The Q&A Archives: Magnolia Seed Starting

Question: I have two Magnolia trees and plenty of seeds, but I don't know how to plant the seeds. Please send me information about how to plant the seeds, suitable soil, and water for germination.

Answer: Magnolia seeds are difficult to germinate, but with patience, you can get them to sprout. The seeds need a period of moisture and cold after harvest befor they will germinte. Usually this is necessary to allow the embryo to mature, or to break dormancy. This period can be artificially stimulated by placing the moistened seed in a refrigeratore for 4 months. Soak the seeds for a few hours and then place them in moistened peatmoss and put everything into a plastic bag. Seal the bag and place it in the refrigerator. At the end of 4 months, remove the bag and place the seeds in flats or pots, on top of damp potting soil. Press them into the soil with your hand, but don't cover them - they need light to germinate. They'll take 120 days, or more, to sprout. You can cover the flats or pots with plastic wrap to help hold moisture in. Remove the plastic when the seeds sprout, and keep the seedlings well-watered until you transplant them out into the garden. Good luck with your project!

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