Magnolia xsoulangeana, most commonly known as the Saucer Magnolia, is a small flowering tree belonging to the Magnoliaceae family. It is an interspecific hybrid of M. denudate and M. liliiflora, both of which are native to China. It is considered cold hardy through USDA Hardiness Zones 5a, but can be found down through Zone 4b. The tree has a rope-like root system that stays within the first 0.3 meters of soil, and the tree prefers to grow in well-drained, moist soils. The next phase for M. xsoulangeana is to expand its market into woody decorative cuttings through sustainable greenhouse container production. Propagation would still be primarily through the use of stem cuttings, but instead of transplanting the rooted cuttings into the field the following year, they would be planted into their final containers and maintained in a greenhouse. During the winter, the greenhouse would not need to have additional lighting, and the temperatures in the greenhouse would only have to be maintained to the point where the root
systems of the magnolias are not killed. Harvesting of the stems would occur in the early spring, and potentially in the summer if re-blooming types were used. In order to make this system function properly and be sustainable, breeders would need to select smaller cultivars that have a tolerance to drought. Smaller trees would make the system more manageable and give the producer the ability to maintain more trees. Root circling and girdling from the container’s restriction would also need to be overcome. Ideally, these smaller cultivars would also have smaller root systems, however it may still be necessary to use copper-coated containers, airpruning containers, or fabric containers. Research would need to be done to determine the
effectiveness of each method. Drought tolerance would make the system more sustainable in that less water would be needed to maintain the plants. Other traits that should be bred for or maintained in the cultivar include longer vase life, color variety, and growth rate, the ability to re-bloom, and higher quality second blooms.