How to plant a Magnolia Tree

Garden Life
A blooming Magnolia Tree is a herald of spring for many people. Plant the magnolia tree in spring or in autumn and take care that it receives a sufficient amount of water in the first year.

Purchase advice – root-ball or container plant?

Magnolias are offered in specialist stores either as root-ball or in containers. Magnolias have shallow roots. When digging up a well-developed bedding plant, the roots could quickly be damaged and the plant could eventually need a few years before normal growth is present.

However, the purchase of container plants is somewhat easier as they have been raised in pots. Their roots could completely develop in the pot. Also, the pot plants can be planted from spring until autumn. But, if they are not repotted in time, the plants will age quickly. Have a close look at the roots when purchasing. Blackish, dark roots and a musty smell is a sign for damaged plants. Keep an eye open for light, whitish root-balls which exude a pleasant citrus fragrance.

Choosing a location

Most Magnolia types and varieties clearly enjoy a predominately sunny location. A tree-shaped magnolia needs 4–8 m diameter space. The choice of location for smaller and shrub-shaped as well as pillar-shaped growing varieties can be accordingly smaller.

Planting Instructions

  • Dig a hole with a diameter of 100 cm and 50–60 cm deep. The first rich in humus layer of soil (first layer which was dug up) should be kept separate!
  • Mix together 70 litres of rhododendron soil (moor land soil) with the rich in humus soil from the first layer and put back into the hole.
  • Unpack the root-ball and place in the middle. (Pay attention to the actual soil mark on the trunk – do not plant any deeper!)
  • Place a stabilisation post next to the Magnolia and carefully tie this to the tree.
  • With the rest of the excavated soil, form a water trench around the plant pit.
    Now water abundantly.
  • It does not require extra fertiliser in the first year. Pay more attention to sufficient watering. You may use rhododendron fertiliser for acidic soil locations only after the first year.

Flowering Period

Magnolia varieties allow a certain time to pass before they are covered in blooms. Depending on the type, location and previous root damage, this may take a few years. This calls for some patience.
If you have decided on a grafted plant or propagated plant, the capability to bloom can be expected quickly.

Our variety recommendation

  • Lavender Princess (Magnolia xsoulangiana)
  • Vulcan (Magnolia)
  • Sunsation (Magnolia)
Photo: © s_derevianko - Fotolia.com