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Teddy Bear Magnolia Care Guide

White Teddy Bear flowers are truly charming, and it’s no surprise they’re becoming a favorite addition to many gardens. In this guide, we’ll cover all you need to know to grow this lovely magnolia successfully.

teddy bear magnolia care

Teddy Bear Magnolia

Plant profile

Care/requirements Magnolia Teddy Bear
Hardiness: USDA zone 7-9
Size: Height 20 ft. and width 12 ft.
Shape: Oval
Type: Deciduous/Evergreen
Light requirements: Minimum 4-6 hours of direct sun per day
Soil: Loam or amended soil
Soil pH: 5.5-7.0 Grow best in slightly acidic soil
Watering: When the soil is 1-2 inches dry
Growth rate: Medium, 10-15 in. per year
Leaves color: Green
Bloom time: Summer and Fall
Flowers: White, fragrant
Best time for planting: Early spring and early fall
Pruning: Fall
Spacing: 7 feet apart (center to center)
Transplanting: Early fall or early spring
Fertilizer: Balanced NPK formula, once per year.
Deer resistant: No
Problems: Pests, diseases

Planting

When planting Teddy Bear, aim for a cloudy day in spring or fall, preferably in the morning or evening, to avoid the intense summer heat.

Choose a spot for this variety that enjoys a few hours of direct sunlight daily and is free from standing water. Ensure Teddy Bear is planted at least 7 feet away from other trees or structures for optimal growth.

Prepare a hole that’s twice the size of the magnolia’s root ball. Enrich the hole with 1-2 buckets of high-quality compost blended with the existing soil. Position the tree so its trunk remains above the soil surface.

Fill the remaining space around the tree with a mix of soil and compost, then thoroughly water the magnolia to settle its roots.

Read also: How To Care For Magnolias

Light requirements

The Teddy Bear Magnolia thrives with about 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. However, if you’re planting it further north, it will need a bit more sun to flourish. Take zone 7 as an example, where it’s recommended for the tree to soak up at least 8 hours of sunlight daily.

This type of magnolia is quite happy basking in the sun all day long, showing a high tolerance for sunny conditions.

However, the Teddy Bear Magnolia won’t do well in full shade. Without any direct sunlight, the tree’s crown becomes sparse, and you’ll miss out on its beautiful flowers. Make sure to plant it in a spot that enjoys several hours of direct sunlight for the best growth and blooms.

teddy bear magnolia care

Teddy Bear Magnolia

Soil

The Teddy Bear Magnolia thrives in slightly damp, well-draining soil but is quite adaptable to various soil types. It does well in clay soil, provided there is no water logging near its roots. However, sandy soil isn’t ideal due to its poor moisture retention. Enhancing sandy soil with compost or peat can improve conditions for this magnolia.

A soil pH between 5.5 and 7.0 is perfect for the Teddy Bear, indicating a preference for acidic environments. It struggles in alkaline soil, as this prevents it from absorbing necessary minerals, leading to chlorosis, or yellowing of the leaves.

Watering

During the Teddy Bear Magnolia’s first two growing seasons, water it whenever the top 1-2 inches of soil feel dry. The need for water varies with the weather; during hot periods, the soil will dry out more quickly.

Make sure to use at least 1 gallon of water per session to thoroughly moisten the soil, rather than just dampening the surface.

After the magnolia has settled in, you can greatly reduce watering or even stop it altogether, except during prolonged dry spells or if you’re dealing with sandy soil, which retains less moisture.

Be cautious of overwatering, as it can lead to root rot—a condition where the roots soften and decay, which is hard to remedy and can fatally damage the tree. To prevent this, ensure water doesn’t pool around the roots.

Pruning

The Teddy Bear Magnolia generally doesn’t require pruning since it’s a medium-sized tree that typically fits well into the space it occupies. However, if you’re aiming for a more compact shape or want to adjust the crown’s appearance, pruning is an option.

It’s best to prune this magnolia in early spring or fall. It’s important to note that pruning, regardless of the timing, may remove some flower buds, leading to a less prolific bloom.

When pruning, never remove more than one-third of the tree in a single year, as this can stress and potentially kill the plant. Always use sharp, properly disinfected tools for the job.

You can safely remove dead branches and spent flowers at any point in the year without harming the tree.

teddy bear magnolia care

Teddy Bear Magnolia

Problems

  1. Yellowing leaves on the Teddy Bear Magnolia are typically due to nutrient deficiencies or root rot. For nutrient issues, incorporating iron chelate and magnesium into the soil can help, and we’ll delve into fertilizers more deeply later.
  2. Root rot in magnolias is challenging to manage. The primary step is to reduce watering frequency or redirect water away from the tree if excess moisture is the problem.
  3. Brown leaves on the Teddy Bear Magnolia often point to either lack of water or exposure to intense sunlight, particularly in younger trees. To mitigate this, provide some shade during the hottest parts of the day for a few months and ensure the soil doesn’t dry out more than an inch deep.
  4. Fungal infections can cause brown spots on the leaves. Promoting good air circulation around the tree and applying a fungicide can help prevent these issues.
  5. Curling leaves or the presence of holes often indicate pest infestations. Treating the magnolia with a water-based horticultural oil solution can effectively address these pests.

Fertilizer

For vibrant blooms on your Teddy Bear Magnolia, consider using a balanced, multi-purpose fertilizer with a slightly higher phosphorus content. It’s beneficial if the fertilizer also includes iron and magnesium, as these are crucial for photosynthesis.

It’s best to fertilize once annually in early spring. Refrain from fertilizing in fall and winter to allow the tree a period of rest.

Incorporating compost into the planting hole and mulching with compost can greatly benefit the tree. Compost acts as an outstanding organic fertilizer, encouraging more robust growth.