Infuriating. You’ve planted some beautiful Magnolias, and thought you were in for some low-maintenance gardening. The trouble is, you have since found that something is eating at them. But what exactly and how can you overcome these pests? Well, here is everything you are going to want to know and do.
So, what is eating my magnolia flowers? Animals such as squirrels, deer, quail and even wild turkeys are all known to eat magnolias. Weevils, aphids, mites, beetles and magnolia scales are the most common insect predators to watch out for.
That’s the high-level overview.
But I’ve gone into much more detail below on each one.
Then I go through how to overcome each one – so keep reading. Besides, your Magnolias are dependent on it!
What Is Eating My Magnolia Flowers?
Magnolias bloom sweet flowers during Spring time, and squirrels can’t get enough of them!
They’ll eat the magnolia’s seeds as well as its flowers, and they’ll do so regardless of whether the magnolia is in the form of a tree or a shrub.
Whilst some animals are deterred by tall plants, squirrels are renowned climbing pros and always up for the challenge!
Additionally, deer are attracted to the fragrant smell of magnolias.
The taller the tree, the safer the flowers are from deer. However, the same can’t be said for their bark.
Interestingly, deer enjoy feeding on the bark of young magnolia trees. And magnolia shrubs are at risk too!
They’re the perfect height for deer, enabling them to go straight in for the blossoms with ease before moving on and doing some damage to the foliage.
I bet you weren’t expecting to see turkeys listed here!
Whilst turkeys are rarely cited as common garden pests; I thought it would be wrong not to include them.
After all, they love magnolias, and boy, will they let you know it.
They’ll eat the flowers, leaves, bark, and twigs.
Essentially, they’ll eat every single component of the magnolia plant and still have room for seconds.
We just can’t seem to get away from those pesky aphids.
They threaten to invade pretty much every plant in our gardens. Magnolias included.
They’ll suck the sap out of our magnolia plants, and if there’s enough of them doing so, the magnolias will lose out on the nutrients that they so badly need and subsequently begin to die.
Whilst magnolia scales look vastly different from aphids, they operate in the same manner and uncannily so.
That is, they suck considerable quantities of sap out of magnolias and are most dangerous when present in large numbers.
They simultaneously excrete honeydew on the magnolia, which can lead to alternative pest invasions as well as the development of all sorts of problematic bacteria.
It’s important to eliminate them before the damage they cause becomes irreparable.
Weevils (Magnolia Leafminers)
If you come across tiny rice-shaped holes in the leaves of your magnolia plant, it’s very likely that there are some weevils around.
Weevils primarily chew on the leaves of our magnolias and relentlessly so.
As a result, the leaves become distorted and may even disappear altogether.
In turn, the lack of healthy foliage results in an energy-deficient magnolia that is far from its thriving best self.
Beetles absolutely love magnolias since they provide both food and shelter.
Interestingly, it is only the adult beetles which will eat your Magnolias.
Baby beetles spend life in a larval stage, often in covered areas such is in plant beds and roots.
Once they emerge and can fly, that’s when they will gravitate to bright colored flowers and chew right the way through them.
How Do I Stop My Magnolias From Being Eaten
Fortunately, there are measures that you can put in place to prevent animals and insects from invading and eating your magnolias.
By keeping informed and taking relevant action, you can rest assured that you’re doing what you can for your beloved plants.
A common gardening tip is to hose down your plants to knock the aphids and beetles off them.
All you need is your hose pipe and a steady stream of water. It’s easy and effective, our favorite type of solution!
Remember, while you’ll need significant water pressure, you shouldn’t go overboard so as to adversely affect the magnolia.
This approach can be adopted in cases of magnolia-scale invasions too.
You can also remove magnolia scales through the use of neem oil.
Similarly to water, it’s a natural and environmentally friendly solution.
However, rather than knocking the magnolia scales off the plant, it works by suffocating them whilst they’re still on it.
We’re the first to admit that it’s quite a tortuous approach, but it’s one that has been effective for hundreds of years and at no risk to the environment too!
Magnolias have infamously fragrant flowers, but rather than repelling animals; they tend to attract them.
Hence, we recommend placing scent deterrents in the vicinity of your magnolia to override their natural smell.
The deterrents don’t work just to cancel out the smell of the magnolias.
Really, they are intended to actively repel predatory animals.
Deer, squirrels, and turkeys all dislike the smell of cayenne pepper, so spraying it on or around the magnolia will keep them away.
Physical barriers are another worthy solution to keep both deer and turkeys away.
With a high enough fence installed, the animals simply won’t be able to access the magnolias, and your flowers will remain at peace and well intact.
To counter the weevils, your best bet might just be to remove them by hand.
It can be quite a task, but it’s a great way to ensure a thorough removal process.
Simply put on a pair of gloves, pick the weevils off, and drop them into a bucket of soapy water to ensure that they won’t return!
How Do I Get My Magnolias To Flower Again?
Caring for magnolias is relatively straightforward to do.
Of course, the first call of action is to remove any existing pests and put measures in place to prevent them from invading your magnolia in the future too.
Adopt the above-outlined strategies to do so!
Optimize Growing Conditions
Next, you’ll want to double-check that your magnolias are living in the conditions that they need to grow at their best.
That means full sun and well-drained soil.
I also recommend using fertilizer to assist their growth.
You’ll only need to fertilize your magnolia once a year, so don’t worry; it truly is a low-maintenance plant.
Prune Your Magnolias
Finally, if you spot any damaged growth on your magnolias, be sure to prune them.
This will make room for newer, much healthier growth.
You may want to check out my other guides while you are here: