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What can have killed my 10 year old Magnolia Stellata.  Last year it was beautiful - this year it has failed to show any signs of life at all.  Any ideas on what could have killed it?  Also, if I plant another one in the same place is it likely to die too?


What a shame. Unusual for this hardy plant to die without warning after being established for so long.I'd be reluctant to replant with anything valuable, especially the same species, without having a good idea of the cause. Did it show any symptoms, like leaves yellowing over the summer, or oozing from the bark, or toadstools in the autumn?

Alina W

Two things come to mind - waterlogging and low temperatures. If you had a very cold winter in 2010, it might have weakened the tree, and a second cold spell finished it off.

Re-planting in the same area - you would need to improve the soil, as the tree will have taken a lot out of it, but other than that I think you'd be OK.

Alina W

Cross-posted, Goldilocks

I don't know about Lincs, but there were a few magnolias which turned up their toes after the very cold winter we had here, hence my thought that it would probably be OK to re-plant.


My magnolia stellata has not actually died, quite - but there is not a sign of a single flower thisy yar, and it is usually covered.   Will give it much TLC, feeeding etc as possible this year, but am beginning to have my doubts about its long term future having read these posts. 


Thanks for the replies.  There were no signs last year of anything wrong but after winter 2010 being extremely cold we did have another very cold snap this year.  Also, how are magnolias with drought as I have never watered it since it became established?


 It's all very strange. Magnolia stellata is hardy to -25 C and lower, according to the magnolia specialist sites, and it grows in Zone 4, -28C, in its native Japan. My MIL had one in her garden in Wales, 1000 feet up, where we had night temperatures of -13 C and never above -3 C for two weeks one winter, and it was fine. 

Magnolia stellata has moderate drought tolerance when established as yours was, provided it is planted in good moisture holding soil, ideally acidic, though it will do well in alkaline soil in humus rich soil. If your magnolia was suffering from drought then I think you would have noticed it shed quite a lot of its leaves. 

I have lost most of my ceanothus, all my established bay trees, and my two chenomeles Crimson and Gold have been cut dead to the base, where there is some new growth. I have never had this before. The chaenomeles is supposed to be as hardy as the magnolia stellata hybrid that has just flowered brilliantly in my alkaline soil - down to -25 C!!

Maybe it is the cold weather - maybe very hardy plants grown in relatively mild climates get 'soft' and then are vulnerable  to unusually low temperatures. MIL's stellata was used to much cold winters, so maybe it grew up tough. 

I have decided that I am going to replace my ceanothus (Concha) with the same variety, in the same spot, with added Rootgrow. I am taking a risk, but I can't believe we'll have two such hard winters again for quite a few years. Maybe you should do the same. 


Our Magnolia  Stellata has been a shadow of its former self. Usually it is covered in flowers but this year we had three. The branches were covered in lichen. We had a look at the roots and gave it a good feed and see what happens.


My Magnolia stellata is about 30 years old and the branches are covered in lichen - I don't think this harms the tree.

Last year my Bottlebrush tree had to very,very severely pruned as it

looked almost dead after the horrid winter we had - I thought it wasn't going to survive but it did,thank goodness


Hi Lilylouise, lovely pictures. Our magnolia is about 5 years old. It doesn't seem to grow much but until now it has always had a lot of flowers.

Will persevere with my magnolia there's always next year

i just bought a magnolia stellata, and now i'm wondering why!   for what it's worth, the local garden centre plant "doctor" told me that magnolias which are subjected to cold winds, even in early winter, suffer damage to the buds which are not yet properly formed, and this can result in no flowers.  he was very definite that it must be planted against a wall facing west, or south, but never where the morning sun can cause the buds to suffer frost burn.  all the surviving mag. stellatas that i know, were well wrapped this winter.  it sounds as though we had very similar conditions to yours (i'm in switzerland).  

T have the same problem, but I think is because a acer tree has grow to big and the magnolia is in deep shadow in summer and I was on holiday when the tree needed to be watering. Nu I try watering when the buds start grow Unfortunately, I have any bud this year ether.


Hello everybody,


I was hoping for some advice. I bought a magnolia stella about 5 years ago now and it has NEVER flowered. Not once. It has grown san awful lot, but I thought that magnolias didn't need trimming and so I haven't. It is always covered in catkins, but not one flower yet.


Any advice? I'm desperate for flowers. That's why I bought it




Hi  Sarah

I think the 'catkins' you refer to are fuzzy flower buds - I'm not sure why they're not opening into flowers for you. 

Is it in a position where the buds may be damaged by frost?

Does it get plenty of water and sunshine?

Do you ever see pigeons or squirrels in your magnolia eating the buds?


Hello Dovefromabove

Okay, so the tree is in the front garden, which admittedly gets the sun in a morning from sunrise, but then it's in shade for the afternoon.

Loads of sunshine - no. Some, but I have the suspicion maybe not enough.

No I've never seen anything eating the buds. It's actually completely full of them at present.


Then we shall keep our fingers crossed for flowers very soon

Let us know how things progress


we moved into a house this winter and have a couple of large magnolia stelleta in the front garden. One half of the largest tree is budding nicely but the other half is apparently dead.  Is there any diseases we should be aware of before we chop down the dead half? 



we moved into a house this winter and have a couple of large magnolia stelleta in the front garden. One half of the largest tree is budding nicely but the other half is apparently dead.  Is there any diseases we should be aware of before we chop down the dead half? 



I found this forum when looking for a possible cause for the death of my beautiful star magnolia this winter.  There were no signs of problems, it is probably at least 30-40 years old, and yesterday when I looked closely - because it is normally the first thing to bloom in my garden and it never woke up from winter -- i saw that the branches were all bone dry and brittle.  It looks like the whole tree is dead.  We had a relatively mild winter this year so it couldn't have been the cold temperatures.  Any thoughts on a possible cause?  I'm so heartbroken!