Growing magnolia from seed

Propagating Magnolia Seeds: How To Grow A Magnolia Tree From Seed

In the fall of the year after the flowers are long gone from a magnolia tree, the seed pods have an interesting surprise in store. Magnolia seed pods, which resemble exotic-looking cones, spread open to reveal bright red berries, and the tree comes to life with birds, squirrels and other wildlife that relish these tasty fruits. Inside the berries, you’ll find the magnolia seeds. And when conditions are just right, you may find a magnolia seedling growing under a magnolia tree.

Propagating Magnolia Seeds

In addition to transplanting and growing a magnolia seedling, you can also try your hand at growing magnolias from seed. Propagating magnolia seeds takes a little extra effort because you can’t buy them in packets. Once the seeds dry out, they are no longer viable, so in order to grow a magnolia tree from seed, you have to harvest fresh seeds from the berries.

Before you go to the trouble of harvesting magnolia seed pods, try to determine whether the parent tree is a hybrid. Hybrid magnolias don’t breed true, and the resulting tree may not resemble the parent. You may not be able to tell that you’ve made a mistake until 10 to 15 years after you plant the seed, when the new tree produces its first flowers.

Harvesting Magnolia Seed Pods

When harvesting the magnolia seed pods for collection of its seeds, you must pick the berries from the pod when they are bright red and fully ripe.

Remove the fleshy berry from the seeds and soak the seeds in lukewarm water overnight. The next day, remove the outer coating from the seed by rubbing it against hardware cloth or a wire screen.

Magnolia seeds must go through a process called stratification in order to germinate. Place the seeds in a container of moist sand and mix well. The sand should not be so wet that water drips from your hand when you squeeze it.

Place the container in the refrigerator and leave it undisturbed for at least three months or until you are ready to plant the seeds. When you bring the seeds out of the refrigerator, it triggers a signal that tells the seed that winter has passed and it’s time to grow a magnolia tree from seed.

Growing Magnolias from Seed

When you’re ready to grow a magnolia tree from seed, you should plant the seeds in spring, either directly in the ground or in pots.

Cover the seeds with about 1/4 inch of soil and keep the soil moist until your seedlings emerge.

A layer of mulch will help the soil hold moisture while the magnolia seedling grows. New seedlings will also need protection from strong sunlight for the first year.

Magnolia Tree Seeds

Magnolia tree seeds are red in color, and are found in a cone-shaped fruit. Find out some more facts about them, and know how to plant them.

With colorful flowers and an enchanting fragrance, magnolia trees have always been the first love of gardeners. Most of the species are native to Southeast Asia and Eastern United States. On complete maturation, they transform into big trees, and can even reach a height of 80 feet. There are almost 200 magnolia tree varieties. The seeds are bright red in color, and found enclosed in a woody cone.


Magnolia is considered to be a very ancient tree due to its nature of reproduction. The trees of these category still rely on the beetle species for pollination, whereas the other plants have adapted themselves with the present situation, pollinating even with bees and butterflies. The unique, old method of pollination makes them ancient dignitaries. Though they do not contain any nectar, the fragrance of the flowers, attracts beetles which finally carry out the pollination. The trees then bear cone-shaped woody fruits or pods, which are green in color, and full of scales. As they mature, they break, and the bright red seeds are exposed. The seeds can then either transform into plants, or may be fed on by birds.

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Magnolia Tree Seeds Uses

  • The most important and obvious use of magnolia tree seedlings is to give birth to a new plant. As we know, nature can do it perfectly. However, if you want to plant a magnolia tree, you need to take plenty of precautions and measures, to make sure it grows well.
  • The second major use of magnolia seedlings is that they are food for many birds. Many birds, which migrate from distant places, eat them. Being rich in nutritional value, these seeds help them as an energy booster, and give them the strength to fly long distances. Even songbirds are fond of these seeds, and try their level best to peck them out of those woody fruits.

How to Plant the Seeds

Planting a magnolia is not an easy job. You need to take a lot of care. Following are some of the magnolia tree care steps which may help you to get a magnolia plant in your garden.

  • It is very difficult to store magnolia seeds. Hence, if you are looking forward to having this tree in your garden, it is better to get the fruit of the tree as soon as it has matured. You can get it in the late summer and early fall. Allow it to dry for some days.
  • Once the seeds get dry, take them out of the pod, and soak overnight in warm water.
  • In the morning, remove the cover of a seed, and plant it half an inch inside a small pot, with two parts peat moss, one part soil, and one part sand.
  • Water it properly, and cover it with plastic so as to maintain proper moisture.
  • Keep it in a warm location. Regularly expose it to air and light.
  • The seedling can be seen in 4 to 6 weeks. Remove and replace it in a much bigger pot. This time, place it in the open, in a sunny area.
  • Once you find the second set of leaves, take them out, and plant in your garden. Take proper care, and water them regularly.

