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Little Gem Magnolia Tree Pros And Cons – 12 Amazing Facts

For 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 pros and cons of the Little Gem magnolia tree, 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

Pro: Dwarf Size

The first advantage of the Little Gem Magnolia (Southern Magnolia) is its smaller size, which makes it ideal for patios, gardens, and small yards. Because of its moderate size, it is simple to care and prune. Regular trimming will assist the tree retain its size and form, allowing you to keep it modest and compact.

The Arbor Day Foundation and North Carolina State University, among other sources, claim that the Little Gem Magnolia tree matures with a height of 15-20 feet and a spread of 7–10 feet. It grows at a modest pace of 1.5 feet per year and is an evergreen, which means it keeps its leaves all year.

You must provide adequate room for a Little Gem Magnolia tree to flourish when planting one. While choosing a planting area, keep in mind that the tree will reach a mature size of 15-20 feet tall and 7-10 feet wide. To ensure that the tree has enough room to develop and expand without causing any harm, it is advised to plant the tree at least 8 feet away from any buildings or other structures.

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.

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

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

Little Gem magnolias (Southern Magnolia) grow slowly, which is one of the major reasons they are regarded as low-maintenance trees. This tree normally matures at a height of 20 to 30 feet and barely grows a few feet per year. This implies that it needs very little trimming or upkeep to stay in form.

Little Gem magnolias are little maintenance as a result of their drought tolerance after they have grown. This makes it perfect for locations with little rainfall since it can withstand dry spells without much watering. Yet, until they develop a robust root system, it is crucial to consistently water young plants.

Little Gem magnolia is pest and disease resistant as well, so it doesn’t need any further care or pesticides to be healthy. However just as with other plants, it’s critical to keep an eye out for any damage or illness symptoms and take immediate action if necessary.

The Little Gem magnolia doesn’t need a lot of fertilizing. In fact, a tree that receives too much fertilizer may grow too rapidly and weaken. To encourage healthy development, it is recommended to use a slow-release fertilizer in the early spring or autumn.

Little Gem Magnolia Tree Pros And Cons

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.

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

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

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

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

Little Gem magnolia trees grow more slowly than other magnolia kinds, which may not be the best choice for those searching for trees that expand quickly. While planting, keep in mind that they may take up to 20 years to reach their maximum height.

It only grows less than 12 inches in height per year, maturing to a height of 20 to 25 feet with a spread of 8 to 12 feet. A thick hedge may be created by planting numerous Little Gem Magnolia plants.

The Little Gem Magnolia is a fantastic addition to any landscape even though it grows slowly. It is a popular option for use as an ornamental tree since it produces fragrant, creamy white blossoms in the summer that have a pleasing perfume. The blossoms are beautifully framed by the tree’s dark green leaves.

The Little Gem Magnolia’s development and health depend on proper care. The tree needs frequent watering and well-draining soil. To promote growth, it is advised to use a slow-release balanced fertilizer during the growing season in the spring. A prolonged dry period or an excessive amount of rain should also be avoided while planting the tree since these circumstances will hinder its development.

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

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 arborday.org, thetreecenter.com, trees.com, gardenia.net, and fast-growing-trees.com. 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.

Little Gem Magnolia Tree Advantages and disadvantages

Con: Fragility

Little Gem magnolia trees are tough, but some gardeners may find that they are still vulnerable to harm from extreme weather or poor maintenance. They are especially prone to frost damage, which may result in their leaves turning brown and falling off too soon.

In conclusion, the little Gem magnolia trees are a beautiful addition to any landscape, but it’s crucial to examine the benefits and drawbacks before choosing. For many homeowners, the tree is a perfect option because of its lovely blossoms, evergreen foliage, and little care requirements. Yet, it’s crucial to take into account the possibility of pest and disease problems, the need for a certain soil type, and the necessity for enough room to develop.

The choice to plant a Little Gem magnolia tree in your yard will ultimately rely on your own requirements and preferences. You may make a selection that will enhance the beauty and pleasure of your yard for many years by evaluating the advantages and disadvantages and completing your research.


The Little Gem Magnolia tree, in conclusion, 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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