How To Grow Magnolia Tree From Cuttings: Magnolia Propagation

Detailed instructions on how to grow a magnolia tree from cutting by in easy to follow steps I am using in Sydney, Australia. Rooting magnolia cuttings need patience and experience. You can put the magnolia cutting in water while you prepare things for propagation. Magnolia tree is one of the most attractive trees one can have at home. The magnolia trees are attractive due to their large glossy dark green leaves and fragrant blossoms. These attractive trees find an important place in any landscape.

Picture of Magnolia Flowers
Magnolia Flowers

These trees are quite costly, $100 for a small tree. So, it is quite interesting to propagate magnolia tree at home. Continue reading below to learn how to propagate magnolia trees from cuttings at home successfully. The procedure is the same for propagating different types of magnolia cuttings including magnolia Grandiflora, Japanese, Southern magnolia, Little gem, etc.

Propagate Magnolias From Cuttings

Picture of magnolia tree
Magnolia Tree

You can propagate magnolia trees from cuttings, seeds (seed pods, how to propagate magnolia from seeds) and air layering (propagate magnolia tree by air layering video) methods. The magnolia tree grown from seed will be very slow to grow and only bloom after 8-10 years. The magnolia cuttings are difficult to root, but the tree will be faster to grow and will flower in about 2-3 years time. 

Propagating magnolia trees from cuttings is simple but the success rate is quite low. The procedure for magnolia propagation from cuttings from broken branches is the same for all types of magnolias including ever green magnolia, pink magnolias, southern magnolia, teddy bear magnolia tree, etc.

Things You Need To Propagate Magnolia Cuttings

Pruning shears or knife
A Pot
Potting media (soil)
Rooting hormone
A Polythene bag or Ziploc bag
Patience (very important)
I tried 4-5 times to start a magnolia tree from cuttings, but each time I they did not strike and failed. I have now somewhat mastered the technique of starting the magnolia tree from cuttings. But still, the success rate may be 50 percent. You can try the following method to root the magnolia cuttings quickly.

When To Propagate Magnolia Tree

If you want to grow magnolia from seeds, autumn is the best time for sowing seeds. The propagation of magnolia from cuttings is done when the temperature is more than 21 C (summer), i.e. from December to February in Australia and by grafting in autumn. Start propagation in the morning or evening.

How to Root A Magnolia Cutting

One of the important thing for the success in rooting a magnolia tree is the cleanliness. Wash the pruning shears/knife and rooting pot with dilute bleach solution or denatured alcohol.
magnolia tree care

Taking Magnolia Cuttings

  1. Taking cuttings correctly is the most important step for getting success in propagating magnolia trees. What type of magnolia cuttings are suitable for rooting, hardwood or softwood for propagation.
  2. Select the newly growing tips of branches (softwood magnolia cuttings), about 6-7 inch long and 3-5 mm in diameter. Preferably take stem cuttings from the point where the new growth has emerged from old wood.
  3. Place the cuttings in clean water as you prepare for other things.
One may try to root the magnolia cuttings in water, but the cuttings may rot in water. You need to put cuttings in some rooting medium to root, as described below.

Rooting Media

Free draining propagating soil is needed. I mix 1 part potting mix with 3 parts washed river sand or perlite. You could take coarse river sand without mixing anything to it.

Picture of Rooted magnolia cuttings
Magnolia propagated from cuttings

How to grow magnolia in containers
  1. Take a small pot (3-4 inch diameter) with several holes at the bottom. The small pot is suitable for propagating one cutting. I take 10 inch pot and try to root 4-5 magnolia cuttings together.
  2. Fill the pot with the propagating medium and water thoroughly. Water again and turn the soil to ensure that the soil is wet at all places.
  3. Keep the pot aside for half an hour. In the meantime, you prepare the cuttings.

Planting the Magnolia Cuttings

  1. Take one cutting and remove all of its leaves except the top 2-3 leaves which you cut into half.
  2. Scrap lightly the lower 1 inch of the cutting with the knife and make a 1 inch vertical cut (from bottom of the cutting to 1 inch up) at the center.
  3. Apply rooting hormone at the lower end, scrap portion and in the slit of the cutting.
  4. Insert a stick in the soil down to a depth 1 inch above the bottom.
  5. Insert the prepared cutting in the hole (do not push) and secure it by pressing the soil around it.
  6. Similarly plant all the cuttings.
  7. Enclose the pot in a Ziploc bag to keep in humidity. I enclose it in a clear plastic bag and tie it at the top.
  8. Place the pot in a bright place but away from direct sun.
  9. Every week, open the bag and mist the cuttings. Close the bag again. Remove any fallen leaves.
  10. How long do magnolia cuttings take to root. After about 4-6 weeks, new growth will emerge. This is the time when the roots are starting to begin. Keep the pot enclosed for another 2-3 weeks.
  11. After that, open the bag and see if there are roots emerging from the bottom holes of the  pot or just tuck the cutting, if it is resistive, that means that the roots are there.
  12. Warning: Do not pull out the cutting to see if it has rooted.

Acclimatize the magnolia propagated plant

  1. Open the bag for half day only for next 3-4 days.
  2. Remove the bag and place the pot in shade for 1 week.
  3. Allow the morning sun for 1 week.

Transplant the Cuttings

The next step is to transplant the rooted magnolia cuttings in pots filled with highly nutrient soil. 

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