by the contrast between the brilliant green foliage and the snow-white blossoms enhances the overall appeal of the tree and its surroundings. A magical aesthetic that appeals to sight and smell is produced by the union of fragrant blooms and lush green leaves.

The Little Gem Magnolia is a perfect option for small gardens or yards because to its modest stature. Even though it has a maximum height of around 25 feet and a maximum width of 10 to 15 feet, it yet has a manageable and compact shape that enables it to fit easily in small places. This makes the tree a flexible choice for small-space landscapes like urban gardens and patios. The Little Gem Magnolia’s modest stature does not affect its capacity to provide a striking aesthetic impression or the delicious aroma for which it is known.

Pro: Low maintenance

Pro: Low maintenance

Little Gem magnolias, also known as Southern Magnolias, are prized for their low-maintenance nature, primarily due to their slow growth rate. These trees typically mature at a height of 20 to 30 feet and only add a few feet in height per year. As a result, they require minimal pruning and care to maintain their desired shape and size.

One of the key advantages of Little Gem magnolias is their drought tolerance once established. This makes them ideal for regions with limited rainfall, as they can withstand dry spells without requiring excessive watering. However, it is important to note that young plants need consistent watering to develop a strong root system.

Little Gem magnolias also exhibit resistance to pests and diseases, reducing the need for additional care or the use of pesticides. However, it is still important to monitor the trees for any signs of damage or illness and take appropriate action if necessary to ensure their health and vitality.

These magnolias do not have high fertilizer requirements. Over-fertilization can lead to excessive growth and weaken the trees. It is recommended to use a slow-release fertilizer during the early spring or autumn to promote healthy development. This allows for a gradual release of nutrients, supporting growth without causing rapid or excessive expansion.

When applying fertilizer, it is essential to follow the recommended dosage and application instructions. Over-fertilizing can result in imbalanced nutrient levels in the soil, which can negatively affect the overall health of the trees. Incorporating organic matter into the soil during planting can provide natural nutrients that contribute to their well-being.

In addition to their low-maintenance characteristics, Little Gem magnolias offer other advantages. Their compact size makes them suitable for various outdoor spaces, including patios, gardens, and small yards. These trees are evergreen, ensuring they retain their lush foliage throughout the year, providing continuous beauty and privacy.

Little Gem magnolias produce beautiful, fragrant flowers that bloom during the spring and summer seasons. The creamy white flowers stand out against the glossy, dark green leaves, adding to their aesthetic appeal. The bark and overall form of these trees also contribute to their elegance, enhancing any landscape.

To fully enjoy the benefits of Little Gem magnolias, proper care and maintenance are important. Regular inspections, watering during the establishment phase, and proactive measures against potential pests or diseases are essential. By understanding the trees’ requirements and providing appropriate care, homeowners can enjoy the beauty and low-maintenance nature of Little Gem magnolias for many years.

Tolerant to Salt, Pollution, and Deer

The Little Gem Magnolia tree stands out as a tough and adaptable plant that can survive in a variety of difficult environments because to its tolerance quality. This tree is a beneficial addition to landscapes in coastal locations, urban settings, and places with significant deer populations because to its amazing resilience to salt, pollution, and deer.

The salt tolerance of the Little Gem Magnolia is very helpful for those who live near the seaside or in places with salty soil. The exposure to salt spray and salt-laden air, which may be harmful to many other plant species, is not a problem for this tree. Its unique leaf structure, which helps reduce salt absorption and consequent damage, is credited with helping it flourish in these circumstances. This makes the Little Gem Magnolia a great option for coastal gardens since it can provide beauty and foliage while enduring the difficulties presented by surroundings with a lot of salt.

Tolerant to Salt, Pollution, and Deer

The Little Gem Magnolia also shows tolerance for the pollutants that is often seen in metropolitan environments. Plant health and growth may suffer as a result of air pollution, including that from motor vehicle emissions and industrial contaminants. However, due to this tree’s hardiness, it can tolerate some of the pollutants and even filter them, which helps to improve the air quality in metropolitan areas. The Little Gem Magnolia is an excellent option for urban parks, streetscapes, and residential areas since it may help reduce the harmful effects of pollution while adding aesthetic value.

