I have two magnolia trees I planted five years ago. They have grown alot but no blooms. How can I get them to bloom? I also planted another one last year. It was blooming and beautiful, but now is losing a lot of leaves and does not look as healthy as it did.
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Patricia in Kentucky: I am not sure if you are growing evergreen or deciduous magnolias but they both produce lovely flowers in the spring. The evergreen varieties’ flowers are creamy white and the deciduous blooms are available in different shades of white, yellow, and pink. Magnolia blooms can be lost to a hard freeze but that certainly was not the case this year or last if my memory serves me right. If the overall health of your trees seems fine and you have not noticed any buds at all then I would suspect the issue to be the amount of light and/or nutrients that the trees are receiving. Ideally, magnolias should be planted in a space where they will get a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight. If your trees get plenty of light then they may be lacking the nutrients that are essential for flower production. You can have your soil tested through your County Extension Office; the results will determine if you need to add any nutrients back to the soil. As for the newly planted magnolia, it is going to require more moisture than your older, more established trees. It has been such as hot and dry summer that newly planted trees that are not given sufficient moisture are going to drop their foliage prematurely. Your tree should be watered two to three times per week for 20-30 minutes each time. A thin layer of mulch will help your tree retain moisture. No need for it to be any more than 3 inches thick and it should be spread evenly so that it does not cone up around the trunk of the tree. The Menifee Extension office Web site is http://ces.ca.uky.edu/menifee
or you can call them at (606) 768-3866.