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Magnolia Grandiflora

We have a magnolia grandiflora. It’s not very old, maybe ten years, but it hasn’t produced any flowers just the seed pods? I know they can take a while to flower (8-10 years and the age of my tree is just a guess) but as it’s producing seed pods, and has done so for 2 years now, I would have thought that flowers would also come now? Any advice? Shall I just be patient? 
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  • K67K67 Leicestershire Posts: 2,507
    Is such a thing possible? Isn't it a bit like saying I've got apples but didn't have any blossom this year.


  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 6,548
    Is your tree column like in growth or been pruned into a more a traditional tree shape? I ask because I inherited a columnar one and from the ground, the flowers are mostly hidden in the foliage, plus, blink and you miss them. I’m fairly sure it’s a biological impossibility to produce seed pods without flowering first!
  • Thanks for your responses. It’s about 15 foot tall and definitely no flowers - the branches aren’t particularly full and I’d easily spot any flowers. I’ve been keeping an eye on it over the last few years. It’s not triangular but a long trunk and a big head. I can’t find any reference to one having the seeds but not the flowers; generally when it’s mature enough it produces both. I’m baffled 😯. These are the cones/seeds it produced last year. The seed bits were red before they dried out. Thanks 
  • K67K67 Leicestershire Posts: 2,507
    edited April 2021
    Baffled certainly but without a flower there is no seed pod as its in the centre of the flowers.
    As this website shows https://www.backyardnature.net/fl_magno.htm
    Whether the petals dropped before you spotted them or the flower never fully opened I don't know but you cannot have seed pods without flowers.

    Maybe try getting in touch with Kew Gardens
  • I’ve just been up the ladder to take a closer look - it’s looks as though it wants to flower, there are furry leaves in the middle which I assume is the flower, but it’s not well enough to bloom and they’re dying back. I’ve noticed the leaves aren’t as green as they should be either. I think therefore I’ve got a sick tree on my hands. It has full sun and we water it appropriately which leaves me to think it’s the soil type or ground conditions. Probably should have gone up the ladder to start but was convinced there weren’t any flowers! Thanks all for your input. Hope he makes it - I’ll work hard to try and save him. 
  • K67K67 Leicestershire Posts: 2,507
    Found this 

    Magnolia grandiflora is hardy and reliable but in this country is often slow to establish. Particularly in its first few years of establishment, May will not be their finest hour. They tend to lose leaves before the new ones are produced and therefore – for a few weeks in late spring – can look a bit sorry for themselves. Once established, this effect is diminished. We have an expression which is particularly true in the case of this tree : ‘May is evergreens’ autumn’.

    Magnolia grandiflora is sensitive to temperature. It’s noticeable how much faster they grow and bigger they get in London and in the Mediterranean they can reach over 100ft. In rural gardens in Britain, they could reach 25ft after 35 years.

    Very changeable temperatures this spring so that wouldn't have helped.

    Well done with the detective work!

  • Thank you for your help. Much appreciated ☺️
  • Silver surferSilver surfer Posts: 4,148
    edited April 2021
    Magnolia are very primitive plants, they were one of the very first flowering plant after dinosaurs roamed the earth.
    So much so that there weren't many insects to pollinate the flowers.
    Magnolia flowers are pollinated by insects getting into the buds before the petals open.
    So in theory your flowers may have been fertilised, then the petals have dropped without you even noticing.
    Hence seed pods and no noticeable petals/flowers.

    Be patient your Magnolia grandifolia will start to produce flowers in future years.

    Perthshire. SCOTLAND .
  • Silver surferSilver surfer Posts: 4,148
    edited April 2021
    See also above.
    Quote www...
    "Magnolias evolved well before bees did and evolution has formed them so that they encourage pollination by beetles and not bees or moths. This greatly increases their chance of successful pollination. Bees do visit them but normally too late in the year for successful pollination."

    Hope this helps.
    Perthshire. SCOTLAND .
  • ErgatesErgates Devon, east of ExeterPosts: 2,044
    I have a small magnolia grandiflora, about three feet high at present. I don’t think I’m getting any flowers this year, as what I think were the flower buds got duffed by the late cold snap. I’ve had a couple of flowers each year for the past two years though, although I did need to protect them against the squirrels.
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