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Anna, Teacher, writer, biologist
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WE have a magnolia tree that we have had approximately 20 years

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WE have a magnolia tree that we have had approximately 20 years and it has never bloomed. Any idea why it would not have bloomed?

I'm sorry to hear that your magnolia won't bloom. There are several possible causes for this. I'll tell you about them, and you'll have to evaluate your situation to determine what's to blame.

Insufficient sunlight is a common reason for lack of flowers. Magnolias do best in direct sunlight. If the tree is in partial to full shade, it may not flower at all.

Too much water during the preceding growing season can lead to a lack of flowers. This can be due to too much rain, a naturally wet climate, or too much watering.

The wrong type of soil can be another problem. Alkaline soil can prevent blooming.You can buy a test kit to determine whether your soil is acidic or alkaline. If that is what is wrong, you can use one of the acidic fertilizers made for flowering plants. Garden centers and nurseries sell these. Too much fertilizer with a high nitrogen content can also prevent blooming. Nitrogen causes healthy leaf growth, but no flowers.

A pest called thrips destroys young flower buds. If you've had buds that don't open, using a n insect spray would take care of thrips. However, if there haven't ever been buds, thrips are not to blame.

Finally, there are some varieties that simply take a long time to reach maturity and flower. This is especially true of trees started as seedlings.

You're probably wondering what to do. I would start by checking for sunlight. You may need to remove a few branches on larger trees to provide more light. Next check your soil. If it's alkaline, use an acidifier. Make sure you're watering and fertilizing appropriately. after that, all you can do is wait.

If you have more questions, let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope you'll have some beautiful flowers int he next year or two.


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