Starting Magnolia Seeds - Knowledgebase Question

Cairo, MO
Question by gprange
March 11, 1999
I received some magnolia seeds for Christmas and I want to get them started. Any help you could give me on this would be greatly appreciated. I don't know much about magnolias except that they are grown in the South. I don't even know if they will grow in my area. I'm not a very experienced gardener so I need all the help I can get. If you can tell me how to get these seeds started it would be a big help.

Answer from NGA
March 11, 1999


Magnolia seeds can take 120 days to sprout, have a pre-chill requirement, and need light to germinate. With all this said, you should be able to successfully sprout your seeds if they are fresh and have been properly stored. Begin by mixing the seeds with some moistened growing medium, seal in a plastic bag, and refrigerate for four months. At the end of the pre-chill period, remove the seeds and sow them just on the surface of moistened seed starting mix in trays or pots. Gently press them into the mix, but don't bury them. Cover the trays or pots with plastic wrap to help hold in moisture. The seeds should germinate in 120 days when kept at 50F degrees. Magnolias are relatively trouble-free trees and most species grow well in USDA zones 3-6. (You're in zone 5.) Plant your new trees in sunny spots in average garden soil and provide one-inch of water per week to the root zones until the trees are established. Magnolias produce attractive, fragrant flowers. Good luck with your seeds!

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