How to Grow Magnolia Trees from Seeds


Of all the flowering trees, the magnolia blossom is one of the largest and most beautiful. In autumn magnolia trees drop hundreds of large pods, each filled with bright red seeds. In many parts of the country, squirrels and birds eat the majority of magnolia seeds while they are still on the tree, but if you are lucky enough to get your hands on some fresh magnolia seeds you can easily grow your own magnolia tree.

Step 1

Collect fresh magnolia seeds. This can be done by finding an open magnolia seed pod or by picking a seed pod just prior to its opening and keeping it in a warm, dark place until it opens. Remove the red seeds from the pod.

Step 2

Soak the seeds in water for three days. Any seeds that float should be discarded.

Step 3

Rub the red coating off of the seeds. Rubbing the seeds between your thumb and forefinger should remove the coating, but if necessary rub the seeds on a rough towel or even on a piece of window screen until the red coating has been removed.

Step 4

Wash the seeds in warm water and a mild dish soap to remove the oily coating on the seeds. Rinse the soap off completely.

Step 5

Prepare your planting soil. Mix two parts peat moss, one part loam and one part sand. Mix together well and put the soil in a flower pot.

Step 6

Lay the seeds on top of the planting mix and cover with 1/2 inch of additional mix. Water well, but do not overwater.

Step 7

Cut the bottom from a clean 2-liter soda bottle. Place the bottle on top of the soil in your pot so the bottle creates a makeshift greenhouse to keep the seeds moist. Set the pot in a well-lit location but out of direct sunlight. Maintain a temperature in the low to mid 70s. Your seeds should sprout within 2 to 8 weeks, depending on the type of magnolia you've planted.

Things You'll Need

  • Fresh magnolia seeds
  • Peat moss
  • Loam
  • Sand
  • Flower pot
  • Clean 2-liter plastic soda bottle
  • Carpet knife or other sharp knife


  • Growing Magnolias (PDF)
  • How to grow Magnolia Trees
  • How to Germinate Magnolia Seeds
Keywords: plant magnolia, germinating magnolia seed, propagate magnolia seed

About this Author

Larry Parr has been a full-time professional freelance writer for more than 30 years. For 25 years he wrote cartoons for TV, everything from SMURFS to SPIDER-MAN.