How To Take Care of A Magnolia Tree – Full Magnolia Tree Care Guide

These are low maintenance trees that grow well in neutral to acidic soil, full sun, and ample space to branch out.

Magnolia Tree Care

jeewan chandra/Maryviolet/Mike_Pellinni/cweimer4/istockphoto


Magnolias are flowering trees that are considered Southern icons. These plants usually have white colossal blossoms with a strong fragrance. The trees are famed for their big, glossy foliage and for their strength. The trees are also recognized for their extremely long lives.


Magnolia tree care is relatively easy, and with a little attention, magnolias can thrive for many years. They are known for their large, fragrant flowers that bloom in the spring.


When caring for a Magnolia tree, it is important to give them plenty of space to grow. They prefer full sun to partial shade and need moist, well-drained soil.


Also, remember to fertilize your Magnolia tree in the spring and prune it as needed to keep them healthy and looking its best.


How To Take Care of A Magnolia Tree?

Care of A Magnolia Tree



Caring for a Magnolia plant is not difficult or time-consuming. To take care of Magnolia plants, keep them in a sheltered spot, away from strong winds, water the plants regularly, and fertilize them every few weeks. Prune them back in late winter or early spring to encourage new growth.


A. The ideal place to plant a Magnolia tree (sunny spot or shade)

Magnolias prefer full exposure to sunlight along with hot and humid weather but they can also tolerate full shade if the weather is warm enough.


Ideally, try to plant the Magnolias in areas that receive moderate amounts of sunlight throughout the day or in partial shade.


B. When to plant a Magnolia plant

Deciduous Magnolias can be planted during late fall or winter in warmer countries while they can be planted during early spring in colder areas.

Evergreen Magnolias need to be planted during the early spring months throughout the world. These plants can survive tough weather conditions and have adapted to almost all kinds of seasons.


C. How much space does a Magnolia tree need?

Magnolia Tree

Jayantibhai Movaliya/istockphoto


There are different varieties of Magnolia trees that require different amounts of space for growing. The smaller varieties take up 5 meters of space while the larger varieties take up about 10 m of space.


The usual Magnolias grow up to a height of about 40 to 80 meters so make sure when you plant a Magnolia tree outdoors, that there are no overhead wires or billboards.


D. Do Magnolias require mulching?

Magnolias are slow-growers but they grow faster and healthier when mulch is applied to the soil. Magnolias appreciate mulches such as oak leaves and peat moss.


When making a compost pile, if you are adding pine needles, do not add it more than 10%. This is because when pine needles disintegrate into the soil, they make the soil slightly acidic which is preferred by Magnolia plants.


You can add a two inch layer of pine bark or needles to the top of your magnolia plant soil. Give the tree trunk around 6-8 inches of space and then start mulching. This will prevent root rots and keep rodents away as well.


E. The ideal temperature to keep Magnolias healthy

The ideal temperature for the healthy growth of a Magnolia tree ranges from 20 to 26 degrees Celsius because Magnolias prefer relatively warmer weather for their proper growth.


This kind of temperature condition is usually found in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Hence, Magnolias are native to warm temperate and subtropical regions of Asia, North America, and Central America. They prefer warm weather because they are not at all tolerant of frost.


F. Ideal soil type for Magnolia trees

Ideal Soil Type for Magnolia Trees



If you want to know how to care for a magnolia plant, the soil type plays a very crucial role here. Magnolias prefer a rich, loamy, well-drained type of soil that contains sufficient nutrients in the form of organic matter.


The pH scale of the soil should range from 5 to 7 which means that the soil should be neutral or slightly acidic in nature.


Magnolias can grow in all kinds of soil even if the quality of the soil is poor but has enough nutrients.


G. How much water do Magnolias require?

In order to know how to take care of a Magnolia tree, one must know what the watering needs of the plants are. Prior to germinating, it is advised to supply the Magnolia plants with an inch or two of water to get them established.


Water the plant once or twice a week for 6 months after planting the seeds. Try to protect the plants from heavy rainfalls and do not over-water them. Make sure to protect the plant from heavy rainfall in case the plant has been planted outdoors.


After the seeds have germinated and the plant has started to steadily grow and bloom, reduce watering the plant to once a week and only increase the amount to thrice a week during the hot and dry months.


H. Magnolia tree feeding needs

Newly planted Magnolias require fertilization and show significant improvement in color and quality once they are added.


You can use granular, liquid, or spike type fertilizers for a Magnolia plant which contains phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen in a ratio of 1:2:4. The nitrogen helps with the green foliage of Magnolias and the potassium helps the plant to produce a healthy blossom.


