Star magnolia (Magnolia stellata) is a deciduous plant that can be grown as a large shrub or medium-sized tree. As a native tree to Japan, the star magnolia bears magnificent star-shaped 3- to 4-inch-wide pink- to white-colored flowers. It's known to begin blooming even before its leaves bud in early spring, usually between March and April. Plan on collecting star magnolia seeds in late summer through late fall.
Preparing Star Magnolia Seeds
Collect the seeds from a star magnolia tree. You will know the seeds are ripe for harvesting when the fruit splits open, exposing red-orange seeds, according to the University of Florida.
Place the star magnolia seeds into a bowl, basin or bucket. Pour water over the seeds until they are covered completely. Soak the star magnolia seeds for two to three days, changing the water twice daily.
Remove the star magnolia seeds from the container they were soaking in. Place them into a wire basket. Rub the seeds against the sides of the basket to remove the fleshy pulp and coating from each of the seeds. Rinse off each of the seeds with cool water, then place them onto a sheet of paper, or a paper towel, to air dry for one day.
Place approximately one cup of sphagnum peat moss into a lidded container, or zipper-top plastic bag. Dampen down the sphagnum peat moss but do not saturate it. Set the star magnolia seeds into the bag or container of sphagnum peat moss. Seal the bag or container.
Place the container or bag onto a shelf in the back of your refrigerator. The temperature should be set at 40 degrees F. Leave the bag in the refrigerator for three months. Although not absolutely necessary, providing the star magnolia seeds a cold storage treatment can help improve germination rates.
Remove the star magnolia seeds from their cold storage treatment after the allotted time has passed and plant them.
Planting Star Magnolia Seeds
Pour planting mix into one-gallon pots to about 1/2 inch from the top. Mix together two parts garden loam, one part peat moss and one part perlite or vermiculite if you wish to make your own planting mix.
Saturate the soil in the one-gallon pots. Once the water has fully drained away, firm it down using your hands or the bottom of a 3- or 4-inch plastic pot.
Create 2 1/2 inch-deep holes in each of the one-gallon pots. A chopstick or a pencil can be used to make the holes.
Plant one star magnolia seed into each of the holes. Sprinkle 1/2 inch of the planting mix over each of the star magnolia seeds.
Transfer each of the one-gallon pots to a location in your garden that will offer protection from direct sunlight and wind. Keep the planting mix moist but allow it to dry out slightly in between watering. The germination of star magnolia seeds can be sporadic and they can require up to 18 months to sprout.