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How to Pick a Magnolia Blossom

magnolia image by Dusan Radivojevic from

Picking a wildflower or garden perennial's bloom seems rather up-front and simple: just cut the stem. The large flowers of a magnolia tree warrant inclusion into flower bouquets, but knowing how to remove the flower on a woody stem creates anxiety. Healthy growing magnolia trees produce the most flowers each year regardless of plant species. Keep the soil acidic in pH, moist and don't disturb the tree's roots to keep it happy and abundantly providing flowers for picking.

Locate ready-to-open flower blossoms on the magnolia tree. Buds that are plump and not fully open make the best cut flower candidates since they will further open once inside and have a longer life than those already open for days. Older magnolia blooms drop petals and their interiors reveal pollen or broken stamens; avoid these if possible.

Clip off the woody stem of the magnolia blossom 1/4 inch above a lower twig connection. The length of the cutting is completely up to you, but remember the more branch you cut away, the more flower buds you may be removing from the tree days later.

Place the cut branch stem in water or moistened florist foam and enjoy the flower as it opens in a vase or floral arrangement indoors.

Allow new stem growth to grow from the areas on the tree you harvested flowers in the spring. These new branches will yield flowers at their straight tip lengths next spring, so do not further prune magnolia branches after midsummer.


Some people cut star magnolia (Magnolia stellata) buds when the fuzzy buds just start revealing the petals. Once indoors in water, the buds continue to expand and open. Changing the vase water daily helps evade bacteria harming the cut flower.

Some varieties of magnolias make better cut flowers than others, so experiment. No matter what you do, some last considerably longer when cut and used in vases.


Don't snap off magnolia flower buds, as you risk tearing bark and creating a wound that the tree cannot easily repair. Jagged wounds also create prime areas for pests and diseases to invade the magnolia tree.

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