How to Grow Magnolia Trees


The magnolia tree is a broad-leafed evergreen tree variety that grows wild in areas of East Asia and North and South America. The tree, which grows to approximately 60 feet, produces fragrant, white flowers that bloom during late spring through early summer. The leaves on the tree are shiny with a red undertone. Magnolia trees are hardy to plant in USDA growing zones 6 through 10; in the northern areas, protect them from winter wind and bright sun that can cause stem and trunk scald.

Step 1

Select a planting location for the magnolia tree that has a well draining, acidic soil. The tree prefers light conditions that are full sun to partial shade. Test the soil pH with a home test kit to verify the pH is 5.5 to 6.0. Add ground rock sulfur to lower the pH number and let the soil set for two weeks before planting.

Step 2

Dig a hole for the magnolia tree that is twice the width and slightly deeper than the container the tree came in. Add 2 inches of organic compost to the bottom of the hole. Remove the magnolia from the container and gently loosen the roots. Place the tree in the hole, making sure the top of the root ball is set at ground level. Fill the hole with an even mixture of soil and compost.

Step 3

Water the tree well after planting. Continue to water to keep the soil moist for the first growing season until the tree is established. The magnolia tree is drought resistant; however it will perform better when watered during dry periods in the summer months.

Step 4

Apply mulch in a 3-inch layer around the base of the tree. This will assist with moisture retention and weed management. Do not mulch heavily around the trunk of the tree.

Step 5

Fertilize the tree in the spring and fall seasons with a water-soluble fertilizer. Apply a potash based fertilizer once the buds appear on the tree.

Step 6

Propagate the magnolia tree by taking softwood cuttings in the spring or early summer. The tree can be difficult to propagate, so take several cuttings to ensure success.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil pH test kit
  • Ground rock sulfur
  • Shovel
  • Organic compost
  • Water
  • Mulch
  • Water soluble fertilizer
  • Potash based fertilizer
  • Pruning clipper


  • Tree Details, Magnolia
  • FloriData: Magnolia grandiflora
  • Lets Go Gardening: Magnolias
Keywords: grow magnolia tree, plant magnolia tree, magnolia tree care

About this Author

Jennifer Loucks has over 10 years of experience as a former technical writer for a software development company in Wisconsin. Her writing experience includes creating software documentation and help documents for clients and staff along with training curriculum. Loucks holds a Bachelor of Science major from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls specializing in animal science and business.