How to Care for a Magnolia Tree


Magnolias are stately and attractive trees that bring to mind the romance of the old South. They have large, glossy leaves and in spring they develop waxy blooms in a variety of pastel shades, including white, yellow and pink. Magnolias can grow from 15 to 80 feet tall, depending upon the variety. This tree is typically considered a Southern staple, but some newly developed varieties can tolerate much lower temperatures, surviving winters as far north as USDA Hardiness Zone 5.

Step 1

Dig a hole that is twice the width and depth as the roots of the magnolia tree. Plant at the same level that the tree was growing in its original container. Replace the loosened soil and tamp down firmly to remove air pockets.

Step 2

Water until the soil feels very moist, but not soggy. Add a 3- to 5-inch layer of mulch to prevent weeds and help trap moisture.

Step 3

Continue to water whenever the top 1 inch of soil feels dry. Magnolias are drought-tolerant, but will grow best if they receive regular moisture during their first growing season.

Step 4

Feed by sprinkling 1 cup of 10-10-10 fertilizer along the edge of the planting site in March, May and again in July. During the magnolia's second year of growth apply 2 cups of fertilizer, during the third year increase the amount to 4 cups. By the tree's fourth year of growth, you won't need to fertilize it.

Step 5

Prune the magnolia tree regularly to maintain the desired size and shape.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel Mulch 10-10-10 fertilizer Lopping shears


  • University of Florida Extension: Magnolia Grandiflora
  • The United States National Arboretum: Magnolia Questions and Answers
  • Floridata: Magnolia Grandiflora
  • University of Georgia Extension: Growing Southern Magnolia
Keywords: magnolia tree care, magnolia trees, grow magnolia trees, plant magnolia trees

About this Author

Annita Lawson has been working as a freelance writer since 2004. Her work has been published in various web and print outlets, including The Dabbling Mum, A Virtuous Woman, and Pediatrics for Parents. Lawson is pursuing an Associate of Arts degree at Southeast Kentucky Community College. She enjoys sharing all that she has learned about parenting, healthy eating and living a frugal lifestyle.