Magnolia Tree hasn't grown an inch in SIX years

ShedrachOctober 7, 2012

Hello. I am bit perplexed. I was given a potted Magnolia Tree from a friend about six years ago. It was about four and half feet tall. I planted it in the front yard. The front yard gets full sun nearly all day. There are no other substantial bushes, trees or shrubs within 15 feet of the Magnolia. It blooms every year and looks quite healthy. has not grown one single inch in height since I planted it! Is this unusual? I began to wonder if it might be a Dwarf Magnolia but I understand that even those grow to 20 or so feet. Any clues? I am stumped. Cheers.

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I'm no expert on magnolias (I rather hate them, actually, due to many childhood hours wasted raking tens of thousands of their leaves and picking up their horrible seed pods) but that doesn't sound right at all.

First thing, was it root bound when you planted it? If the roots were all tight and balled up in a small pot, then often that tree will get permanently stunted because it can't develop a proper root system.

Barring that, are you fertilizing the tree and ensuring micronutrients are available? And is there grass growing underneath the tree? St. Augustine grass in particular will gobble up every bit of water and nutrients and not let the tree get what it needs to grow. What about soil conditions there? Is perpetually wet or dry? I wonder if pH makes a difference for these trees.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 1:53PM
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jofus(9b/10a Englewood, Fl)

Are you sure you don't have a dwarf " Little Gem " magnolia tree ? What about the beautiful white flowers in spring,..none of them either ?
I have two on my front lawn, one a " Little Gem " and the other a normal Southern Magnolia. The Little Gem was 3 1/2 ft tall at planting 3 yrs ago and now is 6 ft tall. Am expecting it to top out at about 9 - 10 ft. I have given it lots of TLC,..watered it 2 x a week the first 6 mos, then only occasionally, but fertilize every 3 mos with 10-10-10.
I love magnolia's, the normal Southern Magnolia ( will get to 60 ft ) is now a robust 7 foot tall with the most magnificently scented, foot wide white flowers I have ever seen or smelled.
Perhaps yours is a " Little Gem " dwarf and maybe even damaged somehow, growth in 6 yrs tho is very strange, even for a Little Gem. I'd ladle in some 10-10-10 every 2 months and carefully water it. If still no sign of growth I'd think seriously of digging it up. Good luck !

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 2:40PM
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Thanks for the replies. I'm pretty positive I "loosened" the root ball before planting it. There is no grass around the tree (it is surrounded by a 6 foot circle of mulch). It has bloomed every year..big beautiful white flowers which smell lovely. The leaves are nice and shiney. It's just not getting any taller. One thing WAS planted on the site where a deceased Sago palm tree existed. I wonder if there could be any old palm root down in the ground impeding the magnolia's growth. Surely (if there were any root left) it would be rotted away by now. Hmmmm. Funny thing is...the friend who gave me the tree had two (that he had gotten from the same place). He never planted his and it has more than doubled in height just sitting in it's original pot.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 3:06PM
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I would try an Azeala, Camillia, Gardenia fertilizer. Magnolias LOVE acid.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 5:54PM
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