Fertilize Magnolia: When, How And Which Fertilizer?

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In order for the magnolia to show its beautiful flowers, it needs the right fertilization. We show you what to consider when fertilizing magnolias.

Every year in spring, we are enchanted by the rich bloom of magnolias ( Magnolia ) anew. In order for your magnolia to thrive in the garden and to bloom like this, it is important to have sufficient water and nutrients.  The choice of location when planting can have a significant influence on the growth of your magnolia. Now that you know what to watch out for, let’s get down and dirty with some magnolia wisdom. In this article we’ll share our favorite tips on how to best fertilize magnolia trees so they grow into healthy trees!

Magnolias have a relatively high need for nutrients. As always, the individual stages of development of the plant must be taken into account when fertilizing needs-based. When and with what you should fertilize your magnolia and how you can best proceed is explained below.

When to fertilize magnolias?

The best time to plant magnolias is in autumn (October / November) when the plant is in hibernation. In rougher locations, however, spring planting (by April at the latest) is recommended. Depending on the type and variety, magnolias prefer a sunny to a partially shaded location in a protected location. The optimal soil is humus, rich in nutrients, and slightly acidic with a pH value of around 5.5 to 6.8. With a few exceptions, magnolias do not tolerate calcareous, alkaline soils. When choosing the location, make sure that there is sufficient distance from other trees and shrubs. In a solitary position, you should expect a space requirement of around four to eight meters in diameter. Soils that are too sandy are just as unsuitable for magnolias as those that are too loamy. In order to offer the plant optimal starting conditions, it is best to dig a sufficiently large planting hole and mix the excavated material with rhododendron soil. This special soil is also wonderfully suitable for shrub-like magnolias that are cultivated in a pot or tub.magnolia

A layer of bark mulch protects the magnolia from drying out

Every year in spring (March / April) you can fertilize your magnolia with ripe compost. This is applied and lightly incorporated as a thick layer to the root disc – this is what the circular area around the tree is called. However, be careful not to damage the shallow roots just below the surface of the soil. If you do not have your own compost available, you can also use fertilizer from a specialist retailer. It is best to use an organic long-term fertilizer of organic quality such as universal fertilizer. This is particularly gentle on plants, soil, and animals in the garden.

From now on, pot magnolias need regular fertilization (every two weeks). For example, rhododendron or bog bed fertilizers are very suitable. When magnolias are planted, no further fertilization is usually necessary as long as there are no symptoms of deficiency in the leaves. However, if you still want to do something good for your magnolia, you can do another fertilization three to four weeks before flowering or spread some rhododendron soil on the root disc. The different flowering times of the individual species must be taken into account. While tulip magnolias ( Magnolia x soulangeana ) open their flowers as early as April, evergreen magnolias ( Magnolia grandiflora ) and summer magnolias ( Magnolia Sieboldii ) usually bloom until May or June. A mulch layer made of bark mulch also ensures that the soil is kept moist and does not dry out during the summer months. Finally, a final dose of compost is recommended in autumn so that your magnolia can survive the winter well.

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Summary: When to fertilize magnolias?

  • Enhance the soil with rhododendron soil
  • Basic fertilization (March / April) with compost or organic long-term fertilizer
  • If necessary, second fertilization before flowering
  • Apply a layer of bark mulch
  • Last compost in autumn

magnolia-dull-when-which-dull-longerOrganic universal fertilizer with long-term effects is ideal for your magnolia

How and with what to fertilize magnolias?

There are many ways to achieve thiss goal with the optimal nutrient supply of magnolias. In addition to organic fertilization, you also have various options for mineral fertilization. Particularly resourceful gardeners can even fertilize their magnolias with coffee. We explain below the advantages and disadvantages of the individual methods.

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Organically fertilize magnolia instructions

Especially with the magnolia, you should make sure that you use fertilizers that lower or at least not increase the pH value. In addition to ripe compost, deposited horse manure or horn shavings are also ideal for fertilizing magnolias. It is best to sprinkle the horn shavings on the root disc and then cover them with a layer of bark mulch about eight centimeters thick. This gradually decomposes and releases additional nutrients for the plant. In addition, the mulch layer ensures that the soil is kept moist in summer. It also protects the cold-sensitive magnolia from frost in the winter months.

If you do not have access to such natural fertilizers, suitable products can also be found in specialist shops. Organic fertilizers may not work as quickly, but they are certainly the more sustainable choice in the long run and have many benefits, such as the following:

  • Nutrient supply of the magnolia over a longer period of time through slow decomposition of the fertilizer via microorganisms in the soil
  • Promotion of healthy soil life (good for microorganisms, earthworms, etc.)
  • Protection of the environment by renouncing chemicals

So that you supply your magnolia with the ideal amount of nutrients, we have prepared detailed step-by-step instructions for you below.

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Long-term organic fertilization: Instructions & dosage quantities for magnolias

Organic universal fertilizer is a fertilizer with organic long-term effects that is suitable for all plants that do not have a particularly high need for potassium.  It consists exclusively of vegetable residues from the food, luxury, and animal feed industries and is therefore free of any animal products. The fertilizer in granulate form can also be easily applied to the root slice of the magnolia and dissolved by pouring it on. No mechanical incorporation into the soil is necessary.

  1. Before planting: Work 100 – 150 g / m² (8 – 12 tablespoons) of organic universal fertilizer into the soil.
  2. Pour the soil and the freshly inserted magnolia well so that the granules can dissolve.
  3. Every year in spring, apply about 80 – 120 g / m² (6 – 10 tablespoons) to the root disc and water.
  4. A little fertilization about 3 – 4 weeks before flowering gives the plant optimal support.

Fertilize magnolia minerally

In addition to organic fertilization, there is also the option of supplying the magnolia with mineral fertilizers. Blue grain, liquid fertilizers and the like ensure a quick burst of nutrients, but if used improperly, there is an increased risk of over-fertilization. High concentrations of nutrient salts in the soil can not only damage the sensitive roots of magnolias but can also get into the groundwater through leaching. In contrast, organic fertilizers do not work as quickly, but they do help to improve the soil structure. In addition, due to the slow decomposition by microorganisms in the soil, there is hardly any risk of overdosing.

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Fertilize magnolia with home remedies: coffee grounds

Incredible but true: you can also fertilize your magnolia with coffee. Strictly speaking, you use the coffee grounds for this, which ideally have been dried beforehand. This way, mold does not develop during storage. The actual waste product still contains many nutrients that are important for plants, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Organic materials also attract useful soil organisms – such as earthworms – and promote the formation of humus in the soil. The acidic natural fertilizer ensures a low pH value in the soil and is therefore wonderfully suitable for fertilizing the magnolias. Simply sprinkle small amounts of it on the root disc as fertilizer every now and then and carefully work it into the surface.

Summary of how and with what fertilizes magnolia:

  • For organic fertilization, you can use compost, horse manure, horn shavings, or an organic fertilizer with a long-term effect
  • The mineral fertilization with blue grain and Co. work quickly, but there is a risk of over-fertilization
  • Home remedies such as coffee grounds can also be used to fertilize magnolias

Not Too Much Fertilizer

When fertilizing with liquid nutrients like nitrogen, it is important to monitor your trees so you don’t apply too much. This excess can lead to burn symptoms which are usually seen when roots have been exposed for an extended period of time due the over-fertilization of this type nutrient in soil that has already had some amount applied previously without being fully taken up by plant growth.

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