Answer: Aside from extreme heat and/or lack of water, there's really no reason for your magnolia to suddenly show signs of distress. As long as there's plenty of room in the container for root growth and there are adequate drainage holes so excess water can quickly drain out, your tree should be happy living in a container. The only caution about growing plants in containers is the temperature extremes the roots may have to endure when sunshine directly hits the container. I suspect that the recent hot weather in Seattle has affected your tree by baking the roots. It may recover - continue to water regularly, hold off on fertilizer, and shade the pot from direct sunshine. Best wishes with your magnolia!
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