How to Grow Magnolia from Seeds | Propagate magnolia Tree From Seed

Know how to grow a magnolia tree from seed after seed stratification and germination, as I have done in Sydney, Australia. Magnolia from seeds can be propagated, but you cannot buy magnolia seeds, you have to harvest and save them from a mature magnolia flower/pod on the magnolia tree. It is pointed out that the seed grown magnolia will take more than 10 years to mature and bloom, but the magnolia tree grown from a cutting may bloom in only a year.

While it requires patience and care, the process of growing magnolia trees from seeds is an exciting experience for you and your kids to see how a tiny seed grows a big tree.

Little Gem Magnolia Tree in a Pot
Little Gem Magnolia Tree in a Pot

Following is a detailed guide that show the steps about growing magnolia trees from seeds.

Magnolia tree care | How to grow magnolia in containers | How to fertilize magnolia trees | How to propagate magnolias | Magnolia tree diseases and treatment | How to plant a magnolia tree |

Propagating Magnolia Trees From Seeds

Selecting the Right Magnolia Seeds

The important step is to get high-quality seeds. The magnolia seeds are not available in garden shops, you have to obtain them from mature magnolia fruit or pods or cones called follicles. The picture shows a magnolia seed pod revealing seeds.

When to Pick Magnolia Seeds

Look for pods that have turned brown and dried on the tree. Once the follicles split and open up naturally on the tree, it is time to harvest the seeds or the whole pods. The seeds are often of red or reddish-orange color, covered in a waxy coat. These seeds are mature and ready for germination.

Magnolia Pod harvested too early.
Magnolia Pod Harvested at Wrong Time

The above picture shows a magnolia pod that was harvested at wrong time. This pod was not revealing any seeds and was picked off the tree. This pod should have been left on the tree to ripen fully to split and open to reveal seeds, as shown in the following picture.

Magnolia Pod harvested at correct time. The Pod is revealing seeds.
Magnolia Pod Harvested at Correct time.

Magnolia Seed Preparation

Gently remove the seeds from the pods, be careful not to damage the seeds in the process.

Soak the seeds in water for two days in order to loosen the seed coat. Rinse the seeds in lukewarm water to remove any remaining pulp or debris. This step helps prevent mold growth during germination.

Magnolia Seed Germination Process

The germination of magnolia seeds is tricky, they need a period of stratification to break their dormancy.

Magnolia Seed Stratification

Stratification involves subjecting the seeds to a period of cold and damp conditions to simulate the natural winter they would experience in their native habitat.

You may scar the hard coat of the seeds by rubbing the seeds with sandpaper to speed up the germination process. This step is optional.

Place the cleaned seeds in a plastic bag with damp peat moss or vermiculite, then seal the bag and refrigerate it for 2 to 3 months. This step breaks the seeds' dormancy and prepares them for germination. You may see some seeds may already have sprouted or swollen.

Sowing Seeds

After stratification, sow the seeds in pots filled with well-draining, acidic soil. Plant the seeds about half an inch to an inch deep. Water the soil gently but thoroughly after sowing. Keep the soil moist until the seedlings emerge.

Cover the pots with plastic wrap or enclose the bag in a polythene bag to create a mini greenhouse-like environment. This helps retain moisture and warmth, encouraging germination.

Ideal Conditions for Germination: Place the pots in a bright warm location, but away from direct sunlight.

The seeds need a temperature around 21-27°C (70-80°F) for germination. If outside temperature is not in this temperature range, then you can place the pot indoors.

Most magnolia seeds will take between a month to two months to germinate, but the seeds which have already sprouted in the stratification process will grow seedling quickly.

Magnolia Seedling Care

Watering: Keep the soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged. Keep the soil consistently moist during the tree's establishment phase. Once established, magnolia trees are relatively drought-tolerant but still appreciate regular watering, especially during dry periods.

Transplanting: Once the seedlings develop two to three sets of leaves and are strong enough to handle, usually after a few months, they can be transplanted into larger containers. Use a well-draining potting mix suitable for acid-loving plants.

Outdoor Planting: Gradually expose the seedling to outdoor conditions. Expose the seedling to morning sun for a week, then increase the exposure periods each day. This process helps the tree adjust to temperature fluctuations and wind.

Choosing a Planting Site: Magnolia trees thrive in well-draining soil with slightly acidic to neutral pH. They prefer a location with dappled sunlight or morning sun and afternoon shade. Ensure the planting hole is twice the size of the root ball and amend the soil with organic matter if needed.

Planting the magnolia tree: Carefully transplant the seedling into the prepared hole and back fill with soil. Water the newly planted tree thoroughly to settle the soil around the roots.

Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of the tree to conserve moisture, prevent weeds, and protect the roots from temperature extremes.

Pruning: Prune your magnolia tree during its dormant period to shape its growth, remove dead or diseased branches, and promote airflow.

When Magnolia will Bloom?

The natural question comes to mind, when the seed grown magnolia will flower, how long will it take to bloom. The magnolia tree propagated from seed will take at least 10 years to reach a flowering size tree.

By following the correct procedure for seed picking, stratification and germination, you can certainly grow a magnolia tree from seed with success.

Videos on How To Grow Magnolia Tree From Seeds

How to plant magnolia tree in ground video
How to fertilize magnolias youtube video
How to propagate a magnolia tree youtube
magnolia propagataion from cutting, flowering in 2 years
repotting magnolia tree youtube video
Grow magnolia in containers youtube video
How to prune magnolia little gem