Thank you for identifying this seed pod. We have decided that we will plants the seeds. We noticed that the tree had different shaped pods, do we need to find a “male” and a “female” seed pod or do we just plant the pod that we found ?
Can you help us with suggestions about planting the pod? Is this the right time of year? To what depth and in what medium should we plant the seeds. We live in Toronto Rosedale.
Magnolia trees are easy to start from seed, although it may be 5-10 years before they flower, as they are moderate to slow-growing trees. A seed-grown Magnolia will not come true if there is a hybrid in its parentage. Magnolia flowers are perfect (i.e. each bloom has both male and female reproductive parts) so you do not have to worry about male or female seed pods. Just make sure the seeds are fresh; once they are dried out they are no longer viable.
The propagation process is as follows:
- Remove the seeds from the seed pod, and soak them in lukewarm water (with a dash of liquid detergent if you wish). In a day or two, the waterproof scarlet outer coating should be softened. Drain, and extract the seeds from their coating.
- Mix the seeds with damp (i.e. not wet—excess water should be squeezed out) peat moss or clean sand, and put in a plastic bag. Close and place in a cold place (a fridge is ideal) for 3 to 4 months. Once in a while check and make sure that it is not dried out.
- At the end of the stratification period, the seeds should be ready to germinate. Remove from fridge for potting up. Press the seeds about ¼ inch deep into clean potting mix. Water and care as usual.
- Come spring, when all danger of frost is past, you can plant out your Magnolia seedlings. Choose a site with moist, well-drained soil, ideally with a neutral to slightly acidic pH. Harden off the seedlings for a few days beforehand, and mulch and water well during the first year.
We wish you the best of luck in propagating the Magnolia seeds.