How to Grow And Care For A Magnolia Tree From A Seedling

The process of growing your Magnolia tree can seem long. From Seed to Maturity, it takes upwards of 15 years, but by following a simple set of steps, you will be on your way to enjoying the shade of your very own Magnolia tree. 

Starting with sourcing the best seeds, you must prepare the seeds through cultivation and stratification. Planting the seeds tends to be straight forward and raising to maturity takes approximately 15 years to achieve. Although a typically hardy tree, magnolias do experience some diseases which can be limited through proper care and maintenance. 

Seed Procurement

If you benefit from living in an area where these trees grow frequently, you will be able to pick up the seeds at the base of any healthy tree. In the early Autumn months, pods that resemble pinecones fall, releasing bright red seeds.

These seeds are all that is needed to grow a tree. If there are no trees in your area, several online sources will provide you with the seeds. Currently, top-rated sources, according to google, are places like Etsy where locals collecting the seeds for you and can range from $2 to $4.

Seed Cultivation

Firstly, a break down of the hard-outer skin of the seed must occur. The easiest option is to soak seeds overnight, throwing away anything that is left floating. This process allows the following direction to move much smoother.


 After soaking, a process called Scarifying is the next option. This means scratching at the surface with sandpaper or on a rough surface. After scarifying, you want to start the Stratifying process. This process details that the seeds be kept at 40 to 45 degrees, without drying out, for 3 to 6 months. This can be achieved in one of three ways. 

How to grow a Magnolia Tree from seeds

Stratification Processes

Refrigeration: Place seeds in a closed container with a moist seed starter mix and place in the refrigerator for the winter. 

Cold frame Method: A cold frame is a small greenhouse that would be beneficial to use if you live in a colder climate, but you would still like to regulate the temperature. Plant seed in at ½ an inch and water regularly for the duration of the winter.

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Outdoors: you can always place them in your outdoor garden and let nature take a course. This is the least used method since it has a low survival rate for the seedlings. 

Planting Seeds

After temperatures reach around 70 degrees, Fahrenheit seedlings will be ready to be planted in the ground or a shallow planter. Watering regularly, the seeds should take several weeks to germinate and should be kept in medium sun during this time. 

1. Growing from Seedlings

Transplantation can take place any time from a small seedling to a well-established plant. The Final spot needs to receive adequate light, but seedlings should be protected from full sunlight for the first year. 

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2. Speed of Growth

A fully formed tree may not produce flowers of its own for 15 years from start to finish. 

How Large Do Magnolia Trees Get?

Magnolia trees can range anywhere from 8 to 70 ft and involve an intricate spread of multisystem branches. 

How to get Magnolia Trees to Flower?

If you find that your magnolia tree is not flowering, there may be problems with the amount of light it receives. Though the first year, the tree needs to be shielded from direct sunlight, a fully mature tree needs to be in full sunshine to produce flowers. If it is in whole sunlight but is still not delivering flowers, the soil may not be acidic enough. Adding peat moss should help with this problem. 

Ease of Maintenance

Magnolia trees once established as some of the most accessible trees to maintain. They thrive in soggy and wet soil, making them perfect for flood-prone areas. Ensuring that it is planted in a slightly acidic environment will give it the best possible outcome for longevity. 

When Should Pruning Be Done

Pruning your magnolia tree is best done during mid-summer to early autumn to cut back on unnecessary bleeding. All cuts should be done only to the natural fork, so as not to encourage die-back and bald spots. 

Flower Appearance

 Magnolia flowers when in bloom are large petaled white flowers; they open from the center out, fanning out to expose a bright yellow cone of arranged carpels. 

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Are Magnolia’s Poisonous

No, there has been no research to suggest that Magnolia trees or any part of the plants are dangerous to humans or animals. 

What Are Common Diseases

Common Dieses for the Southern Magnolia Tree are wood rot, agal leaf spots, Fungal leaf spots, and canker. Wood rot can be recognized by wilting in the leaves at the top of the tree. Wood rot is the most dangerous of diseases and can be challenging to solve; it almost always results in the tree’s death.

Agal leaf spots and fungal leaf spots are present if the dark green leaves begin to look red and have a velvety feel. By using a fungicide, you can correct this problem. Most people choose to leave the tree alone and the problem corrects itself. The last problem canker can be a bit more challenging to deal with; this causes sudden death of a portion of the tree due to the branches’ girdling. The solution is pruning off the dead leaves and two inches of healthy growth. 

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A Southern Magnolia Tree can be a hardy and beautiful addition to any outdoor living space. The cultivation from seed to a flowering tree can be a long but gratifying process. With a good start, the plant will continue to grow with minimal maintenance. Properties such as this make it a perfect plant to add beauty to space that is not regularly checked, such as rental properties or business fronts. The downside of this plant is there is a lot of clean up required since they shed periodically and would need to be cleared of leaves and pods if it is in the path of walkways or entrances.

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