The Q&A Archives: Transplanting Magnolia Seedlings

Question: When should I transplant the magnolia seedlings that are sprouting in our flowerbeds? We live in Zone 8. Do you have any other tips for moving these seedlings? I garden with my young children.

Answer: Magnolias are best transplanted in early spring. Dig up as large a rootball as you can manage and replant immediately, choosing a spot in full sun. (Consider the size of the mature tree when choosing a planting area.) Be sure to provide the transplanted seedlings with plenty of water their first summer. Magnolia roots tend to grow at or just below the soil surface so cultivating the soil beneath the canopy can damage the roots.

Note that if the parent tree is a hybrid, the seedlings may not be exactly like the parent plant. Also, remember that it will take quite a while for those trees to reach any appreciable size! So you might want to plant some faster-maturing plants to engage your children while your tree seedings take hold.

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