Growing Magnolia's from Seeds

The magnolia grandiflora is a magnificent tree with broad strapping leathery leaves and can grow up to 80ft in height. Typically the trunk is straight and the tree forms branches which tend to result in a pyramid type crown. The leaves are of particular beauty with their deep green tops and velvet like undersides which are a lovely russet color. The flowers are large and a glorious crisp white with wafts of fragrance and covers the tree beginning spring and all through summer. There are lots of different cultivars.

How to Propagate:

Magnolias thrive in fairly rich, moist, peaty or sandy loam, but can grow satisfactorily in any garden soil if acidic fertilizer is added.

Most magnolias are grown from seeds, or from cuttings, by grafting or by layering. Rare kinds are sometimes propagated by grafting in winter or spring in a greenhouse. The period between sowing of the seed and germination may be as long as 18 months. Magnolia Grandiflora trees grown from seed may take from 15 - 20 years to produce a blossom, while trees that are grafted bloom much sooner. Please keep in mind that trees grown from seed may not be exactly like the tree the seeds came from due to haphazard pollination.

How to plant the seeds:

Seeds should be sown in a fresh state, and not allowed to dry out. Remove
the seeds just before the pod bursts open or immediately after.

Remove the red-orange coating. This can be done very easily if you soak them in water for a few days. If, when put in water, the seeds float on the surface, they have gotten too old.

Squeeze out the hard seed and wash them in dishwashing liquid to remove the oily coating that prevents them from absorbing moisture.

Sow in a light compost of two parts peat, one part loam and one part sand. Don't let the seeds dry out. Cover with 1/2" of compost. Cover the tray or pot to maintain moisture and protect the seed. They should germinate in about four weeks. Pot them after about four weeks, making sure the roots don't dry out.

In colder climates, you may not be able to plant them outside. Place the seeds in a bag containing a damp, sterile medium such as peat or grit, seal and label and put in the refrigerator at about 40 º. In February, sow the seeds under glass at temperatures of 64-68 º.

With one or two exceptions, the Magnolias are not well adapted for planting in lime soils. They like deep, well-drained loam and benefit by a little peat or compost placed about the roots at planting time. Soil should be well aerated. Transplanting isn't advised because injury to large roots generally leads to ill health. They shouldn't be planted very close together. In order to blossom, they need to be planted where they can get plenty of sunshine. From my observations, the sunny side of a magnolia has many blossoms; the side shaded out by other trees seldom has a blossom.

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1 comment:

Gabi said...

This is so cool! Thanks for sharing