House Grail is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

How Fast Do Magnolia Trees Grow? Lifecycle, Tips, & FAQ

Southern Magnolia

Magnolia trees are beautiful additions to any garden or landscape, although as a gardener, you may wonder how fast this tree actually grows. Magnolia trees can grow up as fast as 1 or 2 inches per year, making them faster growing than most trees.

If you are looking for ways to accelerate the healthy growth of your magnolia tree, there are some techniques you could try. Most trees enjoy evenly moist soil, fertilizer, and some mulch during summer times.

trees & plants divider

The Life Cycle of Magnolia Tree

The life cycle of magnolia begins from the seed, which is spread by insects, birds, wind, or heavy rain. After the magnolia plant grows from a seedling to a few feet high, it is called a sapling. Saplings are usually 2 to 4 inches in diameter and already have an extensive root system. Once the trees become 3 to 7 inches in diameter, they’re called poles.

The average life span of magnolia trees is around 80 years, although there have been reports of magnolia trees becoming 120 years old. Before fully maturing, all magnolia species must pass a life stage called the juvenile stage. This period lasts between 20 and 25 years for some varieties and others for up to 10 years. During this period, magnolias will not produce seeds or flowers.

white magnolia flowers
Image By: Pexels

Magnolia Growing Requirements

Soil Requirements

Magnolias thrive in well-drained, equally moist soil such as loamy. The soil needs to be slightly acidic and fertile for magnolias to thrive, although they can manage most pH levels and different environments. While these trees are tolerant, they cannot survive extreme conditions, such as the soil being too soggy, dry, or with high alkalinity.

Sun Exposure

Natural shade with 4 hours of sun exposure daily is the perfect environment for your magnolia trees to be satisfied. When the soil is a bit drier, it is best to keep magnolias in a moderate shade and still expect them to bloom. Magnolias thrive in temperate and humid climates, while they are susceptible to extreme temperatures as even a mild frost can hurt young plants and seedlings.

Image By: JillWellington, Pixabay


Once you plant the magnolia and wait for it to develop, it may need regular weekly watering. The correct watering habits will depend on the type of soil, drainage properties, and rainfall. Providing the plant with the correct amount of water is crucial as any exaggeration can cause wilting and yellowing foliage. To allow the plant to retain the water you can always add a certain amount of mulch to the soil.


When you wish to clean up and add shape to your young magnolia tree, cut off any damaged or dead branches. When deciding to prune the magnolia plants, it is recommended only to do so while the plant is still young. Pruning a mature tree can cause lethal cuts that won’t heal. Pruning mature magnolia trees should only be done in necessary situations, such as if the branch is diseased or infested.

pruning cherry tree
Image Credit: Prune Cherry Tree, Shutterstock

Risks and Diseases

Magnolia is prone to a particular pest that can damage this lovely tree—the Magnolia Scale. These insects reside in the dense foliage of magnolia without the tree displaying any symptoms of the disease. You can notice them as they feed on buds and branches. Another risk that may occur is mold growth, especially if you frequently use mulch on the soil.

divider 4

How Fast Do Magnolia Trees Grow?

Most magnolia varieties are moderate or fast-growing trees, varying by the cultivar. Most of these trees grow to 20 feet on average, a height they reach after 25 years. The magnolia tree grows much faster than most other trees, growing around 1 or 2 feet each year. It takes them between 15 and 30 years to fully mature, reaching a height of up to 70 feet. If you decide to plant a magnolia tree in your backyard, you must prepare yourself and your property for a fast, wide-spreading tree. If you want your magnolia tree to thrive and grow as fast as possible, ensure it has enough space to spread and ideal conditions.

Southern Magnolia
Image Credit: Paul Brennan, Pixabay

trees & plants divider

Top 3 Tips for Increasing Magnolia Growth Rate

1. Fertilizer

When feeding the magnolia tree regularly with organic fertilizer, you can expect your plant to grow at the fastest rate. For the best results, use a slow-release fertilizer. Pour it into the root zone, scratch it into the soil, and provide it with decent water. You can repeat this process every 2 years. If you decide to use a slow-release fertilizer, you can use it up to three times during one growing season.

2. Mulch

Lily Magnolia
Image Credit: Pixabay

Applying mulch to the magnolia’s roots will help the tree’s root system stay cool and retain moisture during summer. Once you add mulch to the soil, it would be an excellent addition to add organic mulch such as shredded straw or bark as well. It is crucial to avoid putting any mulch too close to the trunk as it can be a perfect environment for mold development.

3. Optimal soil moisture

One sure way to make your magnolia grow faster than ever is to provide it with perfect soil moisture. Magnolias adore soil that is evenly damp during the growing season. During dryer seasons, it is important to give the tree an inch or so of water every week. It is also necessary for the soil to have excellent drainage properties, which you can quickly achieve by adding compost or fine sand. This is especially recommended if your soil is rich in clay and tends to puddle after heavy rain.

trees & plants divider Final Thoughts

Reading about the magnolia tree should light up a spark in you to begin growing one in your own garden. These trees are an absolute delight to see in a landscape, and since they grow so fast, you will be able to enjoy marvelous flowers much sooner than you think!

Featured Image Credit: Vahan Abrahamyan, Shutterstock


Related posts

OUR categories

Project ideas

Hand & power tools