How to Propagate a Magnolia Tree? Easy tips!

Magnolia trees are beautiful with their elegant flowers and large showy leaves, some lose their leaves in the winter and some are evergreen. And there are smaller magnolia trees that are great for small gardens. If you are wanting to propagate a magnolia tree, there are many options to choose from, so how do you propagate a magnolia tree?

As I said there are many different ways to propagate a magnolia tree. You can do this by seed, air layering, clonal propagation from softwood cuttings, bench grafting in winter, whip grafting and chip budding in the spring, and chip budding in the summer.

Propagating magnolia trees can be a very lengthy process, every process takes several months up to a year to complete. But the best time to propagate magnolias is in the spring immediately after flowering. If you want to learn more about how to propagate magnolia trees keep reading below.

Can You Root Magnolia Cuttings in Water?

You actually can root magnolia cuttings in water, however, this specific method isn’t as successful. You simply take the cuttings by using sharp pruning shears. You should disinfect the shears beforehand with alcohol. The cuttings should be at least 6 inches long.

To increase the cutting area you should make a cut at a slight angle. Because that is where the new roots will come from. Don’t take cuttings that have brown spots on the leaves and branches.

You should only remove the leaves from the lower part of the cutting. Since the leaves stimulate the creation of the root system you should make sure there are more leaves. So you shouldn’t cut the leaves halfway off.

And then you fill a glass container of some kind with distilled water then place the cuttings in the glass container. Make sure you put the glass container in a shady place. You should change the water at least once a week or more often.

Changing the water helps keep the cuttings from getting moldy. When the roots appear you should wait until they are 2 inches long before you transplant them into the soil.

Magnolia trees
Magnolia trees

How Long Does It Take to Grow a Magnolia Tree From a Cutting?

Most of the various types of magnolia will grow from a cutting, they can produce a flowering specimen in one to two years. But it can be difficult to propagate magnolia trees from cuttings.

Cuttings can produce faster-blooming saplings than seeds can produce but the risk of failure is somewhat higher.

How to Grow Magnolia in Containers

  1. Take a pot that is 3-4 inches in diameter that has holes in the bottom of it. This smaller pot can be used for propagating one cutting. I will use a 10-inch pot and root up to 4-5 cuttings altogether.

2. You should then fill the pot with the propagating medium and you should water it thoroughly. Continue to water it and make sure you turn the soil to make sure that all of the soil is wet.

3. Put the pot aside for half an hour. Then begin to prepare the cuttings.

Tool Preparation to Keep Your Magnolia Cuttings Safe

You want to use sanitary tools and equipment to keep your magnolia cuttings safe so they don’t come into contact with potentially damaging pathogens. It’s very important that you clean your cutting tools and pots before you start to gather your cuttings. You should use 1-quart plastic pots for each cutting and the pots should all have drainage holes in the bottom of them.

Wash each pot in hot, soapy water, rinsing them well and making sure you dry them thoroughly. You should sharpen your pruning shears so you have a clean edge. The most important step is to wipe your pruning shears down with alcohol. This will prevent any bacteria from damaging the cuttings.

Is It Better to Root Cuttings in Water or Soil?

You can root magnolia cuttings in water but if you root them in the soil you will have a better chance of developing a better root system. You should use a rooting hormone also they can help assure faster rooting. Some plants can root without using a rooting hormone but it’s just better to use one.

Propagating Magnolia From Seed

Prepare a pot of soil and plant the magnolia seeds. Lightly cover them with the soil and keep them moist. You should put a transparent plastic bag over the pot of seeds. Make sure you put the pot of seeds outside somewhere in a bright place where it can soak up a lot of sunlight.

If you experience sub-zero temperatures where you live you should place your budding seedlings in an unheated place that doesn’t have any frost. Germination can take up to several months.

Propagating Magnolias From Air Layering

You can obtain a large plant from the mother plant by air layering. You should do it right after flowering takes place. Pick a shoot, it should be one to two centimeters thick close to the base. Then you take a sharpened knife that is disinfected first, then cut a two-centimeter piece of bark around the branch.

Then you should wrap damp moss around the spot that you cut out. Put a plastic bag over it to keep it moist. It will take up to three to five months for roots to begin to develop. Now you are able to remove the bag and begin cutting the branch from the tree.

Finally, you can plant the roots and the branch in a pot full of soil. You should provide your magnolia tree with compost or a slow-release fertilizer so it can absorb as many nutrients as possible.

In Summary

There are many different ways to propagate a magnolia tree. Whether it be by seeds, air layering, or chip budding they are all liable options. But it does take a long time for a magnolia tree to finally bloom. So if you plan on propagating magnolia you should expect to be very patient with your future magnolia trees.

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