magnolia 'butterflies'

Butterflies Magnolia

With dainty branches and flowers that resemble beautiful yellow butterflies, there is no tree like the Butterflies Magnolia.


  • Tolerates: Moderate Drought Tolerance
  • Sun: Full Sun, Partial Shade
  • Zones: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Spread (Min): 10
  • Spread (Max): 15
  • Height (Min): 15
  • Height (Max): 20


The Butterflies Magnolia’s small and delicate branches are adorned by the most vibrant yellow petals that will take your breath away bloom after bloom. These densely packed petals so beautifully give off the effect that a cluster of yellow butterflies has settled on the branches of the tree, fluttering about as the breeze moves between them.

  • Bright yellow tulip-like blooms
  • Pyramidal crown shape stemming from a single trunk
  • Upright blossoms decorate

The leaves are large and oval shaped. They come to fruition after the bloom and are about 8 inches long, and dark green. These sharp green leaves make the Butterflies Magnolia an attractive tree even when it is not flowering.

The Butterflies Magnolia’s buds explode into bloom in early spring. The branches quickly are covered with deep yellows in the form of upright tulip-like cups. Each of these unique tulip shapes are made up of between 10 and 16 narrow tapering petals. In the middle of these petals is a concentrated cluster of stamens.

  • Plant Hardiness Zones: 5 – 9
  • Mature Width: 10 – 15
  • Mature Height: 15 – 20
  • Soil Conditions: Moist, Well-drained soil
  • Sunlight: Full Sun to Partial Shade
  • Drought Tolerance: Moderate Drought Tolerance

Appearance: The Butterflies Magnolia is a small deciduous tree, growing out of a single trunk. Its trunk and stems are smooth with grey bark. Its maturation height is between 15 to 20 feet tall and 12 feet wide.

Planting Location: Consider planting the Butterflies Magnolia at the edge of a wooded area. This will allow the tree to blend into the woodland when in leaf and be center stage in the front when in bloom.

Hardiness: These flowering trees are hardy from zone 5 to 9, thriving in both cooler and warmer areas. They grow the best in deep, organic, and well-drained soil. To receive the best results, water regularly during normal summer drought.

Pruning: Pruning should be limited to removing any dead branches.

The Butterflies Magnolia has a long history! The tree was created in the early 1980s by Philip J. Savage. He took pollen from a Chinese native magnolia, Magnolia x soulangeana, and fertilized flowers on a cucumber tree, Magnolia acuminata. This cross is the American magnolia, growing throughout the Appalachians in Ohio and in southern Canada. From the American magnolia, twenty seedlings were grown that turned out to develop the bright yellow flowers Savage was looking for. He called it ‘Butterflies’.