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Magnolia tree, help needed

Hi everyone, not a gardener at ALL but we have the most magnificent magnolia tree in our garden that’s been there since we moved in, but I fear that it’s in decline but I don’t know enough about it to know what’s up. 

Problem 1, it used to have thick green leaves but they don’t appear anymore at all.

problem 2, it blooms very quickly, amazing blooms, but they turn brown and fall off within a week. So not even in April yet and the tree bloomed and all blooms are dead already and on the floor. 

Something tells me something isn’t right. Picture 1 is how the tree looked 2 years ago full of green leaves. Picture 2 is it in full bloom a few days ago, picture 3 is it today. 


  • Looks a bit close to the building and the paving and this may be preventing the tree getting enough moisture in the soil at a guess. Is the soil near to it very dry? Has the paving been added recently and is it allowing the rain that falls on it penetrate into the soil or is it channeled to a drain that prevents the rain benefiting the tree?
  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 16,695
    Its a deciduous magnolia. The flowers come, they fall off after a few days, possibly a week or two, then new leaves appear, which then fall off in Autumn.  It could probably do with a general fertiliser feed and some water as it is against a wall, and possibly in the rain shadow. It tends to be dryer against a wall.  Other than that it looks normal.
  • owd potterowd potter Posts: 936
    Magnolia is deciduous and loses its leaves in Autumn. It then produces flower buds during winter months and flowers in early spring.
    Yours looks perfectly as it should and exactly as mine does right now, my lawn is also covered in last weeks flower petals.
    Your first picture of it in leaf, I'm supposing, was taken in summer?
    Don't worry, there is nothing wrong with it that I can see

    Just another day at the plant...
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Posts: 8,025
    If you've been having overnight frosts they will cause the flowers to fall more quickly than if the weather is warmer.  Unfortunately there's nothing you can do about that... next year nights might be warmer while it's flowering!  And in the meantime, as @fidgetbones and @robairdmacraignil say, make sure it has enough water and a bit of feed.
    Since 2019 I've lived in east Clare, in the west of Ireland.
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,179
    As fidgetbones says, it is a deciduous magnolia, a magnolia stellata. The flowers appear before the leaves at this time of year but they don't last long. If it's dry or cold or windy the flowers tend to go brownish and drop quickly. It looks fine to me, much like mine at the moment but as the others say, probably needs watering. Keep an eye on it and water throughout the spring/summer - at least two full watering cans full twice a week.
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Posts: 36,192
    Hello Morrisminor. Your magnolia looks very like many of the ones growing near me at the moment. The recent frosts may have caused early flower petal drop and the leaves don't appear on deciduous varieties until the tree has flowered. As your magnolia is growing fairly close to a wall it might need extra watering during dry spells. Give it a boost by adding a general fertiliser now.
    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,140
    Many magnolias flower before any leaves appear.  Flowers require a lot of moisture to maintain them so, if your tree is thirsty, they will fade and fall very quickly.

    Yours is planted up against a wall so is likely to be thirsty and may also be lacking in nutrients.  I suggest you water it generously with rain water if you can or soft tap water.  If your water is hard you need to add some sequestered or chelated iron which comes in liquid form and will be labelled as suitable for ericaceous plants.  Read the label for dilution ratios.

    Leaves should appear in due course as spring progresses.  They will do best if you can keep the tree watered as above in any hot, dry spells.  Come the autumn, when it's had a good soaking from some decent rainfall, give it a mulch of well-rotted garden compost and manure which will work with soil micro-organisms over winter to retain moisture and improve the soil fertility for a better flower display next year.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 8,427
    Looks fine to me. Do you know which way it faces, north,south etc. Not sure It's a stellar, I have one, out now, but flatter, more open star like flowers, but it's difficult to tell from the picture.
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 8,847
    It looks good to me! Enjoy the flowers while they last - it's never long, like most spring tree blossoms. It looks as if there's a hint of pink in the flower so not the usual magnolia stellata. Maybe one of the Magnolia x loebneri varieties?

    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • Balgay.HillBalgay.Hill Posts: 940
    Possibly 'Star Wars', as the flowers look similar to mine.
    Sunny Dundee
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