The Q&A Archives: Falling Leafs On Dwarf Southern Magnolia

Question: My Monrovia dwarf southern magnolia was planted in a large container on a sunny deck last year. Until last week it has appeared healthy & beautiful. Now all the leaves are curling up and falling off. I live in the Seattle area follow the watering instructions on the tag and use Miracle-Gro . The plant has not been moved and only a trailing licorice plant shares the pot. There is alot of room left in the pot for the tree to grow and I don't see any bugs on the tree or in the soil. Help!?

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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