The Little Gem Magnolia’s resilience to deer browsing is another noteworthy quality. Due to the fact that deer often eat a variety of plant types, deer populations may provide a considerable issue for gardeners and landscapers. However, deer usually dislike the leaves of Little Gem Magnolias, which lessens the possibility of serious damage from browsing. The tree is a desirable alternative for landscapes with high deer populations because to its resilience to deer grazing, which enables it to flourish and preserve its beauty without continual protection or deterrent efforts.

Pro: Narrow growth habit

Pro: Narrow growth habit

One characteristic that distinguishes the Little Gem Magnolia tree from other magnolia kinds is its narrow growth habit. This tree’s columnar structure and thin, upright growth style make it a great option for small-space landscapes or situations where a vertical feature is sought.

The Little Gem Magnolia’s narrow growth habit is especially beneficial in tiny gardens or urban environments when space is at a premium. Due to its small size, the tree may be used as an accent tree in small locations or to fit easily in planting beds that are too narrow or along fences. It is a good option for individuals looking to create a vertical focal point without giving up important ground space because of its upright growing habit, which helps optimize vertical space.

Additionally, the Little Gem Magnolia’s tendency of columnar growth lends the landscape an architectural character. A feeling of verticality is created by its slim shape, which also provides height and structure, intrigue, and aesthetic appeal. In garden design, this vertical component may be particularly useful since it can be utilized to provide contrast, balance, and a feeling of proportion to the overall composition. Due to its narrow growth habit, the tree may be strategically positioned in the landscape and used as a stand-alone feature or as a background to other plants.

The Little Gem Magnolia is a superb option for formal or symmetrical landscape designs because to its compact and columnar appearance. Its tidy and upright appearance makes it a good fit for formal gardens, which like clear lines and well-organized layouts. The tree’s narrow growth pattern may be used to provide symmetry and balance, which will improve the landscape’s overall visual appeal.

Pro: Pest and disease resistant

Pro: Pest and disease resistant

One of the many unique qualities of the Little Gem Magnolia tree is its resilience to pests and diseases. The Little Gem is a low-maintenance tree because it is less prone to pests and illnesses than other magnolia trees.

Scales, which are tiny insects that eat plant sap, are one of the most prevalent pests that harm magnolia plants. The Little Gem Magnolia is tolerant of them, although they may cause leaves to turn yellow and fall off. In addition, magnolia trees are susceptible to fungal diseases like blight, canker, and illnesses that cause black, brown, or white patches on leaves, but the Little Gem Magnolia is even immune to these ailments.

Another disease that may kill off branches on magnolia trees is verticillium wilt. The Little Gem Magnolia, however, is not prone to this illness. Also resistant to deer nibbling, the tree is a fantastic choice for landscapes in regions with significant deer populations.

The Little Gem Magnolia is also salt and pollution resistant, making it a perfect tree for urban settings. It’s the ideal plant for providing beauty and shade to your environment thanks to its evergreen leaves and fragrant white blossoms.

The Little Gem Magnolia doesn’t take much care beyond routine watering and trimming. The tree must be planted in well-drained soil, however, and must get enough moisture throughout the establishing phase.

Con: Expensive Cost

Con: Expensive Cost

The price of the Little Gem magnolia tree is one of its main downsides. Due to their popularity and high demand, Little Gem magnolia trees are often more costly than other smaller tree kinds. They may, however, increase the value of your house as an investment.

Depending on the tree’s size and where you buy it, the price of a Little Gem Magnolia tree might vary. The Tree Center, Arbor Day Foundation, Moon Valley Nurseries, My Perfect Plants, Fossil Creek Tree Farm, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Florida Nursery Mart, Plant Me Green, and Treeland are just a few respected online nurseries and gardening stores that sell this tree.

The Little Gem Magnolia is available at The Tree Center in three sizes: 2-gallon for $79.95, 7-gallon for $129.95, and 2-3 feet for $109.95, which is now 11% off. The Little Gem Magnolia is available from Arbor Day Foundation in 3-gallon and 7-gallon containers, with member savings, for $69.99 and $114.99, respectively. Although My Perfect Plants has a 1-2 feet tall plant for $37.00 and a 5-6 feet tall tree for $152.96 on sale, Moon Valley Nursery sells a considerably bigger Little Gem Magnolia tree in a 65-gallon pot for $110,000.

