Magnolia leaves are beautiful for home and seasonal decor. From everyday, to Thanksgiving & Christmas, here are 25 ways to decorate with magnolia leaves.
Hosting a party… celebrating the holidays… need a new wreath? Decorate with magnolia leaves for any of these occasions (and any time of year). The Magnolia is an evergreen tree and a classic choice for natural decor.
We have a gorgeous, massive, Magnolia tree in our backyard. During the holidays it is free seasonal decor, right out our back steps. I may never buy faux garland again. Magnolia trees are speckled throughout our tiny town and are an iconic natural beauty in the south.
If you have access to a magnolia tree, you’ll have plenty of magnolia leaves to decorate for the holidays – for free!
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What is a Magnolia Tree?
While there are many varieties of magnolia, the most well-known is the Southern Magnolia. These trees can grow over 60 feet tall and over 30 feet wide. They are big trees with plenty of limbs for decorating projects.
The Southern Magnolia is an evergreen tree with large, glossy, dark-green leaves. During the summer it will blossom, creating large, white flowers.
In addition to the whites and greens of a magnolia, the leaf also has a warm brown tone on the underside – offering even more for your decorating palette!
Why decorate with Magnolia leaves?
Magnolia is great for decorating during the holidays or for events (weddings, showers, special birthdays).
Large and relatively rigid, the leaves hold their shape on table settings, in wreaths, and in floral arrangements. Like the magnolia leaf, the stem is also sturdy, making it ideal for craft projects.
You don’t have to be gentle with these leaves. Wrap floral wire around the stems and arrange them as you like: in a swag, on a wreath, or in a centerpiece.
The surface of the magnolia leaf is a glossy, waxy finish that is not only stunning; but lends itself to other uses. For example, writing on a magnolia leaf is one of my favorite ways to use this pretty plant. Adorn gifts, create place cards, or label party favors with a magnolia leaf.
Plus, the underside of the leaf offers an additional color to mix in to wreaths and floral arrangements.
How to Decorate with Magnolia Leaves and Blossoms
With garden clippers, select low branches and limbs that can use pruning. Clip individual leaves or sections of branches, depending on your project.
Magnolia leaves dry beautifully, so they don’t have to be placed in water. Be aware that there will be some curling to the leaves as they dry. So, if you want them to be flatter, pick the leaf fresh prior to when it will be used.
Rather than simply letting the leaves dry, you can also preserve magnolia leaves for holiday decorating.
Magnolia blossoms can be clipped, too; but they will need to be placed into water.
25+ Ways to Decorate with Magnolia Leaves & Blossoms
These rich, evergreen leaves can work for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and more. Here are over 25 ideas to get you inspired to go clip some Magnolia branches.
Note: yes, a few of these aren’t magnolia, but they still inspire me to go clip beautiful magnolia leaves from our tree.
25+ Ways to Decorate with Magnolia
Magnolia Leaves are beautiful for home and seasonal decor. From everyday, to Thanksgiving & Christmas, here are over 25 ways to decorate with Magnolia Leaves.
Pumpkin, Succulent, and Magnolia Leaf Thanksgiving Centerpiece
Fill a vintage wicker tray with pumpkins and succulents set atop a bed of magnolia leaves. Place a glass candle in the center for a touch of elegance.
Glitter-Dipped Magnolia Leaves
Dip magnolia leaves in shimmery glitter (or try this less-messy method) to use in holiday decor. Use them to adorn napkin rings, tuck them into a wreath, or place them atop presents.
Magnolia Leaf and Candle Centerpiece
Simply place several leaves around white candles in clear votives. Add in eucalyptus and elegant feather (Dog Fennel Eupatorium) for additional texture.
Magnolia Leaf Garland
Make a garland from magnolia leaves (real or faux) for your holiday mantel. This classic green can be used for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter - just switch out the other decor on the mantel to coordinate with each holiday.
Magnolia, Pumpkins, and Gourds Centerpiece
Tuck magnolia leaves around a collection of pumpkins and gourds. Arrange them in a wooden dough bowl.
Magnolia Branches and Candles
Cut magnolia branches to make this simple Christmas centerpiece. Mix in glass candle holders and birch pillars for an assortment of textures.
Preserved Magnolia Leaf Rectangle Wreath
Preserve magnolia leaves so you can use them year after year. Arrange them in a rectangle shape for a modern take on a wreath (don't you love the added evergreen sprigs, too!?).
Magnolia Leaves and Blossoms in a Christmas Tree
Give your Christmas tree southern style with magnolia blossoms. The pop of white petals and glossy leaves complement the deep greens of a Christmas tree.
Magnolia, Lanterns, and Pumpkin Porch Decor
After Halloween, swap out the orange pumpkins on your porch with this simple arrangement. Place a group of magnolia clippings, small white pumpkins, and a lantern at the end of each step.
