Magnolias have long been a popular tree in Australia, especially the evergreen Bull Bay Magnolia. Magnolia ‘Teddy Bear’ is one of the latest cultivars of Bull Bay Magnolia, bred to be smaller, more compact, and with large leaves and foliage. ‘Teddy Bear’ has since eclipsed ‘Little Gem’ as the Magnolia of choice, as it is a more vigorous plant with better foliage.
Magnolia ‘Teddy Bear’ is a relatively small and compact Magnolia, growing only to 4-6m. It is usually a very dense grower and will bloom on and off right through the year. Contrary to popular opinion, we find that Magnolia ‘Teddy Bear’ is NOT a slow growing plant. It grows fairly fast up here in the sub-tropics and has a long growing season.
Magnolias such as ‘Teddy Bear’ are best grown in full sun as a feature tree. They shouldn’t require any pruning at all if they are healthy and growing strongly. That said, they are sometimes clipped into a hedge, or even grown as an espalier! However, we don’t recommend inexperienced gardeners try to grow them in this style. Best enjoyed as a feature tree.
Like other M. grandiflora varieties, they suffer few major pest and disease issues if grown properly. Mealybugs and scale can be an issue in summer, but are usually easy to treat. Leaves will brown at the tips or edges if the plant doesn’t receive adequate water during hot weather. If growth is weak or the plant is otherwise not thriving, it’s often due to poor soils or insufficient feeding. Poor growth can also be from insufficient light. Magnolias always look their best in full sun, at least 5-6 hours of sun per day.
Easy to grow. Once established, Magnolia ‘Teddy Bear’ will require very little maintenance. Pruning other than minor trimming is not required or recommended. Regular fertilizing with products such as Troforte and Organic Link will produce fast results and a vigorous plant. Mealybug and scale may present during warmer weather, often on the underside of leaves and on old flower heads.