Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
6 ratings

Tuesday - July 01, 2008

From: Homer City, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Propagation
Title: How can I propagate Magnolia trees? Airlayeringg, semi-hardwood cuttings, and seeds.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Hi. My grandmother recently passed away. One of her most prized possessions was her magnolia tree. She absolutely loved that tree. I, along with other members of the family each want to take a piece from the tree to start our own tree and would like to know how to do it. My cousin took a few branches and planted them in the ground but they seem to be dying. Can you give me any suggestions or direction how to go about this? Thanks

ANSWER:

Admiration of Magnolia trees seems to have a long tradition. This previously asked question describes the story of another cherished Magnolia.

Magnolias may be propagated by a process termed airlayering. In brief, you wound a stem of the plant by girdling, and induce the stem to produce roots at the wound site with the help of rooting hormone and moist sphagnum moss. When the new roots have formed, cut the stem below the roots, and place the rooted stem in a pot with potting soil. Once the plant is established, plant your new Magnolia tree in an appropriate spot in your yard. There are numerous web sites that describe this process, and I'm offering one that has good illustrations with easy to follow instructions.

The article above gives a list of materials to which I would add paitence; don't try to rush the process. In my experience, two months is the minimum time for the roots to form.

Two other means of propagation are semi-hardwood cuttings ( it sounds like your cousin may have been attempting this), and planting seeds.

 

From the Image Gallery


Southern magnolia
Magnolia grandiflora

Southern magnolia
Magnolia grandiflora

Southern magnolia
Magnolia grandiflora

More Propagation Questions

Male and female Maclura pomifera trees in Boaz AL
September 06, 2010 - To grow a Maclura pomifera female tree, do I have to have a male tree for the female to produce fruit?
view the full question and answer

Grafting to a cherry laurel for edible fruit in Austin
July 01, 2010 - I was the one who asked earlier about grafting to a Cherry Laurel. I will happily graft a local plum on it, say a Mexican Plum or American Plum or one of the naturalized peaches (a friend has an India...
view the full question and answer

Source for Frostweed plants or seeds from Portland TX
June 23, 2013 - I am looking for somewhere I can buy Frostweed plants or seeds. I live in Portland, TX, but frequent San Antonio and the Hill Country. Can you help me with this?
view the full question and answer

Varieties of Ceanothus suitable for Illinois
September 07, 2012 - Ceanothus Velutinus is the smell of western Montana, my home, to me, and I have relocated to Illinois. I miss it so much that whenever I go home I bring back a jar of ceanothis leaves and keep th...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover plants for a shady North Carolina yard
March 20, 2016 - Ground cover erosion control for heavily shaded area in Cary, North Carolina. Current landscapers use strong blowers for leaf control. This blows away any seeds, loose soil and mulch. Tree roots ar...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.