Growing Teddy Bear Magnolia in Pots

Written By:
Scott Carroll
Published On:
May 11, 2023
Flowering magnolia

Teddy Bear magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) is a small, evergreen tree with huge, glossy leaves and fragrant white flowers. This magnificent plant is ideal for container gardening, letting you enjoy its compelling presence in smaller gardens or on your patio. 

On this page, we will walk you through choosing the correct container, planting, and caring for your potted Teddy Bear magnolia.

Selecting the right container

Choosing the right container as a pot is critical for growing a Teddy Bear magnolia in a pot effectively. Essentially, there are a few aspects that you must keep in mind, which we will go over below. 


To give your young tree ample room to grow, we recommend starting with a container at least 50-60 cm in diameter and depth. Additionally, you will need to increase the container size as the tree grows to accommodate its expansion. A larger, deeper pot facilitates root development and stability.


Additionally, you must consider the following materials and analyse their merits and downsides when choosing a container for your Teddy Bear magnolia. 

  • Plastic: Plastic pots are lightweight and inexpensive, but they may not provide appropriate insulation. They can also deteriorate over time if exposed to sunshine. 
  • Terracotta: Have a traditional, natural appearance and are porous, facilitating air movement and moisture evaporation. They are, however, heavier, more prone to breaking, and may necessitate more regular watering due to moisture evaporation.
  • Ceramic: Provide excellent insulation and come in various patterns and colours, making them visually appealing. On the negative, they can be fragile, expensive, and heavy, making them difficult to transport.
  • Fibreglass: Well-known for their lightweight toughness and weather resistance, they come in several customisable patterns that provide adequate insulation. Fibreglass pots are, however, more expensive than other alternatives, and lower-quality pots may fade or discolour over time.

When selecting the proper material for your Teddy Bear magnolia container, we recommend carefully weighing elements like weight, insulation, and longevity.


In addition to choosing the proper material, ensure your container has many drainage holes. This will aid in the prevention of soggy soil and root rot, both of which are harmful to the health of your Teddy Bear magnolia.

How to grow teddy bear magnolia in pots

Planting the Teddy Bear magnolia

Now that you’ve selected the perfect container, it’s time to plant your Teddy Bear magnolia.

The first step is to select an aerated, well-draining potting mix that allows oxygen to reach the roots and promotes healthy growth. 

Osmocote Professional Premium, Debco Superior, and Brunnings Garden Soil are suitable Australian potting mixes that we prefer for this type of tree, as each combination provides adequate drainage and aeration for your tree.

Then simply follow our planting process:

  1. Fill the container halfway with potting mix, leaving room for your tree’s root ball.
  2. Remove the tree carefully from its nursery container and loosen the root ball.
  3. Place the tree in the container, ensuring the root ball’s top is levelled with the soil surface.
  4. Fill up any gaps with potting soil, gently tamping it down.
  5. Thoroughly water the soil to settle it and eliminate air pockets.

Ensure that you plant your tree as deep as possible without damaging the roots, slowing its growth.

Ongoing care for potted Teddy Bear magnolia

Once you’ve planted your Teddy Bear magnolia, the work doesn’t stop! Consistent care is essential for your Teddy Bear magnolia’s health and vigour. 

Below, we’ll take you through some of the essentials when providing ongoing care to your Teddy Bear magnolia. 


Water your tree regularly to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Overwatering can induce root rot, while underwatering can result in leaf drop. Watch for signs of stress on your plant and adapt your watering regime accordingly.


In the spring and summer, fertilise your Teddy Bear magnolia using a slow-release, balanced fertiliser formulated for flowering trees. Some preferred fertilisers we tend to use are:

  • Osmocote Plus Trace Elements
  • Dynamic Lifter
  • Thrive Granular All Purpose

In sum, fertilisation regularly encourages healthy growth and flowering. 


Pruning is essential for keeping your Teddy Bear magnolia in shape and fostering new growth. The optimal time to prune in Australia is late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Remove any dead or damaged limbs, and cut back any branches that are excessively long or interfering with the overall contour of the tree. Over-pruning can stress the tree and reduce blossom yield.


Your Teddy Bear magnolia may overflow its current pot as it grows. Roots sprouting from drainage holes, poor growth, or the tree becoming top-heavy indicate that it’s time to update. Gently remove the tree from its current container and place it in a larger pot filled with fresh potting mix to repot. Be careful not to injure the roots during this operation since this will stunt the growth of your tree.

Pest and disease management

Scale insects, mealybugs, and fungal leaf spots are some of the most frequent pests and diseases that harm Australian magnolia plants. Regularly inspect your tree for symptoms of infestation or illness and treat it as needed. For pest and disease control, insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils (such as neem or eco oil), and fungicides are among recommended treatments. Always read the label and seek professional advice if you need further clarification.

Winter care for potted Teddy Bear magnolia

Winter maintenance for your Teddy Bear magnolia in Australia is vital as it prepares for a new season of growth. Reduce watering somewhat throughout the winter as the tree’s development slows and requires less moisture. 

Moreover, we recommend avoiding heavy trimming during this period since it can stress the tree and make it more prone to cold damage. If you would like more information on winter care, check out this great resource on

Overall, pruning in the winter exposes the tree to extreme conditions, which can compromise its capacity to recuperate and thrive in the following season. 


Growing and caring for a Teddy Bear magnolia in a pot may be a gratifying experience, resulting in a beautiful, fragrant focal point in your yard or outdoor space. You can enjoy this tree’s beauty for years by carefully selecting the correct container, planting it, and providing continuous maintenance. Enjoy the pleasures of container gardening and the allure of the Teddy Bear magnolia.