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How to Grow a Magnolia Tree

Magnolia trees can be a beautiful part of your landscape if you live in zones 7a to 10a. Plant the tree in an area of your property with full to partial sun and plenty of room for the magnolia to grow. Select a cultivar that has been grafted, not grown from seed, if you’d like to see blooms before the tree is 15 years old. Magnolia trees that are not grown from seed tend to blossom in three years; the cultivar, Little Gem, will bloom earlier.

Dig a hole that’s at least twice as wide as the root ball on the magnolia tree and slightly deeper than its growing container. Plant your magnolia in the fall if you live in the south and in the spring if you live in the north. Magnolias enjoy soil that is slightly acidic and that drains well.

Add a 2-inch layer of quality potting soil to the bottom of the hole. Remove the magnolia tree from the growing container and squeeze the roots to awaken them. Place the tree in the hole and fill in around it with more potting soil. The top of the root ball should be level with the ground soil line.

Water the soil around the tree. The potting soil will settle; add more potting soil and water again. Make sure that your magnolia tree receives at least 1 inch of water each week for life, and more if you live in a dry climate.

Add a 3-inch layer of organic mulch around the tree. Mound the mulch from the center at the trunk, tapering downward away from the tree in the summer. Move the mulch away from the trunk in the fall.

Fertilize the magnolia tree with water-soluble fertilizer in the spring and fall. Feed your magnolia once each month during the growing season in the spring, and once in late August or early September.

Feed its roots if your magnolia tree is not blooming by the fourth year. Use a crowbar to make 8- to 12-inch holes that are spaced 6 inches apart around the tree's drip line (where the outermost branches and leaves end). Add super phosphate to each of the holes according to the manufacturer’s directions.

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