For the installation of the Little Gem Magnolia, Fossil Creek Tree Farm charges $50 per tree for a 15-gallon container, $175 per tree for a 30-45 gallon container, and $249.99 for a 65-gallon container with installation already included. A 3-gallon container costs $54.98, a #3 container costs $115.38, and a #1 container costs $55.82 at Home Depot. A 10.25-gallon container is available at Lowe’s for $61.98.

Con: Slow growth

Con: Slow growth

Little Gem magnolia trees have a slower growth rate compared to other types of magnolias, which may not be the preferred choice for individuals seeking rapid expansion in their landscapes. It is important to note this characteristic when considering these trees for planting, as they can take up to 20 years to reach their maximum height.

On average, Little Gem magnolia trees grow less than 12 inches in height per year, ultimately maturing to a height of 20 to 25 feet with a spread of 8 to 12 feet. Planting multiple Little Gem Magnolia trees can create a dense hedge, offering both aesthetic appeal and privacy to the landscape.

Despite their slower growth, Little Gem magnolia trees make a fantastic addition to any landscape. They are often chosen as ornamental trees due to their stunning creamy white blossoms that emit a delightful fragrance during the summer months. These blossoms create a beautiful contrast against the tree’s dark green leaves, enhancing the overall visual impact.

Proper care is essential for the development and health of Little Gem magnolia trees. Regular watering is required to maintain adequate soil moisture, but it is crucial to ensure proper drainage to prevent waterlogging. Using well-draining soil or amending the soil with organic matter can improve drainage and create an optimal growing environment for the tree.

Fertilization is another aspect of care to consider. Applying a slow-release balanced fertilizer during the growing season in spring can provide the necessary nutrients for healthy growth. It is important to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer and avoid over-fertilization, as this can lead to negative consequences for the tree’s growth and overall health.

When planting a Little Gem magnolia tree, it is important to take into account the local weather conditions and avoid prolonged periods of drought or excessive rainfall. Extreme weather conditions can impede the tree’s growth and development. Providing sufficient irrigation during dry spells and ensuring proper drainage during rainy periods are crucial for maintaining the tree’s health and promoting steady growth.

Con: Soil requirements

Con: Soil requirements

Little Gem magnolia trees need somewhat acidic, well-drained soils, which may need extra soil amendments and upkeep. They cannot survive in damp soils, and too much moisture may cause root rot.

Acidic, loamy, wet, sandy, well-drained, and clay soils, among others, may all support the growth of this tree. It is crucial to remember that the tree can endure occasional floods but enjoys wet soil, especially when just planted. The Little Gem Magnolia Tree can withstand droughts, but only to a modest extent.

To provide the tree the nutrients it needs, it is advised to fill the hole where the tree will be planted with a mixture of composted cow dung and either topsoil or organic peat humus. Mulch around the tree’s base may aid in soil temperature control and moisture retention.

Your Little Gem Magnolia Tree’s health and development depend on regular fertilization. It’s preferable to use a slow-release fertilizer like 10-10-10 or 8-8-8 that has a balanced composition and apply it in the spring throughout the growth season.

The Little Gem Magnolia Tree may grow in a variety of soil types, including sand, loam, and clay, but it loves a pH that is somewhat acidic. Also, since the tree only has a modest tolerance for salt, it is advised against growing it in places with high salt concentrations.

Con: Size limitation

Little Gem Magnolia Tree Advantages and disadvantages

While being smaller, the Little Gem magnolia tree may still be too big for certain small gardens or landscapes. When planting a Little Gem magnolia tree, it’s crucial to take the available area into account.

This tree normally matures to a height of 15 to 20 feet and a spread of 7 to 10 feet. It is a tree that grows at a moderate pace, between 12 and 24 inches each year, depending on local circumstances.

The Little Gem Magnolia tree, Magnolia grandiflora, is typically smaller in size than the standard Southern Magnolia, Magnolia grandiflora, which can reach heights of up to 80 feet and spreads out to a spread of 30 to 40 feet, according to a number of sources including,,,, and The Little Gem Magnolia also has numerous stems that grow together to give it a bushy look, making it a multi-stem shrub.

