Although the magnolia produces the most beautiful flowers, there is no great hunger for nutrients. It is much more important to her that she gets a good location and roots in acidic soil. Then all you have to do is compensate for the nutrient consumption with a modest amount of fertilizer. This shows that the magnolia is a cheap plant. The supply of necessary elements can even be done with a home remedy.

Salt-sensitive and acid-loving

The magnolia, as the tree is botanically correctly called, is sensitive to salts. However, these are contained in large quantities in commercially available complete fertilizers. That alone is reason enough to leave the garden center without having achieved anything. As an alternative, various home remedies that have been used as fertilizer in the garden for many years can be checked for their suitability for the magnolia.

Magnolia likes acid, which is why her preferred pH range is between 5.5 and 6.8. If your location offers such a soil, which is also loose and rich in humus, everything is optimal. The annual flowering in spring will not be missing, provided the pH value of the soil remains constantly in the acidic range. The composition of the agent with which you fertilize the tree has a decisive influence on this.

Many different home remedies are used as fertilizer in private gardens. They are of organic origin and ensure an even supply of nutrients. This is important because the magnolia is sensitive to over-fertilization. From the above aspects, the following four household fertilizers are suitable for the nutrient supply of the magnolia.

mature compost

Compost is good for just about any plant, including Magnolia. This home remedy is rich in nutrients and packed with microorganisms that continue to work in the root area of ​​the magnolia and thereby improve the soil. Compost can also be obtained free of charge from plant residues in your own garden and is ecologically completely harmless. The compost with which you fertilize the magnolia may even contain a larger proportion of softwood and thus be more acidic.

  • Primary care takes place in March or April
  • more compost can follow
  • e.g. B. a second dose just before flowering
  • last fertilization is possible in autumn

So you fertilize me compost

The process should be familiar to every hobby gardener, because it does not differ significantly for the different plant species. The magnolia belongs to the so-called flat roots. Their roots are just below the surface of the earth, sometimes even sticking out a bit. As a result, there is a challenge to be mastered when fertilizing: the flat roots of the tree must not be injured when working in the compost!

  • Only use well-rotted compost
  • Apply compost to the root disk
  • about 1 liter per square meter
  • Work in lightly with a rake
Tip: Spread a layer of bark mulch after fertilizing with compost. In the upcoming summer months, it will protect the soil from drying out. The decomposition process also adds nutrients to the soil.


Horn shavings are also often used as fertilizer in the home garden. The household remedy should be spread generously on the root disc of the magnolia tree in early spring and then ideally covered with an 8-10 cm thick layer of bark mulch. This not only protects the sensitive roots of the magnolia from drying out, but also from frost in the coming autumn and winter. The horn shavings underneath are slowly decomposed by the microorganisms living in the soil. This ensures an even supply of nutrients to the tree.

Tip: Use the rainwater you collect to water this tree, because it doesn’t like hard tap water.

Stored horse manure

Maybe you own a horse yourself and come across horse manure every day. Some horse farms also sell it cheaply or even free of charge on request. This home remedy can only be recommended without reservation if you can get it in “organic quality”. For example from farms where you know that no medication is given to the horses.

Fresh horse manure is not suitable for this delicate plant as it is very pungent. Direct contact with roots would cause burns. Horse manure that has been stored for about 12 months, on the other hand, can provide the magnolia with new nutrients in the spring. It is distributed in the root area and worked in with a rake.

Note: If the magnolia turns its leaves yellow in summer or even spring, it indicates a nutrient deficiency. Another dose of fertilizer does not necessarily bring back the green color. These must be special doses of iron or magnesium, because the lack of either of these elements caused the chlorosis.

Waste product from making coffee

If the soil below the magnolia is welcome to lower its pH, using coffee as a fertilizer is ideal. Much more you can enjoy the cup of coffee and leave the waste product coffee grounds to the Magnolia. It’s a well-known home remedy for plants that prefer acidic soil. Coffee grounds can be used alone or in combination with other home remedies. When you fertilize your magnolia with coffee grounds, you are primarily feeding it the following elements:

  • nitrogen
  • Phosphor
  • Potassium

The organic material also stimulates soil life and attracts numerous earthworms. Although you cannot admire the above-ground flowers of the magnolia, you can decompose the coffee and thus contribute to the formation of humus.

Tip: If you need a larger quantity of coffee grounds in a timely manner, you could politely ask at a nearby coffee shop whether you can get the coffee grounds collected for the day. Such a request is often answered in the affirmative.

Process of fertilizing with coffee grounds

The coffee grounds are scattered on the root disc and carefully worked into it. This can be done regularly with smaller portions or a few times during the growing season. Then the portion used should be larger, so that there is a noticeable effect. Since only modest amounts of coffee grounds are produced in private households every day, it makes sense to collect them first. However, the coffee grounds must not be left damp for a long time, as they will start to mold. Traversed with fungal spores, it is no longer suitable as a fertilizer.

  • Spread coffee grounds thinly on plates
  • allow to air dry completely
  • collect in a box
  • occasionally spread in the root area
  • incorporate superficially

Do you have a small magnolia in the pot? Then feel free to give her leftover coffee, provided it doesn’t contain milk. This keeps the potting soil in the acidic range. Moist coffee grounds, on the other hand, can very quickly lead to the formation of mold and should not end up in the bucket.

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