The blossoms of numerous types of magnolia ring in the spring and are immensely decorative with their lush blossoms. As one of the first plant species, they bring color to the mostly gray days. Others underline the summer ambience with their blooms. Annoying when the magnolia blossoms are a long time coming. This can have different causes, which are described in detail below along with solutions.
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Variety and age are decisive
Most hobby gardeners are looking forward to planting a magnolia in their garden. If optimal conditions for the location and the soil have been met, if they have always been diligently watered and well cared for, magnolias grow relatively quickly. But if in the following year and the following year there are still no flowers, this is most likely due to the variety or the age.
Two to ten years waiting period
In principle, no flowering is to be expected in the first two years of standing . Mostly it is due to the variety and the design of the tree. Every Magnolia needs at least this period of time to settle. Nutrients in the earth are first used up for growth. As a rule, the nutritional requirements for growth only decrease when a magnolia has reached a certain height. Afterwards, the nutrient uptake is distributed more evenly and then also promotes flower formation. This can take up to ten years under certain circumstances and depending on the variety.
If a magnolia blooms in full splendor in your neighbor’s garden in March, but your own does not bloom until the end of May, this may be due to different varieties. These are divided into early and late varieties. In the case of the early varieties, a late frost can delay flower formation and / or promptly destroy an existing flower. But the chances are good that an early variety will bloom a second time during the gardening season. A late variety is not affected by late frost, but it does not bloom twice.
The following list shows some examples:
- Star magnolia (Magnolia stellata) – flowering time March
- Kobushi magnolia (Magnolia kobus) – flowering period March to April
- Tulip magnolia (Magnolia soulangiana) – flowering time April
- Umbrella magnolia (Magnolia tripetala) – flowering time April to May
- Purple magnolia (Magnolia liliiflora) – flowering time May
- Cucumber magnolia (Magnolia acuminata) – flowering period May to June
- Large-leaved magnolia (Magnolia macrophylla) – flowering period May to June
- Evergreen magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) – flowering period May to August
- Summer magnolia (Magnolia Sieboldii) – flowering period June to July
The Magnolia already puts on its buds between late summer and early autumn. The flowers then form from these in spring or early summer. This assumes that the buds are not damaged in winter. That can happen when freezing cold freezes them. This destroys them and prevents them from developing into flowers.
Check sensitivity to frost It
must be taken into account that magnolias are frost-resistant, but often not winter hardy. This means that if it is frost-resistant, it can withstand temperatures just below zero degrees Celsius without any problems, while winter-hardy magnolia trees withstand significantly lower minus temperatures without damage. For this reason, when buying, you should pay attention to the frost sensitivity of the different varieties. In addition, a certain location offers help against symptoms of frostbite.
A Magnolia is very picky about the right location. If this does not meet its requirements, it can react by failing to flower. If it does not bloom, check whether all conditions are met, as mentioned below, and relocate to a more suitable location if necessary. Since this is not easily possible with tall trees, a site check should be carried out when planting or at the latest in the first one to two years.
- Light conditions: sunny to partially shaded
- Many varieties cannot stand the hot midday sun in summer
- Make sure there is enough space (depending on the height / width between four and eight meters – shrub and columnar specimens need less space)
- It is essential to avoid shadows from buildings or neighboring trees, for example – otherwise it will lead to laziness in flowering
- Airy location, but sheltered from the wind
- Above all, avoid drafts, which increase the risk of frozen buds, especially in winter
The type of reproduction also counts among the causes of a non-blooming magnolia. For the most part, specimens grown from seeds can take up to ten years before they form the first flowers. But buying seedlings does not protect against this either, if it is not known whether these also come from seed propagation. This is mostly the case with the Japanese magnolia (Magnolia kobus), for example. The situation is different with cuttings, which arose from plug propagation (a kind of refinement). These plants usually bloom for the first two to four years.
The only way to help when buying a product is to ask the dealer whether it is a specimen grown from seeds or propagated by means of grafts.
Magnolias also provide species-appropriate conditions in the area of the earth. Here, the soil quality and so-called competing plantings are often to blame if the exotic tree / shrub does not bloom. Competitive plantings are those that get in the “way” of a magnolia, as is the case, for example, with plantings with ground cover, lawns and other plants. As shallow roots, the roots are located close to the surface of the earth. If further plants are planted on top of this, their roots get into a supply conflict with those of the Magnolia. This relates to nutrients in the soil and above all to the moisture that is drawn from the earth by underplanting.
Regarding the quality of the soil, the following points of criticism should be met so that the bud and flower growth takes place without disruption:
- Rich in nutrients and humus
- Loose and permeable to water
- Continuous moisture, but no waterlogging
- pH between 5.5 and 6.8
- Most varieties do not tolerate calcareous soils
Drought in autumn
If autumn is too dry for a magnolia, it will not bloom the following year. This is due to the fact that magnolia plants need a lot of moisture in autumn to plant and survive buds. If the rain does not cover the demand, the cause lies in the drying of the buds. This means that there is no basis for flower formation in the following year. Only prevention can help here by keeping a close eye on the moisture content in autumn and topping up the water if necessary.
Occasionally a magnolia should be cut. If it does not bloom, this may be due to excessive pruning. It does not tolerate it well and then needs so much strength and nutrients for the new growth that the buds can stay away. The only thing that helps here is to provide sufficient nutrients and to simply refrain from extensive pruning in the future. It is sufficient if the crown is thinned every now and then and diseased or dead branches are cut off.
If the keeping conditions are not correct, the plant reacts very sensitively and the buds and blossoms do not develop. The first step to help is to research possible causes, as described here, and the subsequent elimination, if it is not due to age – then it will also work with the blossoms in the following year.