How to Plant Magnolia Stellata Seeds


The star magnolia, scientific name Magnolia stellata, is a small tree or perennial shrub. It has large pink or white flowers that bloom in early spring before the leaves appear. Native to Japan, Magnolia stellata was introduced to the United States around 1860. Numerous cultivars of magnolia are grown in a wide variety of locations in the United States. It is usually propagated by root cuttings, but with care and caution, it can be grown from seed.

Step 1

Collect 40 to 50 magnolia seed pods in the fall. Remove the bright orange or reddish orange seeds from their pods. Put the seeds in the sealable container. Store the seeds in the box over the winter, keeping them away from full sun or anywhere hot such as a radiator, stove or heater. Don't worry if they collect mold.

Step 2

Fill your box or tray in early March with a potting mixture of peat, compost, soil and a little sand. Remove the sticky substance around the seeds, which will have turned brown over the winter. Wash them and plant them an inch deep in the planting mixture. Cover the box or tray with glass to keep out slugs and mice.

Step 3

Put newspaper over the glass to block the sun when the weather turns hot in May or June. Magnolia seedlings should appear sporadically over several weeks. Once the magnolia seedlings have begun to produce leaves, remove the paper.

Things You'll Need

  • Small sealable container
  • Box or tray roughly 18 inches long, 12 inches wide and 3 inches deep
  • Glass to cover the box or tray
  • Greenish magnolia pods containing seeds
  • Mixture of peat compost, soil and sand
  • 40 to 50 pots in roughly 1-qt. and 3-qt. sizes
  • Newspaper


  • Cultivation of Magnolias
  • Star Magnolia
  • Magnolia Species

Who Can Help

  • Magnolia Stellata
Keywords: planting magnolia seeds, growing magnolias from seeds, magnolia seed propagation

About this Author

Richard Hoyt, an internationally published author of 26 mysteries, thrillers and other novels, is a former reporter for Honolulu dailies and writer for "Newsweek" magazine. He taught nonfiction writing and journalism at the university level for 10 years. He holds a Ph.D. in American studies.