I have a Magnolia and Var... #219134 - Ask Extension


I have a Magnolia and Var... #219134

Asked November 02, 2014, 12:12 PM EST

I have a Magnolia and Variegated Wigealia. They are planted next to each other, both are healthy and very well established( at least 8 yr.'s old). Last spring, Magnolia only had one bloom and wigelia tried for first time to bloom, only one little cluster. The leaves have all fallen off of Magnolia and is super covered with the new blooms for next spring. Question is, do you think covering them up for the winter with a sheet or a tarp would protect them? Last yr. and the yr. before I did not cover, the yr. before last the Mag. bloomed. Was are winter last yr. so awful it froze the blooms off?? Or would the Deer have eaten the blooms? What do you think? If I cover them should I use sheets or a tarp? Live in No.Isanti county about 17Mi. So. of Mora or 5 Mi. No. of Cambridge. Planted at S.W. of house, backyard, tons of protection by many over 30yr. old White Pine Trees, maybe about 8 to 10 yrd.s away from house. Thank You, Nancy Taylor

Isanti County Minnesota

Expert Response

Hi Nancy,
Almost everyone I've talked with has said that last year was the worst ever for early spring-blooming plants.  My own 20 foot magnolia was covered in flower blossoms in the fall, and I had about 8 that made it!

 Unfortunately the flowers of the commonly grown star magnolia and saucer magnolia are susceptible to frost. Magnolias planted on the south side of buildings are hit the hardest, since the warm microclimate pushes the flower buds out especially early. Magnolias planted on the east and north side seem to benefit by a more consistently cold spring.

It is unrealistic to cover a tree in hopes of preserving spring blossoms - Some years will be kind to our plants, and others won't.  If the roots are protected, and the plant continues to grow in a healthy manner some day you will see a typical spring bloom.

The weigela may be another issue.  There are many types of weigela and some are more prone to winter damage than others.   I don't know which one you have, but it may help to cover it in extremely harsh weather.

On the other hand, perhaps it simply needs more light, or a different soil?  Weigelas should bloom right from the first year that they are planted.  If they are properly pruned they will produce flowers at least twice a year. They do best in full sun, and after 8 years, your weigelia should need some serious pruning, because they grow rapidly, and can become leggy - and will produce fewer blooms when they become over-grown.  

You may want to consider moving this shrub, or perhaps a good pruning program could help it produce more blossoms.  Here are some links that will help you decide how to prune this plant:


I hope this is helpful.  Thanks for contacting AaE!

Mary Courteau Replied November 02, 2014, 11:11 PM EST

Loading ...