Hello! Our Star Magnolia was planted in the fall of 2013 and had beautiful...

Asked April 30, 2015, 5:15 PM EDT

Hello! Our Star Magnolia was planted in the fall of 2013 and had beautiful and abundant white blossoms in the spring of 2014. This spring, there was only 1 blossom on the entire plant. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you.

Hennepin County Minnesota magnolia

3 Responses

Thank you for your question.

If the tree is otherwise healthy (good foliage, no damage to the trunk or stems, etc.) then something occurred that damaged or eliminated the flower buds.

My first thought is you may have pruned your magnolia last year and literally cut off the flower buds. Early blooming trees and shrubs like magnolias, lilacs, and forsythia will set flowers buds for next year's bloom within two weeks of blooming the previous year. This means it is critical to prune these plants in that two week window; otherwise, you will prune off flower buds for next year's bloom.

If you didn't prune your tree, the flowers buds may have been damaged by cold weather, drought or a combination of the two.

Feel free to reply to this email with additional information about your plant.

Hello- We haven't pruned the tree since it was planted (2 growing seasons). The prior winter was really cold and snowy and there were lots of blossoms in the spring. Just the opposite this year (weather wise and lack of blooms).

We did put holiday lights on it this past winter - would that impact the tree?


The wintercold, drying winds, and lack of snow protection could have killed the flower buds. I had one that only reliably bloomed below the snow cover, but was beautiful. You may want to protect it next year, either by carefully piling snow around the plant or using bags of leaves, straw, or something similar.

Star magnolias like full sun. The blooms you saw in 2014 were created before you bought the plant. If it is not receiving enough sun it will not form new flowers.

Those are two likely reasons you didn't get flowers this year. Here is a little information on growing magnolias: http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/trees-shrubs/magnolias-for-minnesota/