The soil conditions of the Little Gem Magnolia tree might include clay, sand, loam, and chalk. It is good for many areas of the United States since it is hardy in USDA zones 7 through 10.

When planning to plant a Little Gem Magnolia in your yard, it’s crucial to take into account the tree’s eventual mature size and provide adequate room for it to expand. As a general guideline, plant the tree at least 10-15 feet from any structures or other trees to give it space to grow to its maximum height.

Con: Fragility

Little Gem Magnolia Tree Pros And Cons
Little Gem Magnolia Tree Pros And Cons

Little Gem magnolia trees, also known as Southern Magnolias, are known for their durability and resilience. However, like any other plant, they can still be susceptible to damage caused by extreme weather conditions or inadequate care. One of the potential risks for these trees is frost damage, which can lead to premature browning and shedding of leaves.

To protect Little Gem magnolia trees from frost damage, it is important to take preventive measures. During periods of frost, providing temporary shelter or covering the tree can help shield it from the cold. By implementing these precautions, gardeners can minimize the risk of frost-related harm to the tree.

Apart from frost damage, these magnolia trees may also face challenges posed by other environmental factors, such as drought or excessive heat. Adequate watering practices are crucial, particularly during hot and dry periods, to ensure the tree remains hydrated and healthy. Regular irrigation and the use of mulch to retain soil moisture can be beneficial in maintaining optimal conditions for the tree’s growth.

While Little Gem magnolias are generally considered low-maintenance trees, it is important to note that they are not entirely immune to pests and diseases. Although they have a natural resistance, it is still essential to monitor the tree for common issues like scale insects or fungal infections. Early detection and appropriate treatment, if necessary, can prevent the spread of pests or diseases and help maintain the tree’s overall well-being.

When planting a Little Gem magnolia tree, it is crucial to consider its specific soil requirements. These trees thrive in well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Adequate soil preparation, such as incorporating compost or organic amendments, can create a favorable growing environment. Additionally, maintaining the soil pH within the preferred range (slightly acidic to neutral) can support the tree’s optimal growth and health.

Furthermore, providing enough space for the Little Gem magnolia to grow is vital. These trees can reach a mature height of 20 to 30 feet, with a spread that extends several feet. It is important to select a planting location that allows for proper growth without causing structural damage or overcrowding.


Little Gem Magnolia Tree Pros And Cons, In conclusion, Little Gem Magnolia Tree has a number of appealing traits, including its diminutive stature, evergreen status, fragrant blossoms, and resistance to salt, pollution, and animals. Due of these qualities, it is a popular option for individuals looking for a small, low-maintenance tree that can survive in harsh environments. Its narrow growing habit and tolerance to pests and diseases only serve to increase its allure.

Cons, such as the possibility for a greater price, sluggish growth, particular soil needs, size restrictions, and fragility, should not be overlooked while considering the benefits of the Little Gem Magnolia.

It is crucial to compare these aspects to your unique requirements, tastes, and the state of your landscape before selecting whether to go with the Little Gem Magnolia. The Little Gem Magnolia could be a good option if you have limited space, want a smaller tree with year-round foliage and fragrant blossoms, and your location presents difficulties like salt exposure, pollution, or deer browsing.

You may want to examine different alternatives, however, if you have a limited budget, need a tree that grows quickly, have unique soil conditions that might not meet the tree’s needs, or need a bigger tree.

In the end, it is advised to visit local landscapers, arborists, or gardening specialists who can provide individualized guidance based on your particular area and needs. You may make an educated choice that is in line with your vision and assures the long-term success and contentment with your selected tree by carefully weighing the pros and cons and getting expert advice.

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Amelia Clark

I'm Amelia Clark, a seasoned florist and gardening specialist with more than 15 years of practical expertise. Following the completion of my formal education, I dedicated myself to a flourishing career in floristry, acquiring extensive understanding of diverse flower species and their ideal cultivation requirements. Additionally, I possess exceptional skills as a writer and public speaker, having successfully published numerous works and delivered engaging presentations at various local garden clubs and conferences.

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