En Español

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

Removal of pups from Century Plant after blooming in Prairieville LA
October 03, 2009 - Will the main part of the century plant always die after it grows a stalk? I have babies coming off the base and need to know if I should separate them to keep them alive.
view the full question and answer

Dividing obedient plant in New Waterford OH
September 19, 2009 - I live in northeast Ohio, and have an obedient plant, which has spread, (a little) since last year when I bought it. I really do like the plant, and wanted to put it in several more areas in the garde...
view the full question and answer

Restoring and propagating rhododendrons
October 18, 2006 - I have 70+ year old native rhododendrons (16+ feet high) in my backyard. After all these years they are beginning to get dammaged by snow load and ice. Therefore I have 2 quesitons concerning these b...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Texas bluebells from seed
July 29, 2008 - I have a few Texas Bluebell seeds. I would like to grow these in my yard. What would be the best place..pot or flower bed? When should I plant? How to maintain?
view the full question and answer

Texas mail order nurseries for perennials from Centennial CO
May 27, 2010 - Can you advise Texas mail order nurseries for perennials?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center