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Very few things are as beautiful as a healthy, blooming magnolia tree. It takes a long time for them to bloom regularly but is it worth the effort. So just how long do magnolia trees live? We researched to find out so you can decide if one of these beautiful trees is right for your yard!
Magnolia trees can live from 80 to 120 years. Most magnolia trees live from 80 to 100 years. However, with proper care, attention, and variety, they can live to be quite old. The trees also continue to grow and bloom as they age, making them a great addition to any yard.
Let’s look at the different factors that impact how long a magnolia tree lives and which magnolia variety is right for you.
How Long Do Magnolia Trees Live?
Magnolia trees can live anywhere from 80 to 120 years. While variety does have some impact on their lifespans, proper care usually has the most impact on the length and quality of a magnolia tree’s life.
Magnolia trees need infrequent and deep watering to grow a healthy root system.
If they do not have much competition for water, deep watering once a week is ideal. However, during particularly dry or hot times of the year, they will need to be watered more often.
Once the magnolia is mature, they will be less prone to drought, but young magnolias need time to establish deep roots.
Like many blooming plants, magnolia trees enjoy full sun but can tolerate light shade. If you live in a particularly hot area, it may be useful to provide the plant with partial shade, especially when it is young.
It is also essential to consider the final size in the location you pick for your magnolia tree. Magnolia trees not only grow quite tall but can also be very wide. If you do not leave enough space for the magnolia tree, it will compete with other trees or plants around it.
Try to give magnolia trees 40 feet of space around them for them to grow into. While not all trees will grow to that size, many varieties have the potential to. If you do not have that much space, make sure to choose a small type and keep a close eye on its growth.
Magnolia trees can grow in containers or indoors. However, most varieties will quickly outgrow their containers.
Magnolia trees are acid-loving plants, so their ideal pH is between 5 and 6.
They also like free-draining soil. So if you have particularly clay soil, make sure to break it up or amend it before planting a young magnolia tree.
The ground around a magnolia tree also needs to be reasonably free of plants to allow the tree to grow correctly.
Like most flowering trees, magnolia trees will be fine without fertilizer. However, correctly applying fertilizer will help the plants thrive and live longer.
When magnolia trees begin to bloom, it is good to give them a bloom fertilizer to help them produce more flowers. However, if you provide a magnolia bloom fertilizer before it is old enough to bloom, it will not help.
How Can You Tell How Old A Magnolia Tree Is?
While the tree’s size can help estimate the tree’s age but is not a definitive measurement. The only way to tell what age of a tree is to cut it down and count the rings. That said, there are a few qualities that magnolia trees gain as they grow that can help you estimate their age.
If a magnolia tree is blooming a lot, it is likely a few years old, at least three. However, most magnolia trees do not start blooming until ten years old. While magnolia trees may bloom when they are young, they will not have a prolific bloom until they are at least a few years old.
If magnolia trees are producing seeds, they are quite a few years old. The youngest magnolias may begin producing seeds is ten years. However, many do not start producing seeds until 20 to 25 years old.
How Tall Do Magnolia Trees Grow?
The height of magnolia trees depends on their specific variety. They have quite a range and can be as small as 8-feet and as large as 70 feet tall. However, they can also be trained to be very small.
The Lily magnolia is generally regarded as the smallest variety of magnolia trees. It grows from 8 to 12 feet. They have purple flowers and bloom in early spring, and are more tolerant of shade than many varieties. However, it is a little more temperamental about water, so it is good to mulch around the base during dry spells.
The Dwarf Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora ‘Little Gem’) may lead you to believe it is very small. And it is, for a magnolia tree. However, this tree can grow from 20 to 25 feet tall and 10 to 15 feet wide. It has beautiful cream or white blooms but is not very cold tolerant.
Star magnolia, or Magnolia stellata, is another common variety of magnolia trees. These trees commonly have white flowers, but some variations have pink or purple blooms. Star magnolias are another smaller variety and grow from 15 to 20 feet high and 10 to 15 feet wide. They thrive in hardiness zones 4 to 9. This variety of magnolia originated in Japan and has show-stopping blooms, so they are a popular choice for bonsai magnolias.
Star magnolia is also a popular pick because they tend to start blooming at a young age. However, if you are buying a sapling, your choice of variety may be limited. The perk of buying a sapling, though, is that it is older and will produce blooms much faster than planting a magnolia from seed.
How Can You Tell If A Magnolia Tree Is Healthy?
You can tell if magnolia trees are healthy the same way you see if other plants are healthy.
Some of the most apparent signs of a magnolia tree are unhealthy include yellowing leaves and discoloring or weak branches. If you notice the tree is not growing at all or very slowly, it may also be a sign of a disease or pest.
If you suspect your tree has a problem, make sure to take a close look at it. Paying particular attention to the leaves as that is where common magnolia diseases will appear. Common diseases for magnolia trees include leaf spot, blights, and verticillium wilt.
If you are growing a magnolia tree in a container and notice it is suddenly not doing well, check the roots. Since magnolia trees grow so large, they are prone to circling roots when grown in a container.
Do Magnolia Trees Bloom Every Year?
Well-established magnolia trees will usually bloom every year, sometimes twice a year. However, young or newly transplanted trees will take a while to bloom.
When buying a magnolia tree, ask someone how old the tree is. That will give you a good idea of how much longer you have to wait for it to bloom.
If your magnolia tree is not blooming, you may consider applying a bloom booster fertilizer to it. On the other hand, fertilizer may be your problem. If you applied a nitrogen-rich fertilizer too late, your plant might be focusing on producing leaves rather than flowers.
Some plants take a while to bloom, while others do not. Simply be patient and continue to take proper care of the tree, and it will eventually bloom.