How to Plant & Care For Magnolia Trees: A Guide from Tips Tree Planting

magnolia tree planting

Magnolias, one of the first flowering trees to evolve millions of years ago, continue to captivate us with their beauty and resilience. These stunning trees rely on beetles for pollination, as they evolved before modern pollinators. Once established, magnolias are hardy and resistant to pests. With their gorgeous flowers, glossy foliage, and delightful fragrance, planting a magnolia is like inviting a slice of paradise into your own backyard.

Ground Rules

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How to Plant & Care For Magnolia Trees: A Guide from Tips Tree Planting


Most magnolia trees flourish in full sun, requiring at least 8 hours of direct sunlight. In southern grow zones, some varieties can tolerate afternoon shade.


For the first 6 months after planting, water your magnolia tree 1-2 times a week until its roots are established. After that, your tree will only require watering during periods of extreme drought. Ensure your tree is planted in well-draining soil, except for the Magnolia virginiana or Sweet Bay Magnolia, which can tolerate wet soils.


The ideal soil for magnolia trees is a well-drained, slightly acidic blend enriched with organic matter. At the time of planting, amend your soil to achieve balanced acidity and adequate drainage. Over time, consider using pine needles or other acidic components as mulch.


Magnolias generally do not require fertilizers to thrive, especially when planting native varieties. Periodically perform a soil test to assess its needs before applying fertilizers, as excessive nitrogen or other elements can harm the soil. In late spring, you may want to use a balanced slow-release fertilizer like Tree-Tone by Espoma to promote healthy growth and vibrant colors. If you live in an area with alkaline soils, Holly-Tone Fertilizer can help add acidity to the soil, as magnolia trees prefer a slightly acidic environment.


Magnolia trees exhibit significant variations in cold-hardiness, with some varieties, such as the Edith Bogue, being more resilient than others. Generally, Magnolias thrive in zones 4 to 9.


While magnolia seeds and leaves are not toxic, they are inedible. If your furry friend ingests any parts of a magnolia tree, monitor them for signs of indigestion or discomfort and consult your vet if necessary.


To help your magnolia tree thrive, mulch the area around its root system. The shallow yet assertive roots of magnolias may make it challenging for other plants or lawns to share resources. Organic hardwood mulch or pine needle mulch is highly recommended to cover any bare spots created by your magnolia.

We hope these tips will help you successfully plant and care for your magnolia tree. For more informative gardening articles, visit Tips Tree Planting. Happy gardening!

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