How to sow magnolia fruit?

Magnolia fruit is sown in winter

The magnolia or magnolia is a plant that can grow as a tree or as a bush, depending on the species to which it belongs, which produces spectacular flowers. Delicate, large, lightly colored and very fragrant. When these are pollinated, the fruits and their seeds ripen, which we can then sow.

Corn, What exactly is magnolia fruit and how is it planted? If you dare to grow it, follow our tips for success.


How is the magnolia fruit?

Magnolia fruit is shaped like a pineapple

magnolia fruit It is made up of a set of woody follicles in the shape of a pine cone.. It can measure between 7 and 10 centimeters long by about 4 centimeters wide, and when opened, it reveals the seeds. These are red or orange, about 3 centimeters long and very hard; in fact, they can remain unchanged for years.

When can we get them back? It will depend on the species and the climate, but if we take into account that it is a plant that flowers in spring, its fruits will finish ripening in the fall.

How to get magnolia seeds?

The flowers of our protagonist evolved to be pollinated by insects, especially by beetles. They are rich in nectar and also have a very pleasant aroma, so pollinators receive delicious food in return for their work.

Corn it is often difficult to obtain seeds from these plants, unless you have two or more specimens flowering at the same time. If this is not the case, it is better to buy seeds.

How to sow magnolia seeds?

magnolia seeds are red

Image – Wikimedia/William (Ned) Friedman

The first thing to decide is what type of magnolia we are going to plant, because depending on this we will have to follow some steps or others. And the fact is that if, for example, we have opted for the magnolia grandiflorawhich is an American evergreen species that lives in temperate/warm climates, we will not need to stratify its seeds, but if we opt for the stellar magnolia or any other leafy, being Asian and living in temperate-cold climates, we will have to stratify them.

Corn, what is seed stratification? It is a practice that tries to mimic the conditions that exist in its natural habitat, which stimulates its germination. There are two types:

  • cold lamination: It consists of exposing the seeds to low temperatures, which many plants in temperate climates, such as deciduous magnolias, need.
  • hot lamination: as the name suggests, it involves exposing them to high temperatures. This is only necessary for certain species in arid or semi-arid climates, such as the baobab for example.

Related article:

How to stratify seeds step by step

This can be done naturally if the climate in our region is good, or artificially, for example by putting the seeds in the refrigerator for a few months if they must be cold, or in an insulated bottle with hot water (without burning) for a few days if, on the contrary, they must be hot.

Once this is clarified, Let’s see how to plant magnolia:

  1. Put the seeds in a glass of water: once we have the seeds, the first step is to put them in a glass of water to see which are viable and which are not. Those who serve us will be those who sink; On the other hand, those that remain floating can be thrown away because they will not germinate.
  2. Prepare the seedbed:
    • If you need cold stratification, and we live in an area where the winters are mild with light frosts (down to -2ºC), we will take a tupperware with a lid and fill it with coconut fiber beforehand moistened (you can buy it here) and then bury the seeds a little. Then we will put it in the refrigerator for three months. But if there is frost and snow in your area, you can plant them in pots and let nature take its course.
    • If, on the contrary, it is an evergreen species, such as the magnolia grandiflorawe will prepare a pot of about 8.5 cm in diameter by filling it with acidic plant substrate like this one from Flower, and sowing the seeds, covering them with a layer of soil of 1 centimeter.
  3. Take care of the seedbed: It is important to apply a spray fungicide (you can buy it here) once a week or every 15 days, because if this is not done, the fungi could damage the seeds. Also, soil moisture should be checked and watered when it dries.

When should the seeds be sown?

magnolia seeds are red

Image – Flickr/scott1346

Considering that they ripen at the end of summer or even later, it is best to sow them in autumn-winter. We advise to sow only in spring those of magnolia grandiflorasince this species is a tree accustomed to warmer temperate climates, and does not need to be as cold as its Asian brethren.

How long do they take to germinate?

With the magnolia, you have to have a lot of patience, because can take several months to germinate. The fresher the seeds, the less they will take, but even so, it takes about two months to see any sign of life.

As soon as they germinate, we will need to continue to treat them with fungicides for their first two years so that fungi do not damage them.

If we have them in a tupperware, we will plant them in pots as soon as we see them sprout. This way they can continue to develop normally.

Do you dare to sow the fruit of the magnolia?

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