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Mr. Smarty Plants - Propagating Magnolia grandiflora from Murfreesboro TN

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Wednesday - August 03, 2011

From: Murfreesboro, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: Propagation, Trees
Title: Propagating Magnolia grandiflora from Murfreesboro TN
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

There are several Magnolia grandiflora (Southern magnolia) that have been planted in my neighborhood in middle Tennessee by a landscaping company, and now that they all appear to be producing seeds, I am hoping to gather some of them to plant at my farm. My question is at what stage should I begin collecting the seeds/pods? Should i cut the pods from the tree as they turn red, or wait for them to die and fall to the ground? Also, since they are commercially produced, is there any way to tell if they are even viable seeds (not sure if that is even a legitimate question)? Finally, is it necessary for me to store them until spring or can they be planted right away?

ANSWER:

From our webpage on Magnolia grandiflora (Southern magnolia) (which we suggest you read), 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 cones 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"

As for determining viability, here is an article from Suite 101 How to Test Seed Viability. Or you could take the fresh seed, as mentioned above, and plant them in individual small pots in early Fall, then transplant whatever sprouts to larger pots or the ground in the Spring.

 

From the Image Gallery


Southern magnolia
Magnolia grandiflora

Southern magnolia
Magnolia grandiflora

Southern magnolia
Magnolia grandiflora

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