If you want to know how to grow magnolia from seed, this article is definitely for you! Magnolia is one of those trees that can enchant any plant lover. This tree is considered one of the symbols of spring. It blooms around April with a veil of delicate flowers that vary in color from milky white to purple and yellow. If you're having trouble not knowing exactly which tree are you looking at – try our tree and plant identifier tool. The range of magnolia varieties is impressive – about 240 evergreen and deciduous species.
Are Magnolia Trees Easy to Grow?
Even though the process of growing magnolia is pretty complicated, it will still be worth it. You'll only need to follow the growing guide very carefully.
Although there are many types of Magnolias, here are the most popular ones:
Its creamy white flowers are about 4-6 in (10-15 cm) in size and may remind you of lily blossoms. However, the trees smell nothing like lilies: the flowers have an unusual smell of lemon!
You can grow magnolia trees with star-shaped flowers. They have a pleasant sweet aroma, and the inflorescences can be of different colors – from delicate white to rich pink. The seedling looks like an overgrown bush or a small tree when it grows.
It is considered one of the most luxurious types of magnolia. The tree blooms with crimson flowers. The seedling itself practically does not emit odors. This species becomes no more than 16 ft (5 m) in height, so it might be a perfect option for a compact garden.
Magnolia can be propagated in two ways:
None of the methods, however, is easy. The nominal seed method is often used, as this helps preserve species characteristics.
Simple Steps To Grow Magnolia Trees
How to Harvest Magnolia Seeds
Magnolia blooms very early, in April. Due to global warming, it can even bloom twice a year. You can observe flowering for a whole month (this is why gardeners love magnolia so much). In the early autumn, the seedling begins to produce fruits that are called follicles. They come in different shapes: cylinder or cone-shaped. The fruits themselves are not edible, so you can use them only for seeds: each fruit contains several of them. To harvest magnolia seeds, wait until the follicles open up. When the red seeds are exposed, you will know it's time to gather them.
It is essential to know that magnolia seeds are covered with a red oily shell. Scientifically, this shell is called sarcotesta. It protects the seeds from drying out. Dry seeds will never germinate. Therefore, if you immediately decide to buy seeds to avoid bothering too much, be sure that they come with a natural shell or in a humid container.
How to Get Rid of Magnolia Seed Pods
The best way to do this is with your nails. After you peel the seeds, it is necessary to wash them with dish detergent. The same oil remains on the seeds. It also interferes with the germination of magnolia seeds. The liquid detergent will help you wash off this oiliness.
This magnolia tree planting term means that you must subject the seeds to winter conditions. Why? It is all since the seeds contain substances that prevent germination too early. Usually, seeds fall into the ground in autumn and germinate only in spring. By exposing the seeds to winter conditions, we make them think that spring is coming.
- Take a moist and loose substrate, such as sphagnum. It should be soaked for half an hour in the water and then squeezed well.
- Immerse the magnolia seeds in this soil and cover them with substrate from all sides.
- Place the soil and seed mix in a plastic container with a lid.
- Put the container in the refrigerator ensuring that the shelf or drawer is not too close to the freezer.
- Control the temperature in the fridge. It should not exceed 4-5˚C (about 40˚F).
In such conditions, you need to keep magnolia seeds for three months. Every few weeks, you need to open and check the container. If the soil has dried out, moisten it. And if the seeds are covered with mold, do not panic; simply rinse them with water. In mid-January, the seeds will be ready to germinate.
Magnolia Tree Planting Stages
Sowing Seeds Into the Soil
Around mid-January, your seeds will be ready to be planted into substrate.
- Prepare a suitable container with good drainage. The soil should be loose and fertile. It would be best if you also thought about supplements. There are particular nutrients for nutrition (bio humus can be used) and moisture retention.
- Place magnolia seeds at a depth of 1.5 in (3 cm) and cover them with soil.
- Now put the container in a warm, visible place.
It will take another two months for magnolia seeds to germinate. However, it would be best to remember to water the container regularly – this is critical for seeds.
Sprouts appear by mid-March. At this time, they critically need light. Therefore, it is best to place the magnolia tree growing container by the south-facing window, and if there is a lack of light, use a growth lamp.
After you're done with the hardest part of the process, water and feed your seedlings regularly. Magnolia is a quite hardy and fast-growing plant. As early as the first year, you can expect shoots that are 4-11 in (10-30 cm) in height.
When it comes to the winter period, it is necessary to consider your region's climate. For example, if the winter in your area is usually warm and the temperatures don't drop below 32˚F (0˚C), you can safely plant seedlings directly into the ground. If winters are cold and harsh, delay planting for a year or two. The seedling must become more stable.
General Tips On How to Grow a Magnolia Tree
- Prepare the right soil.
- Make sure the sun is kind.
- Do not expose the tree to strong winds.
- Keep pests away from the tree.
- Do not overwater your magnolia.
Tips For Proper Planting Of Magnolia Tree
- Make sure the substrate is loose and well-draining: magnolia does not like sandy, clay, heavy or waterlogged soils.
- The plant's roots are fragile, so choose a place protected from solid winds or drafts.
- Opt for a sunny area when choosing a spot for your future tree.
- However, if you live in a very hot region, provide half shade for your growing magnolia tree.
How fast do magnolia trees grow from seed?
The process of preparing seeds for germination takes several months. You will receive the first sprouts two months after planting magnolia seeds in the soil.
Can you start a magnolia tree from a seed?
Certainly! You need to stock up on a lot of time and patience. Do not be afraid, though – the result will not disappoint you.
How do you germinate magnolia seeds?
You will never be able to germinate magnolia seeds without stratifying them. This is why you must winterize the seeds to dissolve the substance that prevents the seeds from germinating.
Magnolia is a quirky but also an insanely beautiful plant. It will bloom for the first time ten years after planting. But this flowering will be the most beautiful and charming one. The fact that you have grown this plant yourself will add even more pride and love to the process. After your tree is established, you may want to find more information on plant care, so feel free to search this site for further details. Make sure you take good care of your magnolia, and it will surprise you with gorgeous flowers every year!
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