Magnolia is a botanical genus containing approximately 90 different species of flowering trees and shrubs that are known for their characteristic fragrant blossoms which bloom in shades of pink, white, purple or yellow. The magnolia genus contains both deciduous and evergreen species, which can be successfully cultivated in temperate and tropical climates, respectively. If your magnolia tree fails to bloom, check to ensure that you are providing it with the conditions it needs for healthy growth and prolific blooming.
Sunlight and Soil Requirements
Magnolia trees grow and bloom best in full sun locations that provide well-drained soil and good air circulation, according to the Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension. When selecting a planting site for your magnolia tree, look for a spot that receives direct sunlight for six to eight hours each day; magnolias require a minimum of four hours of direct daily sunlight to produce their characteristic blossoms. Amend the soil at the selected location with organic materials to improve its nutrition, aeration and drainage; till equal parts peat moss, aged manure, well-rotted compost and perlite into the soil to a depth of 24 inches. For best results, plant the magnolia tree at the same level it was growing in its nursery container.
Magnolia trees require regular irrigation throughout the growing season to ensure they have the moisture necessary to produce abundant blossoms. Provide your magnolia with 1 inch of supplemental irrigation each week during the spring and summer months to keep the surrounding soil consistently moist. Reduce the frequency or amount of irrigation, if necessary, to prevent the soil from becoming soggy or waterlogged; magnolia trees have a shallow root system that will quickly rot if left in standing water.
Fertilise magnolia trees in the early spring using a slow-release fertiliser specially formulated for acid-loving plants such as Rhododendrons. Consult the application instructions on the fertiliser packaging before fertilising your magnolia tree; according to Southern Living, magnolia trees are especially susceptible to salt damage due to over-fertilisation. Salt-damaged magnolia trees may present leaves with brown, burnt-looking edges and oftentimes fail to bloom entirely.
The pruning requirements for magnolia varies depending on whether you have a deciduous or evergreen magnolia tree. Prune evergreen magnolia trees in the early spring, before new growth is observed, to remove branches that are diseased, damaged, dead, crossing or rubbing. Deciduous magnolia trees should be pruned each year after the tree has finished blooming; cut any diseased, damaged or dead branches from the tree with a sharpened and sterilised pruning saw. Pruning your magnolia tree will help it to grow and bloom more vigorously the following growing season.
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- "The Gardener's Guide to Planting and Growing Trees"; Mike Buffi; 2007
- Clemson University Cooperative Extension; Magnolia; Debbie Shaughnessy, et al.; May 1999
- University of Florida Extension; Magnolias; Gary W. Knox; June 1993
- Texas A&M; University AgriLife Extension: East Texas Gardening -- Magnolias
- Southern Living: Complete Guide to Magnolia Trees