Magnolia grandiflora “Galissonniere Praecox” – Bush Form

Bull Bay, southern Magnolia


The Bull Bay is a broadleaf evergreen tree with notably attractive dark green leaves and large, extremely fragrant and beautiful flowers which bloom in late spring and continue throughout summer

Magnolia grandiflora ‘Galissonniere Praecox’ is a cultivar similar to Galissonniere but with smaller, undulated leaves.

The bush form has more branches towards the base of the tree that give it a fuller appearance.


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Origin: United States
Genus: Magnolia
Species / Cultivar: grandiflora "Galissonniere Praecox"
Common Name: Bull Bay, southern Magnolia

Plant Biography

Native to the USA, it lives in moist wooded areas typically as an understory tree. It was brought to Britain in 1726 where it entered cultivation and overshadowed the then new and popular M. virginiana.

The specific epithet grandiflora comes from Latin and simply means large flowers, while the Genus ‘Magnolia’ honours the French Botanist Pierre Magnol. Magnol is most well known for inventing the concept of plant families in the form they are still understood today, by classifying groups of plants that have features in common.

Magnolia grandiflora “Galissonniere Praecox” – Bush Form
Soil: Moist but Well Drained
Soil that allows water to drain at a moderate rate, without the water pooling.
Growth Rate: Slow
This plant is particularly slow to grow, even during growing season.
Water Requirement: Medium
Once it is established, this plant is likely to only require watering during drier periods.
Maintenance: Low
Minimal skill or input needed beyond the basics, a very independent plant.
Situation: Full Sun to Part Shade
Enjoys direct sun most of the day, but tolerant of fewer sunlit hours or light dappling.
Eventual Height: 12m
The plant's ultimate height in typical growing conditions.
Eventual Spread: 8m
The plant's ultimate spread in typical growing conditions.
Hardiness: Fully Hardy
Will survive unprotected outdoors in most areas of the UK, even in the harshest winters.
Habit: Evergreen
Always in leaf throughout the year. It won't lose all its leaves at any one time.

Expert Tip

Magnolia grandiflora is evergreen unlike M. Stellata, and thus makes for a great choice if year-round interest is what you're looking for.
Magnolia's Ancient Flower

Magnolia's Ancient Flower

The shape and form of the Magnolia grandiflora’s large flower, with tepals instead of distinct petals and sepals, is characteristic of the earliest known flowering plants.

Recent research suggests that the first ever flowers to evolve looked a lot like the flower of M. grandiflora, which not only adds to the wonder of owning such a specimen, but also gives us a glimpse into what the earliest flowering plants may have looked like 140 million years ago.

The shape of the grandiflora flower can be explained by the context of those early flowering plants. They were so ancient they appeared before bees did, and so are thought to have evolved their shape and toughness specifically to be pollinated by beetles, which Magnolia grandiflora also still is today.

Care & Size Guidance

Care & Size Guidance

Magnolia grandiflora has a high wind and salt tolerance that makes it suitable for coastal gardens.

Its flowers bloom in late spring and continue into summer. These flowers give way to spherical cone-like fruiting clusters with rose-red seeds that release at maturity.

In UK garden climates M. grandiflora often grows more broad than upright, but pruning lower branches alters this. If a denser plant is what you’re looking for, prune in spring before growth begins to encourage broader growth.


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