How to Start Propagating Magnolia Trees


Native to the United States, the stately magnolia tree is a southern landscape favorite. From its pyramid shape to its large, fragrant white flowers, the magnolia makes a lovely shade tree as well as a garden ornamental. Magnolia trees thrive in warm regions, where they can grow to 90 feet in height. Generally, in the home landscape, the magnolia will grow to be 50 feet tall. It takes about two months to propagate a magnolia tree from a cutting.

Step 1

Take a cutting from the magnolia tree three to four weeks after new growth has begun. You will want to take a softwood cutting, which is when the branch is still green and hasn't yet turned woody. To test the cutting for suitability, agriculturists at the University of Florida suggest bending the stem between your thumb and forefinger; if it snaps then it is a suitable softwood stem. The cutting should be taken from the tip of the branch and be 5 to 6 inches in length. Make sure that the cutting has at least three nodes (area of the stem where leaves grow), and make the cut directly below a node.

Step 2

Mix equal parts of peat moss and builder's sand, and pour it into the planting pot. Water the soil until water drains out of the bottom of the pot. Use a knife or pencil to create a planting hole in the soil.

Step 3

Remove all leaves from the lower one-third of the cutting. Dip 1 inch of the cut end into the rooting hormone, and stick it into the planting hole, making sure that at least three nodes are buried. Pack the soil around the cutting, firming it with your hand.

Step 4

Place the cutting on the heat mat, set to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, in a well-lit area (out of direct sunlight) where the temperature remains between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Mist the cutting daily, and mist the soil if it appears to be drying.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp pruning shears
  • Knife or pencil
  • Peat moss
  • Builder's soil
  • 1/2 gallon planting pot, with holes in the bottom for drainage
  • Rooting hormone
  • Heat mat


  • University of Florida: Propagation of Woody Ornamentals by Cuttings
  • University of Texas at Austin: Magnolia Grandiflora L.
  • ‭"‬Landscape Management:‭ ‬Planting and Maintenance of Trees,‭ ‬Shrubs and Turfgrass‭"; ‬James R.‭ ‬Feucht and Jack D.‭ ‬Butler‭; ‬1988
Keywords: start propagating magnolia, start magnolia cuttings, take magnolia cuttings

About this Author

Victoria Hunter, a former broadcaster and real estate agent, has provided audio and written services to both small businesses and large corporations, worldwide. Hunter is a freelance writer specializing in the real estate industry. She devotes her spare time to her other passions: gardening and cooking. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing.