How To Grow A Magnolia Tree: The Complete Guide

Wanna know how to grow a magnolia tree? This is the right place to be. The sweet fragrance of magnolias would make you feel at home.

This article offers you the complete guide you are looking for. All information you need is here.


About Magnolias

Magnolia tree flower buds
Magnolia Tree Flower Buds

You will be more eager to know how to grow a magnolia tree after learning more about this plant.

The dramatic leaves and glorious flowers are the reason why magnolias become a garden favorite. This species does not require many treatments.

Likewise, you will only need to take care of the plant a little bit.

Magnolia trees are quite resistant to pests and many kinds of diseases. This is a perfect choice to grow in the southern area.

Therefore, the tree can handle the harsh summers in this area.

The beauty will last all year round. Also, this tree provides a good spot for birds. It will surely complete the soul of your garden.

For your information, there are various species and varieties you can choose from in the magnolia family.

Popular Varieties

Chinese magnolia tree
Chinese Magnolia Tree

You can find out how to grow a magnolia tree of several popular varieties. Here are some of them:

Southern Magnolia

Southern magnolia
Southern Magnolia

This is the familiar kind. Additionally, you will know how to grow a magnolia tree in the southern areas. Well, this variety is known as the state flower of Louisiana and Mississippi.

Furthermore, its height reaches up to 80 inches, whereas its width is 40 inches.

The tree can grow impressively up to 1-2 feet annually. It is popular for its dramatic branches. Besides, the pyramidal shape is one of the good features you will see.

Ring before the summer, and you will enjoy the large blooms that produce fuzzy fruits.

Southern Magnolia is an evergreen tree which means the leaves will be there the whole year. The blooming time will begin around April.

Then, the fruits and seeds come out in the early fall or before.

One of the downsides of having a southern magnolia tree is the messy issues. The larger leaves will be dropping throughout the year.

Therefore, to deal with the issue, do not garden underneath the tree. Moreover, this type of magnolia will fit various landscapes.

Saucer Magnolia

Saucer magnolia
Saucer Magnolia

It is known for the pink-tinged blossoms that pop out in March and April. This is not like the Southern one because this magnolia is deciduous.

Likewise, the bare branches give a great contrast to the flowers. It is a hybrid variety that goes about 25 inches wide and high.

Sweetbay Magnolia

Sweetbay magnolia
Sweetbay Magnolia

The characteristic of this variety depends on the climate. Thus, it can be evergreen or deciduous. The tree can reach 50 inches tall.

Meanwhile, the small flower will appear in early summer. It smells like a lemon. This is a good choice for you who want a large magnolia tree to shade the patio.

Star Magnolia

Star magnolia
Star Magnolia

The other popular variety to choose from for your landscape is the star magnolia. This can also be a good start before knowing how to grow a magnolia tree.

Additionally, this is a medium-sized kind that blooms early in the spring season. Furthermore, the plant is called a star because it produces starlike blossoms with multi petals.

Growing Conditions for Magnolia Tree

Growing magnolia tree
Growing Magnolia Tree

The next step of how to grow a magnolia tree is knowing about the best condition to grow. According to sources, different species will need slightly different conditions.

However, you can choose to grow with general conditions. Magnolia trees need soil that is slightly acidic, loose, moist, and well-draining.

You can create a copy of the magnolia’s natural condition by amending heavy soil with compost and peat moss.

The best zones for the plant to grow are from 7 to 10.

Otherwise, it depends on the variety. Some of the cultivars would grow best in zone 5. You just have to learn more detail about the type of tree you have.

Full sun to partial shade is what a magnolia tree needs.

It can tolerate full sun when you produce moist, peaty soil. Do not forget to water the plant enough. In the first few years, irrigation is quite important.

Since it is a big tree, a magnolia needs some space to grow fully. So, prepare enough area for the big growth.

Lower your expectation for some varieties because they will need a really long time to bloom. Choose the right variety based on the expectations.

Tips for Planting Magnolia Trees

Planting magnolia tree
Planting Magnolia Tree

Before discussing how to grow a magnolia tree, you should know several important things for planting. The essential thing about growing this plant is the timing.

What is the proper time to grow the tree? It is based on the method. If you are growing magnolias in pots, begin the process in the fall or spring.

Meanwhile, for growing on the ground, early spring is a perfect time.

Be prepared for the spread of roots. You have to cut any roots that go around the ball. It will disturb the growth of the tree.

Importantly, you do not need to fertilize the plant in the first growing season.

Then, the second season needs fertilizer. Do not apply it again for the next 3 or more years. The new magnolia needs support.

You can use lines and stakes for stabilization.

Step-by-Step Guide

Step to planting magnolia
Step to Planting Magnolia

It is time to begin the step of how to grow a magnolia tree on the ground. There are 8 simple steps to follow.

These methods work generally. So, some varieties might need a different treatment.

The Beginnings

First step planting magnolia
First Step Planting Magnolia

First of all, prepare the magnolia you are about to plant. Water it with liquid rhododendron feed a day before planting.

This is to give a jumping start.

After that, you can begin digging a planting hole about 2 feet wide. Ensure that the depth of the hole and the root ball have similar size.

So, the ball is fit. Then, fork the hole base over to add some compost or pine bark.

Next, take the plant out of the containers. Before placing it in the hole, you have to cut 4 vertical slits in the rootball.

Cut it evenly about 1 inch deep each. After that, stand the plant in the hole. Adjust the position. It is ideal to have the rootball 2 inch below the soil level.

The Support

Support magnolia tree with stakes
Support Magnolia Tree with Stakes

If you have burlapped plants, remove the wraps first. Then, put the unwrapped plant in the hole. The condition of the soil level and the containerized one should be similar.

Do not remove the burlap beneath the rootball.

Then, set the support to prevent the wind to disturb the roots. You should use two stakes 3 feet in length.

After that, knock each one into half the depth. Attach it to the trunk and fix it tightly. Do the same to the second stake.

The mission here is to hold the plant vertically.

Moreover, the same process needs to be done for the large shrub. During the stage of how to grow a magnolia tree, you have to be careful.

Last, water the plant well. Feed it with liquid rhododendron one more time. After that, mulch with a pine bark about 1 to 2 inches.

Planting from Cuttings

Grow magnolia from cutting
Grow Magnolia from Cutting

For those who want to know how to grow a magnolia tree from a cutting, this is what you have to do. Place the cuttings in water after taking them.

Then, the right moment to get them is in the late summer. After that, cut off all the things except the upper leaves.

At the end of the stem, make a vertical slice about 2-inch long. Afterward, dip the opening stem in a good solution of the hormone.

Further, you can plant the stem using small pots that have moist perlite ready.

Tips for Growing Magnolia

White magnolia flower
White Magnolia Flower

To maintain a healthy magnolia tree until its mature stage, follow these steps.

During the growing process, you might experience several issues such as scale or leaf spots. However, They will not cause serious problem for magnolia.

Those diseases are considered minor problems. Do not bother treating them.

Additionally, you can prune the tree when it is still young. Meanwhile, to shape the tree, do it in the early stage of growth.

However, it is not recommended to prune the large mature branches since they could not heal very well.

Even though it can handle diseases well, bark damage and breakage could be a big problem for magnolia.

Prevent them from getting hit by a lawn mower or string trimmer.

Moreover, it is possible growing magnolia through propagation. This is how to grow a magnolia tree from seed.

You can also do it by taking semi-hardwood cuttings.

Some trees can go well with the transplanting method. Magnolia can tolerate transplantation since it has an enormous root system.

However, it should be done before the trunk gets 4 inches in diameter.


Those steps and guides on how to grow a magnolia tree would sure make you ready to go. Enjoy the beauty and the good scent of this amazing plant for your landscape.

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