Question: Our saucer magnolia never finishes blooming. Late freezes always catch it in flower. Is there anything that would slow it down?

Answer: Many folks refer incorrectly to that plant as being a “tulip tree” because its pink or near-white blooms resemble that popular flower. It’s actually a deciduous magnolia, suited primarily to the northern half of the state. Unfortunately, it has a very low chilling requirement (not unlike apricots, for example). Once it’s had enough cold weather its flower buds will start to open. That usually happens in February along the Red River and in March in the Panhandle. Unfortunately, there’s still lots of chance of frost at those times. Learn to enjoy it when it does bloom and don’t fret the rest.

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