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Planting & caring for magnolia in the garden: When, where and how to plant it + more tips.

Magnolias are without question one of those plants that leave us on cloud nine during the flowering season. The large blossoms that take up the entire crown of the tree have something magical about them, which many amateur gardeners would also like to admire in their own garden. But before you head to the nearest garden center or nursery and grab yourself a little tree, you should find out what you should consider when planting and caring for a magnolia in your garden. We have summarized the most important things for you.

Planting and caring for magnolia in the garden

Magnolia in the garden planting and care - tips on location, fertilizing and pruning.

Magnolias are quite sensitive plants, which is why the right choice of location and care are so important. Transplanting in particular should be avoided as much as possible. Below you will learn when is the right time to plant, what conditions it places on the site, what about fertilizing and what you should pay attention to when pruning.

How and when to plant magnolia?

When to plant magnolia properly and in what location.

Although fall is possible, spring is considered the better choice for magnolia planting time. This is simply because the winter cold or frost can be hard on the little tree, which is still young and not well grown. It is important that the hole you prepare is about three times the size of the root ball of the plant. Remember that those roots that are closest to the surface are especially vulnerable. They must not be injured.

Check the root ball when you take it out of the pot. If it is very dry, it is recommended to soak it in a water bath for a while.

The right location

Magnolia can be propagated with cuttings

Find the right location before you plant your magnolia. Especially larger growing specimens need enough space and should not be too close to other plants. So, when planting your magnolia, make sure it is spaced appropriately (at least 1.5 to 2 feet apart or even as a specimen, depending on the variety and size).

The ideal location is sunny to partial shade . However, the soil should not be too dry, if you choose the full sun. In this case, you must always water the plants well, avoiding waterlogging, as this promotes the formation of fungi.

How and when to plant magnolia tree outdoors


Planting magnolia – what soil?

The soil should be fresh, humus and nutrient-rich if you want to plant and care for magnolia in the garden. Also pay attention to the pH, because the plant prefers a neutral soil, but it may also be slightly acidic. If the soil in your garden is clayey, you should mix it with gravelly sand. This will make it more permeable and prevent waterlogging.

With what to fertilize magnolias?

Planting and caring for magnolia in the garden - How should I fertilize?

As already mentioned, magnolias need a nutrient-rich soil. For this reason, regular fertilizing is also important. Therefore, even before you plant the sapling, work in a generous amount of compost in the desired place. Alternatively, humus is also suitable. The next year you renew the whole thing then by compost mulch. For fertilizing horn shavings are very suitable, but also biological fertilizers for woody plants.

In no case work the chosen fertilizer into the soil, because then you will hurt the delicate roots under the surface. For these trees, you just apply the fertilizer.

Magnolia tree pruning and propagation

Planting and caring for magnolia in the garden - when and how to cut back.


Due to the fact that the trees grow very slowly, pruning is rarely necessary and only when the branches get out of shape. However, since magnolias have the characteristic of forming only loosely branched tree crowns, this case also rarely occurs, so you do not need to regularly cut back your magnolia. However, if you want to prune your magnolia, the best time is late summer. However, leave severe rejuvenation pruning.

Planting and caring for magnolia in the garden - plant care tips.

How to propagate magnolia?

You can then theoretically use the cuttings to propagate your magnolia through cuttings (of deciduous varieties take cuttings from the magnolia after flowering, in early summer). But since this is a relatively difficult thing, you should also be prepared for possible missteps.

Does the plant need frost protection?

Magnolia flowers need frost protection in early spring

You only need to protect the magnolia flower from frost, because in our latitudes frost can occur even later, when the tree is already in bloom. In this case, you can follow our tips for frost protection. Another way in which they can protect the magnolia from frost is to delay flowering. For this purpose, the still frozen ground is covered with mulch in the winter. Due to this insulating layer, it thaws more slowly in the spring and takes longer to warm up, resulting in later flowering.

Planting and caring for magnolia in the garden – suitable and popular species.

Magnolia care for amateur gardeners - The trees need space.

In addition to pure magnolia species, there are plenty of hybrids to choose from these days if you want to plant and care for a magnolia in the garden. Included are both shrubby varieties, which are accordingly smaller in size, and magnolia trees with different sizes. Among the best known and most popular varieties of outdoor magnolia are:

  • Star magnolia with star-shaped flowers in white color.
  • Tulip magnolia with shrub-high growth or as a tree and with cup-shaped flowers in pink color
  • Cucumber magnolia with deciduous foliage and cucumber-shaped fruits
  • Lily magnolia with long flowering period from spring to mid-summer
  • Löbner’s magnolia with compact shrub growth and white flowers that fade to purple

Planting and caring for magnolia in the garden - There are large and small varieties.