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Name: Kathy Bond
eastern TN (Zone 7b)
Nov 3, 2016 6:26 PM CST
Trying to find out how to start them from seeds. Do they need refrigerator time? If so, how much? Do you then soak them? Or scratch the seeds?

These are from my Mother-in-law's southern magnolia from the Low Country in SC. I'm in East TN, close to Chattanooga and on a mountain and in the woods. Winters are fairly mild, not usually much snow (maybe a couple inches total for the winter). Don't usually need a coat, just a shawl.
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Nov 3, 2016 6:38 PM CST
Hi Kathy, and welcome. I wouldn't think those seeds need any time in the refrigerator. Southern Magnolias self seed sometimes in places where it never gets cold. That being said, they don't often self seed. Best of luck there.

Also be sure when you do get a little tree going to keep it warm at least this winter, and as long as it's in a pot. Pots are much more vulnerable to cold weather than plants in the ground because they don't have all that soil around them to insulate. I'd also scout out a south-facing spot for the tree *when you do plant it out* so it will have the warmest possible conditions, and the most protected spot from cold north winds of winter. Somewhere like on the south side of your house, another building or even a stand of trees would be good.


"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN, USA zon
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Hybridizer
Seed Starter Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Nov 3, 2016 10:17 PM CST
My trials with different sources of Magnolia sieboldii showed that cleaning the flesh from the seed made them germinate a week earlier, but there was no difference in total germination rate. M. sieboldii does need cold stratification, and I planted them in the fall for natural germination the following spring.

Southern magnolia does not need cold stratification per se, but will germinate more readily and more uniformly if exposed to outside temperatures through a mild winter (even your winter). Do not let the seeds dry before planting. I would plant them anytime now in the ground or in a pot that will be sunk into the ground. They won't be picky about how deep they are planted, but I would go a half inch. Don't expect them all to germinate. The ones that do will likely be more cold hardy for your area.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Nov 4, 2016 7:30 AM CST
I started several seedlings of Magnolia grandiflora several years ago at the request of DD's MIL. Seeds were collected from old family tree in the fall. I did soak the seeds for several days to remove the red fruit. Once cleaned, I stratified them in the fridge for 30 days in damp paper towels. Sowed the seed and had sprouts within 30 days. I did have about an 80% success rate. In the spring, I transplanted the seedlings into bigger pots where they remained for a year. They did go through a TN (Nashville) winter in a protected spot, safe from rabbits and deer. I did get a chance to see them eventually bloom at about 8 ft tall.
Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we can't eat money. Cree proverb

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