Magnolia Tree Lifespan: Do They Live Long?

Magnolias can live up to a hundred years under the right growing conditions

Magnolia Trees Live

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Magnolias are beautiful trees known for their ornamental blooms. Among all its varieties the saucer magnolia is everyone’s favorite. But, if saucer magnolia is not your preferred choice, you can check out other different types of magnolia trees. They are found in varied colors and shapes and can bring everyone’s attention to your garden.
These trees, however, require a long time to grow & establish. But, all your efforts are worth the wait because once the magnolia trees get set up, they can live for a very long time.
So, thinking about magnolia tree’s lifespan – how much it is? Well, to your surprise, most species of magnolia trees can happily thrive for as long as 80-120 years. These trees continue to produce lovely clusters of flowers even as they grow old. Just remember a healthy bloom is only possible when you give your magnolia the proper environment to grow and the right care.
Here we’ve everything you need to know about the magnolia tree’s long lifespan and the factors that highly affect it.

How Long Do Magnolia Trees Live?

Magnolia Trees Live


As per Duke University, the magnolia trees have a quite long lifespan of more than 100 years. On average, these trees can live from 80 to 120 years, with proper care. If you have a magnolia tree at home, look for which variety is it for a more precise answer.
Apart from the variety, there are many other factors that can affect the magnolia’s growth rate & lifespan like location, sun exposure, soil type, etc. If not given proper attention, it can negatively affect the quality and duration of the magnolia tree’s life.
For example, if your tree is placed in an area that has improper soil, it can often obstruct the tree’s growing root structure. As a result, the tree may not get sufficient nutrients necessary for flourishing.

What Affects Magnolia Tree’s Lifespan?

Magnolia Trees Lifespan

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Magnolia trees take time to spread and establish their roots. When planting any type of magnolia, you must take care to provide a favorable environment to boost its growth.
For example, if you reside in a winter region, protect your tree from harsh and cold winds. Remember Magnolia trees don’t like to be frequently transplanted, have irregular watering, and sudden weather changes.
There are innumerable other factors that influence magnolia tree life expectancy. So, we’ve rounded up a list of such factors to help you grow healthy magnolia tree varieties.

A. Watering needs

Magnolia trees don’t need frequent watering to flourish quickly. However, you should water it deeply at least once in seven days to help it settle its deep root system quickly. However, you should water it more often during hot and dry months of the year.
After reaching the age of maturity, the tree will be easily able to survive even in drought-prone regions. You can even add the best root mulch to help the magnolia tree to hold moisture for a long time. It will allow your tree to bloom a lot of healthy and beautiful flowers.

B. Soil type

The type of soil chosen also determines how long does a magnolia tree live. These trees do well in free-draining and acidic soil mixtures. Whether you grow it in your backyard or indoor container, make sure to maintain an ideal pH level from 6 to 6.5.
While using clay soil, make sure to adjust it so your tree can grow trouble-free and quickly. Remember it requires consistent moisture in soils.

C. Location

Magnolia trees prefer to grow in full exposure to the sun. But unlike many blooming trees, it can also survive in partial shade. However, if you reside in an area with hot temperature conditions, make sure to offer it light sunlight. This is particularly useful when magnolia trees are in their initial or young growing stage.
Try to give adequate space to its roots so that they can flourish deeply. The ideal space should be around 40 feet.
Remember that location plays an important role in enhancing magnolia tree lifespan. If you have a compact space, it would be wise to pick a small variety of magnolias. However, you should regularly check if it is showing a smooth growth process or not.

D. Fertilizer

If you are ready to witness several healthy blossoms and dark foliage on your magnolia tree, try adding a rich quality fertilizer. Using a potassium-rich fertilizer is a great option during the hot summer months.
While in the spring season it is best to apply nitrogen-rich and slow-releasing fertilizer. The moment your tree starts to grow flowers, it is the best time to use bloom fertilizer. It should be done before your tree is fully mature and you want to see more healthy flowers on it.
Related: How to prune the magnolia tree?

How To Tell The Age Of A Magnolia Tree?

The Age Of A Magnolia Tree


Generally, the age of a tree can be determined by its mature size. However, it won’t give you a precise estimate. So, the best way to determine its age is to measure its trunk size (girth). Note its girth from 1 meter above the ground and divide it by 2.5. This will give you its approx. age in years.
If the tree has fallen down you can also count the rings on its trunk to tell its age.
When it comes to magnolia tree’s life expectancy, you should keep in mind its ability to produce flowers. You should know that most varieties of these trees start producing flowers only when they reach 10 years of maturity.
Likewise, if your magnolia tree has started seed production, then it might be at least 15 years old. Most of them start releasing seeds at the age of 20 to 25 years.

How Do You Know If Your Magnolia Tree Is Dying?

Magnolia Tree Is Dying

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Although magnolia trees are popular to survive in cold and harsh zones, like all other trees they too are prone to certain diseases. It can be due to various factors and usually result in damages like leaves turning brown. If these problems are not treated in time, your plant might even die. So, how you can figure out if your magnolia is dying?
A few most common reasons can be disease, damage from frost, lack of nutrients, or inadequate water. Sometimes your tree might get attacked by a prevalent fungus known as verticillium wilt. It most often leads to the death of mature trees. Likewise, plant diseases like cankers can also damage your tree’s branches.
Keeping in mind how old do magnolia trees live, if you notice magnolia leaves changing color to brown during the spring season, it can be due to frost damage. However, it might not lead to your tree’s death but it can definitely affect its appeal and growth.
Additionally, nutrition deficiency can also make your tree leaves fall off or turn brown. In this case, you should get its soil checked properly to ensure it has favorable contents.
The most important factor for your tree’s brown leaves can be insufficient watering. Although heavy winds can also cause your foliage to dry out and fall off, you should keep its soil moist to prevent your tree from dying.


Q. How far from the house should you plant a magnolia tree?

Ans. Generally, it is not simple to figure out at what distance you should plant your magnolia tree from home. But you must try to plant it about 40 – 50 feet away from your home. So, when the tree matures, it will not cause any trouble to the foundation of your house.

Q. What is the life cycle of a magnolia tree?

Ans. Magnolia trees life expectancy can go from 80 -120 years. It can be grown from seed or by other methods of propagation. With the right magnolia care, the seeds germinate in 30-40 days. Further, they grow into 2 – 4 inches wide saplings. By the end of a season, they are sturdy enough to be transplanted to a permanent location.
After going through their juvenile stage (20-25 years), magnolia trees finally start blooming stunning flowers. After 60-70 years its golden days are almost over.

Q. How can you tell if a magnolia tree is healthy?

Ans. It is easy to know if your magnolia tree is in a good shape or not. Since we know how long do magnolia trees live, if the tree shows deteriorating signs before that, it could be an alarming sign. You just need to look out for some common signs of damage like leaf discoloration, leaves turning yellow, and weak/damaged branches.
If your tree’s growth has stunted or slowed down, it can be an indication of a pest infection or disease. Some common diseases that often affect the health of magnolia trees include verticillium wilt, blights, and leaf spots. When growing a container plant, don’t miss out to check its roots for any signs of a problem.