Magnolia Leaves on the Mantel
Line the top of your Christmas mantel with magnolia leaves in lieu of buying garland. The leaves add color, depth, and texture to a holiday mantel.
Glass Ornaments and Magnolia Leaf Centerpiece
Place shiny ornaments on a bed of magnolia leaves. This would be a great way to show off antique glass ornaments that have been passed down in your family.
Magnolia Leaf Chandelier
Transform your chandelier for the holidays by wrapping the base in magnolia leaves. Make sure to mix the direction of the leaves, so that you get a lovely mix of greens and browns from the view, below.
Cross-Shaped Magnolia Leaf Wreath
Create the shape of a cross and attach magnolia leaves with floral wire - making a cross-shaped wreath. Attach several magnolia leaves upside down to get a mixture of greens and browns in the wreath.
Fall Place Cards
Use the brown underside of magnolia leaves as place cards for a fall wedding or dinner party. Write the names with a calligraphy pen for an elegant touch.
Christmas Place Setting
For Christmas, lay a magnolia leaf place card across the center of each plate. Use a chalk marker to write on the glossy topside of the leaf.
Magnolia Leaf Swag for a Lantern Post
Create a swag with magnolia leaves and tie it around a lantern post for the holidays. Add berries for a pop of color.
Magnolia Leaf and Lantern Centerpiece
Tuck magnolia tree clippings beneath a lantern for a simple centerpiece. Fill the lantern with candles for a charming glow.
Magnolia Leaf Gift Tags
Write names on individual leaves and tie scrap fabric around the stem. Tie the fabric ribbon around a gift for a simple, rustic, gift wrap idea.
Magnolia Leaf Chair Garland
Dress up a chair by making a magnolia leaf garland to drape across the chair's back. It's the perfect adornment for the guest of honor at a bridal shower, baby shower, or special birthday.
Evergreen Wreath with Magnolia Leaves
Tuck leaves into a basic evergreen wreath. Use both sides of the magnolia leaf to add rich glossy green and warm brown tones to the wreath.
Hanging Door Swags
Create gorgeous all-green door swags with green ribbons, green ornaments, and magnolia leaves.
Magnolia Branch Centerpiece
Lay several branches down along the center of the table. Weave the branches between large white pillar candles for a simple centerpiece.
Painted Magnolia Leaves
Paint magnolia leaves in a bright array of shimmery tones. Afterward, tuck them in a wreath, or create a garland with them.
Pillar Candle Wrap
Wrap pillar candles with magnolia leaves and white ribbon for festive - and simple - Christmas decor.
Magnolia Leaf Arrangement
Who knew that an arrangement of magnolia leaves could be so elegant? Stuff a shallow vase full with leaves for maximum impact.
Brooksville Florida Wedding
Tuck a single magnolia leaf into folded napkins for Thanksgiving dinner. Give it a gold tip for a little extra glam!
Magnolia Leaf Wreath Accent
Add natural magnolia leaves to any wreath with a small accent piece. Simply bunch several leaves to together with floral wire to create a small spray of leaves.
Magnolia Leaf Swag for Wall Decor
Create a swag of magnolia leaves to adorn the top of a mirror, a chalkboard, or artwork in your home for the holidays. This idea would be lovely over an entryway mirror, or a large piece of art above the sofa.
Patricia C. Staples
Wednesday 18th of November 2020
Preserve the leaves by painting the leaves( including the stem and outer edges) with Mod Podge
Thursday 19th of November 2020
I love this idea, Patricia! Thanks for sharing <3!
Wednesday 20th of November 2019
What is the best way to keep them fresh when putting in a wreath, swag or mantel. I live in Florida and use them all over my house year round. Would like to know if there is a way to keep them greener longer? Thank you for you help.
Saturday 30th of November 2019
That's a great question! I've only left them up for short periods, and haven't done anything to preserve them. There are some tutorials for "preserving magnolia" online, but they generally required more work/products than I wanted to buy for the short time we had our branches out. Sorry that I'm not more help! If you find out, I'd love to hear what you learn :)
Wednesday 17th of January 2018
Oh!l. I love every project shown! Have an idea to hang a garland on a dry manzanita tree! Can you send to Puerto Rico? Or where i can buy these! I prefer dry ones! Thanks for your time!
Wednesday 17th of January 2018
I don't sell them, but search Etsy.com for dry magnolia wreaths or dry magnolia garlands - thanks!
Saturday 21st of November 2015
I love magnolia trees! Definitely going to need to do a few of these, thank you!
Saturday 21st of November 2015
You're welcome! Aren't there some beautiful ideas? How to pick? :)
Saturday 7th of November 2015
I am loving this! I grew up with a huge magnolia tree in my front yard and it was the first thing we planted when we moved into our home. Very beautiful ideas!
Sunday 8th of November 2015
Yes, they are such beautiful trees! I was so happy to have one when we bought this home.