Adding trees to your yard is an excellent way to improve the looks of your outdoor space. Besides the aesthetic effect, it can help make your garden “more liveable,” especially if you like to spend time outdoors. And who doesn’t like how magnolia trees look (and smell)? If you want to learn how to plant magnolia seeds, keep reading. Here, we included everything you must know about the process!
While you can buy magnolia trees in a garden store or a dedicated nursery, you could also do so from seeds.
If you didn’t know that, after blooming, magnolias produce seed pods that display bright red berries inside. They look like pine cones but are more exotic. Their vivid colors attract plenty of small mammals to the trees.
If you live in a region where magnolias are common, you might have seen them on the ground. But did you know that inside, you can find seeds that you could plant in your garden and from which new trees might spur?
How to Grow a Magnolia Tree from Seeds
If you have a magnolia in your garden, you might be interested in propagating the tree from its seeds. Or you may want to try your luck by planting those you find in seed pod on the ground.
We don’t want to lie to you: propagating magnolia trees is challenging, as you can’t buy the seeds in packets.
Also, the seeds’ viability doesn’t last long, meaning that you can only grow a tree by planting fresh seeds from berries under ideal conditions and at the appropriate time of the year. But that doesn’t make it impossible!
In the following sections, you’ll find our recommendations and tips to increase your chances of success! Don’t forget that magnolias do best in USDA hardiness zones 6 to 9. So, avoid trying to plant such trees in other parts of the country.
Of course, the first step of growing a magnolia tree from seeds is getting some cones. While they might split open at different times of the year depending on the magnolia variety, you can expect most trees to display the vivid red seeds in late autumn.
Don’t forget to be patient: growing a tree from seeds can take time (and effort). But, by following our tips and recommendations, you shouldn’t have problems.
When to Plant Your Seeds
A crucial part of being successful at growing a magnolia tree from seeds is placing freshly picked ones overnight in a bucket of warm water. Doing this will allow you to check their availability: throw away any seeds that float to increase your chances of success.
Soaking magnolias’ seeds in water help soften the seed coat: you will be able to remove it after this process by scrubbing them with a paper towel.
Don’t forget to “scarify” the seeds by lightly rubbing them with sandpaper or steel wool. It might sound like an unnecessary step, but it removes protective oils and facilitates germination.
After that, store your seeds in a cold location (the temperature should be around 40-45F) or in the fridge. This step is called “stratification” and takes between 3 to 6 months.
Then comes the most exciting part: planting your seeds outdoors! Do so when the temperatures outdoor reach 70F.
The best time of the year to plant them is in the spring. At this time of the year, the temperatures are warm enough to allow them to establish in the soil but not too extreme. But if you live in a region where springs are not as hot, you should consider starting your magnolia seeds indoors.
How to Plant Magnolia Seeds
We suggest planting magnolia seeds in loose soil, fertile and slightly acidic. Such conditions are ideal for magnolia’s growth and increase your chances of success.
Under optimal conditions, it might take weeks for your seeds to germinate. Don’t forget to keep the soil moist during that time. After germination, only water your seedlings when the ground feels dry.
If you decide to plant your seeds indoors, only transplant them after a few years. You can grow your tree indoors until it gets bigger.
Also, don’t forget to harden your plants off before exposing them to outdoor conditions. It is a process that only takes slightly more than a week, but it will make a considerable difference in the strength of your plants.
Related Article: Why is My Magnolia Tree Blooming in September?