Explore Plants

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
    
 

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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - July 07, 2011

From: Springtown, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Trees
Title: Propagating magnolias from Springtown TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am trying to find out how to plant Magnolia tree seeds and what has to be done with them prior to planting, if anything and what type of soil to use.

ANSWER:

There are 3 magnolias native to Texas: Magnolia grandiflora (Southern magnolia), Magnolia pyramidata (Pyramid magnolia), and Magnolia virginiana (Sweetbay). Parker County is in the Blackland Prairie of Texas, and you can read the list of plants recommended for that area, although the list contains no magnolias. Here is a description of the soils in that area:

"The Blackland Prairies area intermingles with the Post Oak Savannah in the southeast and has divisions known as the San Antonio and Fayette Prairies. This rolling and well-dissected prairie represents the southern extension of the true prairie that occurs from Texas to Canada. The upland blacklands are dark, calcareous shrink-swell clayey soils, changing gradually with depth to light marls or chalks. Bottomland soils are generally reddish brown to dark gray, slightly acid to calcareous, loamy to clayey and alluvial. The soils are inherently productive and fertile, but many have lost productivity through erosion and continuous cropping."

The soil description for Magnolia grandiflora (Southern magnolia) is:

"Soil Description: Rich, porous, acid soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam Clay, Acid-based, Calcareous"

According to this Plant Profile Map for that tree, it grows mostly in East Texas, where the soils are more acidic, but Parker County is not far from that area, so it's worth a try.

From our webpage on Magnolia grandiflora (Southern magnolia), we suggest you read the whole page), here are the Propagation Instructions:

"Propagation

Propagation Material: Seeds
Description: Propagation methods include the use of fresh seed sown in fall, stratified seed, or wounded, semi-hardwood cuttings taken in summer. The seed of evergreen magnolias seems to germinate more quickly than that of the deciduous varieties.
Seed Collection: Gather as soon as comes drop or the red seeds appear. When ripe, the seeds are bright red, fleshy, oily, soft on the outside and stony on the inside. Clean and store in moist sand or sphagnum moss in refrigerator. Cold, moist storage also serves at stratification.
Seed Treatment: Stored seed must be kept moist and cool which will also serve as stratification. Stratify at least 60 days.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Maintain moist soil, Remove dead growth, Prevent complete soil dryness, Do not prune lower limbs & leaves, Fertilize in spring, mid-season & fall with azalea/camellia-type fertilizer"

"Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Rich, porous, acid soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam Clay, Acid-based, Calcareous
Conditions Comments: Southern magnolia is a relatively fast-growing tree. It casts a dark shade, making underplanting difficult. Prune after blooming during the growing season because dormant magnolias do not easily heal. Fallen leaves are messy and never seem to decompose. They can be chopped with a rotary mower and blown back under the branches to recycle nutients. Must be given protection from winter winds and sun in northern part of its range. Relatively pest free. Seedlings are quite sensitive to frost."

 

From the Image Gallery


Southern magnolia
Magnolia grandiflora

Southern magnolia
Magnolia grandiflora

Southern magnolia
Magnolia grandiflora

Southern magnolia
Magnolia grandiflora

More Propagation Questions

Encouraging Daisies to Reappear
September 16, 2007 - Having moved into our home in the early spring of the year we hadn't seen any of the flowering plants around the place until we were living here and we were not given any info on care for them. So ...
view the full question and answer

Survival possibility of transplant of sucker from oak tree
May 15, 2006 - My neighbor has a young oak tree in his front yard. It has small leaves and round acorns and once a year sprouts shoot up at its base. The neighbor was kind enough to let me dig some up to try to tr...
view the full question and answer

Trimming iris leaves in Pickerington OH
June 08, 2010 - I recently trimmed the stems and leaves of my iris plants in late May - I realize now this was a bit early. The leaves are still about 3-4" out of the ground. I would like to half them and move som...
view the full question and answer

Bulbils on Turks cap lily
July 21, 2005 - My Turks cap lily has dark pea size growths at the bass of each leaf. Are these the seeds? How and when do I harvest seeds from this plant?
view the full question and answer

Care and propagation of American Beautyberry
July 20, 2007 - We have an American Beautyberry growing on our lot. Before we fenced the backyard it was browsed by deer, and survived by wedging itself between the fence and a juniper tree. How can we: 1. encou...
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.