Magnolia Jane

cynthianovakMarch 21, 2007


I have a 2 year old (in my garden) "Jane." She was a 15 gallon container plant.

This year, she had no flowers and went straight to leaves.

We did have a nasty drought last summer, but I watered her slowly and deeply when I noticed a droop.

We do have dogs and part of her roots were uncovered several times.

I did not know we needed to fertilize regularly until late summer, then I put on an acid rich fertilizer with many minerals as recommended by a knowledgeable gardener at my local nursery.

After all these sins, no wonder she refused to bloom! But she had lovely green leaves.

Any idea what I did wrong? Hopefully she'll surprise us with som out of season flowers.

thank you so much for any insight you have to share,


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Dibbit(z7b SC)

My Jane took a few years to begin to flower, but she was a 1 gal. pot not 15 gal., so may have needed to grow big enough. She is now about 12-15 ft tall, and 4-6 ft wide. I think your tree's non-flowering may have been a combination of all of the above. Feed lightly with an acid-lovers fertilizer (Hollytone is good), beginning now, and then monthly until Sept. or so. Your climate is a bit warmer than mine, 'though not much, so I am extrapolating from what I get (I don't have leaves yet...). I would make sure the tree stays moist at all times, not waiting for leaves to droop. Can you plant something nearby, an annual say, that will droop quickly when it dries out, but will spring back with water (impatiens do that very well, as do coleus), and get a heads up from them rather than from the magnolia?

I would keep the mulch on, 3-4 in. thick (leave the 2-3 in. around the trunk clear), and try to keep your dogs away from it - maybe plant a few annuals around the edges, or rocks, pottery, statues, etc., so they can't get in there and dig or scatter mulch? Mine WAS gearing up for a gorgeous bloom over all this week, but 2 nights of frost (28F and 26F) on Sun. and Mon. now give me sad, purple things hanging off it. I will get a few flowers as the newer, then-unopened buds open, but no full glory. I do get sporadic blooms throughout the summer, so all is not lost. I think the flower buds begin to form by about the end of Aug.-Sept., so you want to take as good care of the tree before then as you can. Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 1:46PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

>Feed lightly with an acid-lovers fertilizer (Hollytone is good), beginning now, and then monthly until Sept. or so.Fertilize in fall, if fertilizer indicated by a soil test.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 3:41PM
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Dibbit(z7b SC)

BBoy, OK, I stand corrected. Thanks for letting me know. I had been told that I should feed them more often than once in the fall, so am glad to have one less thing to do.

My Jane is in a flowerbed, very good soil, frequently watered, and another of the series (Ricki?, pink flowers) is in native clay soil, well mulched but otherwise not amended. That one gets less water as well, and is half the size. The discrepancy in sizes lead me to think that feeding was a good iddea, never mind reading that info as well.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 6:19PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

If you're trying to supplement nitrogen there can be a case for splitting it up into several doses over more than one season. Without a soil test fertilizing is a crap shoot, really a soil could be sampled and tested at different seasons if one wanted to get something approaching a complete picture.

Apart from wasted money it is possible to produce a toxicity with over-fertilization.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 6:32PM
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Thank you both for this valuable information. This is exactly what I was hoping for from the forum.

The drought took its toll on many plants and trees last year, I'll bet that's when I lost the precious buds.

I do have a wire donut around the tree, they dug under the less substantial one last year.

I'll do a soil test.

Is there a do-it-yourself kit that either of you would recommend?

Again, thank you both I've read and reread and will do better by dear Jane


    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 9:49PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Try contacting local Extension office about getting your soil analyzed.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2007 at 12:04AM
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Dibbit(z7b SC)

The do-it-yourself kits are notoriously unreliable. I suppose, as a continuing measure of how things change, they might work, relative to the previous one, but as an absolute test of amounts and levels, they just aren't reliable. Your county extension agent/office, for a small fee or maybe free, or a commercial lab for a larger fee, can do a test. Call the Extension office (look in the phone book for the county office) and they can tell you where and how to get a kit.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2007 at 12:00PM
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Hello; Thanks for making this forum available - it's very helpful. My Jane is not doing well. I am very conscious in checking for moisture levels. I recently moved from AZ to TX, and it was doing fine - beautiful leaves. Now the leaves are browning from the outer edges to the middle of them. I have fertilized it with Miracle Grow (lightly) but that didn't help. It's about 2' tall and in a large, well drained pot, and in about 6 hours a day of full sun. I understand that Jane is a hearty tree, so that makes me more unsure of it's condition. Please advise. Thanks.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2007 at 2:41PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Maybe there are too many minerals in the irrigation water at the new location - or it is being harmed by drying winds. If you see salt deposits forming between the green and brown portions of the leaf (along the edge between the two, that indicates the first problem). Fertilizing would add more minerals, presumably making it worse. Flush periodically with large amount of water to clear the buildup out.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2007 at 9:14PM
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