How To Propagate A Magnolia Tree From Seed: Step-by-Step Guide

Overview of Propagating Magnolia Trees from Seed

Magnolia trees are among the most beautiful and majestic trees found in many gardens and landscapes. While propagating magnolia trees from seed requires a bit of knowledge, it is not overly difficult. This article will provide an overview on how to propagate a magnolia tree from seed, discussing topics such as collecting seeds, pre-treating them for germination, and planting instructions.

Collecting Seeds

The first step in propagating a magnolia tree from seed is collecting the seeds. It is best to collect the seeds in fall or late summer when they turn brown after ripening on the tree’s cone shaped flowers (also called cones). Be sure that the cones have been left out of direct sunlight as this can cause them to dry out too fast and may prevent successful germination of the seeds inside. When collecting these cones, be sure to wear gloves so you do not injure yourself while handling them since they can sometimes contain sharp spikes. Once collected, place your gathered cones into paper bags with plenty of air circulation until you are ready to extract their seeds for planting.


Once you have collected your magnolia tree’s cones it is important that you pre-treat their contents before attempting propagation; this includes both soaking or scarifying (scratching) their external layers prior to sowing or stratification (cold storage). The process for treating individual species may vary slightly but generally speaking warm water should be used for soaking followed by cold water if needed for scarifying; then place any soaked/scarified individual seeds onto kitchen towels or paper towels that are moistened with warm water overnight before transferring them into zip top plastic bags containing sponges saturated with warm water which should be placed into cold storage at temperatures between 33°F – 45°F until germination begins which usually takes two weeks up to two months depending on species type and temperature conditions during stratification period.

Planting Instructions

After pre-treatment has occurred, prepare containers filled with soil mix suitable for growing perennials like peat moss mixed with perlite/vermiculite then sow each treated/stratified individual seed no more than 1/4 inch deep into its own container ensuring adequate drainage holes are present in bottom surfaces so excess moisture does not become trapped leading towards root rot issues later down line during growth cycle stages . Place containers either indoors under fluorescent lights set at ~18” above surface level using timer systems set at 12 hour day length cycles OR outside in shade areas where temperatures remain consistently cool throughout season change periods over next few months until visible signs indicate sprouting has occurred; once sprouts appear move container outdoors allowing full exposure sunlight levels reaching upwards 8 hours daily intervals combined patience patience waiting game must happen now times time passes quickly however success will surely follow perseverance efforts paid forward today tomorrow !