Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

Plants that will grow under a magnolia tree.
April 14, 2010 - We live in California near San Diego and have a Magnolia Tree. We have tried to plant many types of flowers around the tree only to have them die. Is there a particular type of plant that we should ...
view the full question and answer

Tiger lilies for Austin
July 12, 2007 - My dear friend absolutely loves tiger lilies, and I would love to plant some for her, but I wonder if the short winters here in Austin, TX make growing these difficult.. I know little of growing flowe...
view the full question and answer

Gaillardia suavis and salvia penstemonoides propagation
May 19, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, if that is your real name, How long, if at all, will I need to stratify my gaillardia suavis and salvia penstemonoides seeds to have them come up this summer?
view the full question and answer

Propagating sundrop plants in Dallas
May 18, 2009 - How do I propagate sundrop plants?
view the full question and answer

Pollinating moth of Arkansas Yucca from Arlington TX
May 15, 2012 - What is the pollinating moth of the Arkansas yucca. I have Desert willows which is the larval host for white-winged moth, but the yuccas are still not seeding. What other larval hosts plants can I p...
view the full question and answer

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