SF’s Magnificent Magnolia Bloom Has Begun
One of San Francisco’s most breathtaking natural marvels, the annual bloom of more than 200 rare and historic magnolias with trees reaching 80 feet, is typically at its peak from mid-January through March at the SF Botanical Garden.
Velvety silver buds on the often bare branches of these elegant trees, many rare and historic, open into dazzling pink, magenta, and white flowers, filling the wintery garden with dramatic splashes of color and sweetly fragrant scents.
Current Status (as of Jan 19, 2021): The beautiful Magnolia campbellii trees have begun to flower and are kicking off the first wave of this years season per the usual schedule.
So much of the scale and drama of each year’s magnolia bloom is weather dependent—warmer temperatures and longer days trigger magnolia flowering—once in bloom flowers can easily be damaged and knocked down by rain, wind, and abnormal freezes. While we hope for more rain this season for California the long-term weather models look to indicate a la nina, more-dry pattern. This does not bode well for our state’s fragile water supply but it does set the table for a nice magnolia display and pleasant visiting conditions.
The magnolias at the Garden bloom progressively over the two and half month long period (mid-Jan-Mar) in waves.
- The first wave in mid January our signature M. campbellii are first to bloom in the Camellia Garden with some M. sprengeri starting around the same time in the Temperate Asia collection and near Fountain Plaza.
- Starting late-January into the first couple weeks of February the bloom crescendos into “peak bloom” with all the various M. campbellii cultivars, M. dawsoniana, M. denudata, and more putting on the best show of the season throughout the areas where there are concentrations of large, beautiful trees—Temperate Asia, Camellia Garden, Moon Viewing Garden, and Rhododendron Garden.
- Late February into March the hybrid M. x. soulangeana, M. x. veitchii , as well as more subtle M. stellata, and M. laevifolia close out the annual display just as all the many other spring blooming plants at the Garden start to flower and fresh foliage begins to push.
From the number of buds and bud swelling to date this year is looking to be a good year for the magnolias – nothing exceptional or alarming – hopeful weather and flowering times coordinate well and we get a beautiful show.
Are the magnolias blooming right now? Please note that weather may affect the blooms and at the beginning or end of the season, there may be fewer blooms than expected.
Garden opens at 7:30am
Last entry varies
– 1st Sunday in November – January: 4pm
– February – 2nd Saturday in March: 5pm
– 2nd Sunday in March – September: 6pm
– FREE for SF residents with proof of ID
– FREE daily from 7:30-9 am (enter via the main gate)
– FREE all day on second Tuesdays of the month
– FREE – Museums for All – All visitors receiving food assistance (SNAP benefits) are offered free general admission. Free admission may be redeemed by presenting a valid EBT card upon entry.
– $9 Weekdays / $12 Weekends for Non-residents | Discounts for Seniors, Families & Children
San Francisco Botanical Garden is home to the most significant magnolia collection for conservation purposes outside China, where the majority of species originated. Its current collection includes 51 species and 33 cultivars including many prized examples from Asia.
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