You can add the fertilizer to your plant once a year, three to four weeks before flowering for the best results.


I. When to prune a Magnolia tree?

Ideal Soil Type for Magnolia Trees

Zbynek Pospisil/istockphoto


One of the major aspects of Magnolia tree care, is pruning the Magnolia plant periodically. The best time to prune Magnolias is in late winter or early spring before the tree begins to grow new leaves.


Pruning can help to control the size and shape of the tree, as well as promote new growth. Additionally, pruning can help to remove diseased or damaged branches, which can improve the overall health of the tree.
Pruning magnolias is a delicate process that should be done with great care. The following is a step-by-step guide on how to properly prune a magnolia tree:

  1. First, identify the branches that need to be removed. These are typically dead, diseased, or damaged branches.
  2. Cut these branches back to the main trunk or to a healthy side branch.
  3. When pruning magnolias, it is important to make clean cuts. Use a sharp pruning saw or shears to avoid ripping or tearing the bark.
  4. Be careful not to over-prune the tree. Remove only the necessary branches to maintain the health and shape of the tree.


All About Magnolia Tree Care In A Pot

Magnolia Tree Care In A Pot



The size of pots suitable for growing Magnolias depends on the size of the plant. For example, a Magnolia plant that is 2 feet (60 cm) tall would need a pot that is at least 2.5 feet (75 cm) wide and 3.5 feet (105 cm) deep.


The soil in which you pot the plant should be slightly acidic, rich in nutrients, and well-drained in nature. While choosing a spot indoors, make sure the spot receives adequate sunlight throughout the day.


When repotting a Magnolia tree, it is important to use a well-draining potting mix and to water the tree regularly. The tree should also be protected from direct sunlight and wind


The steps for repotting and understanding how to care for Magnolia trees are given below:

  1. Choose a pot that is slightly larger than the current pot and has drainage holes at the bottom.
  2. Place a layer of gravel or rocks in the bottom of the pot for drainage.
  3. Add a layer of potting mix to the pot.
  4. Remove the Magnolia tree from its current pot and gently loosen the roots.
  5. Place the tree in the new pot and fill in around the roots with potting mix.
  6. Water the tree well and place it in a location that receives indirect sunlight.


Are Pests and Diseases A Concern for Magnolias?

Magnolias are susceptible to a limited number of pests and diseases that includes aphids, scale, mites, borers, and root rot. Aphids can bend and distort leaves and produce a sticky material that attracts other pests.


Scale can induce yellowing and premature leaf loss, as well as infest stems and blooms. Mites can cause yellowing and dropping of leaves, as well as damage to flowers.


Borers can cause structural damage by tunneling into the trunk and branches. Root rot can cause the roots to die, preventing the tree from absorbing water and nutrients.

Related: Why is my magnolia tree dying?


Q. How to perform magnolia tree care in winter?

Ans: Magnolias are known to prefer hot and humid weather and are intolerant towards extreme cold temperatures. Therefore, listed here are a few things you can do to protect your magnolia plant in winter:


– Wrap the trunk and main branches in burlap or another type of protective material.
– Mulch around the base of the plant to help insulate the roots.
– If possible, move the plant to a sheltered location where it will be protected from strong winds and harsh weather.


Q. Can you keep a magnolia tree indoors?

Ans: It is possible to grow a Magnolia plant indoors, but it may not thrive as well as it would in outdoor conditions. You can make a Magnolia plant grow indoors by keeping it in a pot and watering it regularly. You will also need to give it some sunlight every day.


Q. Why are the leaves on my magnolia tree turning brown?

Ans: The leaves on your Magnolia tree may be turning brown for several reasons. Some possible causes include:

  1. Drought stress
  2. Nutrient deficiency
  3. Pest or disease infestation
  4. Environmental stressors such as frost or wind damage


If you are unsure of the cause, it is best to consult with a certified arborist or tree care specialist. They will be able to diagnose the problem and recommend a course of treatment.


Q. Are Coffee Grounds Good for magnolia trees?

Ans: This depends on the pH of the soil. Magnolia trees are known to prefer soil that has a pH less than 7, that is, soil that is acidic in nature, and coffee grounds, when added to the soil make the soil more acidic.


Therefore, if your soil is alkaline in nature then you can go on to add coffee grounds to the soil to make it acidic in nature and therefore, suitable for the growth of Magnolias.


However, adding coffee grounds to a soil that is already acidic in nature can be counter-productive as it will make the soil extremely acidic.


Magnolias tree care is super easy. Magnolia species are not even prone to diseases and pests. You can start growing them in pots or containers as well. They just need warm temperatures, the right feed, and adequate watering to thrive.