En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Growing Magnolia from Seed in Dallas

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Wednesday - October 20, 2010

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Growing Magnolia from Seed in Dallas
Answered by: Mike Tomme

QUESTION:

I recently visited the property that had once been my grandmother's. Lots of memories. The house burned down years ago, but the magnolia tree that she loved still stood. I gathered several dried seed pods and put them in a bag thinking I would grow a magnolia from my grandmother's tree. When I got home, there were five red seeds in the bottom of the sack. My grandmother had five children including my mother so I sort of think I am supposed to try this. Anything you can offer that would help me grow these seeds would be appreciated. I believe the tree is the variety grandiflora. Patti Herndon

ANSWER:

Let's see here - five seeds, five children, yep, you're supposed to try this.

Magnolia grandiflora (Southern magnolia) is a magnificent tree and it holds a special place for all of us from the south.

Dr. William C. Welch of Texas A&M has written an article about the southern magnolia. In that article, he gives detailed instructions on how to propagate the tree from seed, including the preparation and care of the seeds. Here is that part of the article:

_________

There are frequent requests to my office for instructions on growing magnolias from seed. The seeds should be collected as soon as possible after the fruit is mature which is usually mid-September or early October. The cone-like fruit should be spread out to dry for several days until they open. The seeds can then be shaken from the dried cone or fruit.

If the seed is to be kept for any length of time, the red pulp should be allowed to dry enough to lose its fleshy character, placed in sealed containers and stored at 32 to 41 degrees F. If stored over winter at room temperature seed will lose its viability. The seed should be cleaned before planting or stratifying. To remove the fleshy seed coat, soak the seed overnight in warm water. Remove the seed coat by rubbing against hardware cloth or window screening. After cleaning, the seeds should be sown immediately or stored for 3 to 6 months at about 40 degrees F and planted in the spring. An excellent way to stratify seeds is to use a polyethylene bag and place alternating layers of a moist medium such as a sand and peat mixture and seeds in the bag. Tie the top of the bag and place in a refrigerator at about 40 degrees. The medium should be just moist enough to stick together but not so wet that it will drip if squeezed by hand.

Whether sown in the fall or stratified in the refrigerator and sown in the spring, the seeds should be covered with about l/4" of soil and mulched to prevent drying. Seedbeds should be kept moist until germination is complete. Partial shade should be provided the first summer for seedlings.

_________

Success for the long term with any plant is going to depend on its growing conditions so pick locations with favorable sun and soil conditions as described in the links above. Also, this grows to be a large tree, so make sure you have plenty of room.


Magnolia grandiflora

 

 

More Propagation Questions

Plants for Daisy Girl Scout native plants project
December 13, 2013 - Hello, I am a daisy Girl Scout leader and we are working on one of our Journeys and Native Plants Patch Program which requires our group of 5-6 year old girls to plant and care for a mini-garden. ...
view the full question and answer

Baby mountain laurels are ready to move, in Lockhart Texas
October 19, 2011 - I want to harvest the baby mountain laurel plants which are growing under a large bush. What height would be best for the young plants survival? Please recommend a soil mixture for the pots.
view the full question and answer

Transplanting trilliums in dormancy in Michigan
February 15, 2006 - I live in Michigan. I have a Trillium in my yard and we are having a new septic field put in. I need to know if I can save the whole plant and can I keep it in the house or do I just need the bulb a...
view the full question and answer

Growing butterfly weed as a girl scout project
July 30, 2012 - We have a group of girl scouts who want to sell 'crafts' at a farmers market. I am wanting to steer the moms and girls in a different direction. I was wondering if you think that butterfly weed woul...
view the full question and answer

Cultivation of Gossypium hirsutum, Upland Cotton
February 08, 2006 - I got a cotton boll (seeds and all) at a spinning workshop. I spun the cotton and the lady who brought the cotton boles said the seeds could be planted and the plant could be grown in a container on ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center