Reproduction of plants is a very entertaining activity. But tree propagation is especially interesting because it is much more complex than, for example, perennial propagation.
You can propagate magnolia trees by cuttings and this is the quickest and easiest way. Then there is grafting and air layering, but these are more complicated methods. Magnolia can also be propagated by seed.
This is a short description of all the available ways to multiply magnolias. Next, you will learn about each of them in more detail. Also, be sure to check out the main article on Magnolia Trees.
It is better to take cuttings from magnolia in the spring while there is not yet a lot of heat. It is better to have cloudy weather. Also, water the magnolia two days before.
Cut cuttings about 4-6 inches long from the middle part of the crown. The cuttings should be annuals, that is, from last year.
Use sharp and sterile pruning shears. The neater the cut the better.
Remove any leaves from the bottom of the cuttings. It should have about 2-3 leaves or buds.
Prepare pots with a sterile substrate for the seedlings. Pots must be equipped with drainage holes.
Dip the bottom of the cuttings in the rooting gel. Next, use a pencil to make a hole in the center of the pot with filled soil. Insert the cuttings into this hole and use your fingers to compact the soil.
Water the cuttings so that the soil is thoroughly moist. Take the cuttings into the greenhouse or make a sort of transparent dome over them. This is to get more humidity.
The place where the cuttings will be rooted should be in full shade. Also, ventilate the greenhouse from time to time or remove the dome to avoid fungal diseases. For more information check Can you grow a magnolia from a cutting?
Air layering is a very interesting way to propagate. Its essence is that the branch gives roots while it is still part of the tree.
To succeed, choose a one or two-year-old branch. At the bottom of this branch cut off a ring of bark. Apply rooting gel to this cut.
Next, wrap a thick layer of sphagnum moss around the wound. The moss should be very moist. Wrap the moss with plastic wrap and tape it to the branch.
Check the moistness of the moss from time to time. It should always be moist. Never let the moss dry out completely.
This speeds up the rooting process significantly. In a few weeks, you can have a big enough root system.
Next, cut off the branch a little below where the moss is attached. Remove the plastic and release the roots. The resulting magnolia can be planted in a pot or in a new location, but hide it from direct sunlight for a few months.
Magnolia propagation by grafting is a professional method. The result is the highest quality varietal tree.
The advantage of grafting is that you connect the scion of a variety tree, which is more delicate, with a strong wild rootstock. The rootstock obtained by seed multiplication is much stronger and has better health than, for example, cuttings.
To succeed, you need to use seedlings from species magnolias, but not from cultivars. The rootstock should be about three years old. The lower part of the trunk should be at least half an inch thick.
In early spring, cut the scion from the magnolia tree to about the same thickness as the rootstock. The scion should be about 4 to 8 inches long.
Next, cut off the bark on one side of the scion. Start cutting from the middle of the length of the scion downward.
Make the same cut on the bottom of the rootstock. Connect the scion and the rootstock with the wounds and wrap a grafting band around it. Coat the joint with grafting wax.
Place the magnolia in a shaded greenhouse. By the end of spring, the scion should take root and produce leaves. At this time, cut off anything above the scion.
In late summer, take the magnolia outside in full shade. Wait until next spring and plant it in the garden.
The last method of reproduction is generative. In this case, you have to collect magnolia seeds after they have matured. This usually happens in late summer or early fall.
Then the seeds have to be cleaned from the seed pods and washed in clean water. Then place them in a dark, dry place.
When the seeds have dried slightly place them in a cardboard box. Next, place the box in an unheated room for the winter.
In early spring, prepare trays with sterile soil for sowing. Place the seeds in the soil in the tray at least 2 inches apart. Put a thin layer of soil on top.
Water the soil in the tray well and place the trays in the greenhouse. In a few weeks, the seedlings will appear. It is best to plant them only the following spring.