The Q&A Archives: Saucer Magnolia Reproduction

Question: I have a saucer magnolia around 16 years old. I have recently moved and would like to start a new one for my yard. How do I start a new one from the old one? This tree is app. 12ft. tall, could I possibly move this tree without hurting it?

Answer: Saucer Magnolias (Magnolia soulangiana) have a fleshy root system and in my experience do not move all that well even at a very young age. In addition, it would undoubtedly require professional equipment to move a tree of that size -- the roots are incredibly heavy. To start one from seed you would need to collect the mature seed, chill it in moist pea tmoss or similar material for 3 to 6 months at 32 to 41 degrees, and then plant. However, these trees are normally grafted or started from cuttings to assure the same blooming, size, and growth characteristics of the parent tree. Unfortunately these are not terribly easy to start from cuttings so it may be better to try to purchase a replacement. Assuming it was a named variety, if you take photographs of the blooms with you to the garden center in the spring you should be able to find a match.

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