Many people think that magnolia tree seeds are poisonous for birds, but that’s not true. The trees which are treated with pesticides may result in some poisonous effects on the birds. Follow the instructions and take care of your magnolia trees. Not only will they provide you with beautiful flowers, but they shall also be a melting pot for a horde of different birds.

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Getting Seeds From Pine Cones


I would like to know the best way to get seeds from a pine cone, and the best way to make the seeds grow into a beautiful pine tree? I would like to help these trees have a comeback in my town because years ago a lot of pine trees died. What and how can I grow these trees to live and grow well?

Thank You,



This sounds like an ambitious and admirable project! I’m not sure what type of pines you want to reforest your town with or where you live, but here are some general tips for starting pine trees from seeds.


Pine tree seeds are found inside of the cones on the upper surface of each scale. Open pine cones have already dropped their seeds, so you’ll want to look for and collect cones that are still closed. They are usually dark purplish or brown in color. When seeds inside the cones are ripe, they will be full and plump. The type of pine you’re growing will determine the best time of the year to look for ripe cones, but the cones of most species are ready for collection sometime in the summer or early fall. Squirrels will often cut down ripe cones, so don’t forget to look on the ground around trees.

After you collect the ripe cones, lay them out in the sun for drying. You can also dry them in the oven on very low heat (not above 120Fº). Once dry, the cones will open. Then lay them on a screen or place them in a paper bag and shake the cones to release the seeds.


You can plant your seeds in the fall (when nature does) or wait until spring. How you store the seeds will depend on the type of pines you’re planting. Red, Jack and White Cedar seeds need to be kept dry in an airtight container and stored in a cool place. Balsam Fir, Spruce or White Pine seeds should be mixed with 3 parts moist sand to 1 part seed and stored at 36-38Fº. Plant seeds in moist, loamy or sandy soil at a depth 4 times the size of the seed. Make sure the dirt underneath the seed has been turned to a depth of at least 12 inches to give the roots plenty of room grow. To plant hundreds of seeds at once, plant each about 6 inches apart in 4 foot wide rows.

Once the seedlings sprout, give them a little shade (just like they would get from the tree towering over them in nature) and some water. Watch them for damping off and be prepared to dust them with a fungicide. Once the seedlings reach 10-12 inches, transplant them into their permanent spot. Good luck!


About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at

Pine Cone Seeds Stock Photos and Images

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  • A handful of flighted pine cone seeds falling from a female’s hand
  • Stone pine cone, pinoli, and seeds on white background
  • Scales from a stone pine cone with seeds, nutshells and shelled nuts arranged in star shape. Closeup macro photo from above.
  • Large Seed Cone of the Macedonian Pine, Pinus peuce, Pinaceae. South East Europe. The Cone is Approximately 10 inches long.
  • Stone pine cone, pinoli, and seeds on white background.
  • Dawn redwood female pine cones (Metasequoia) with single white pine cone form a graphic pattern.
  • Female Cross-bill perched in pine tree looking to collect seeds from the pine cones.
  • Pine cone close up
  • Person holding a pine cone
  • A partially closed ponderosa pine cone that is in the process of releasing its seeds onto the forest floor
  • Napkin and pine cone decoration
  • Serotinous pine tree cone with seeds released after heat exposure
  • Uinta Chipmunk Tamias umbrinus adult eating Fir cone seeds Rocky Mountain National Park Colorado USA
  • Detail of pine cone standing upright on fence post
  • Clark’s Nutcracker eating Whitebark pine cone seeds, Watchman fire lookout, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, USA
  • big pine cone with seeds is isolated
  • Pine cone seeds UK
  • Pine spreads seeds isolated on white background
  • Douglas fir / Oregon pine / Douglas spruce (Pseudotsuga menziesii / Pseudotsuga taxifolia), close up of cone, native to the USA
  • Falling pine cone with scattering flying seeds
  • Stone pine cone, pinoli, and seeds on white background
  • Stone pine cone with seeds and shelled nuts over white. Geometric pine cone, seeds and shelled nuts. Close up macro food photo.
  • someone propped a pine cone up against the railing
  • Pine cone seeds hang from an evergreen tree.
  • Stone pine, Pinus pinea. Cone with seeds and Young tree. Portugal
  • Pine Cone
  • Conifer cones hanging off tree branches.
  • Baby green pine cone, seeds, branch needles, outdoor close up
  • A fully closed ponderosa pine cone that has not yet released its seeds
  • Cone of the ‘Longleaf’ cone, Florida
  • Serotinous pine tree cones, one with seeds released after heat exposure, the other closed
  • Pine Squirrel Tamiasciurus hudsonicus adult eating pine cone Rocky Mountain National Park Colorado USA
  • A pine cone that has fallen to the ground
  • Illustration of needles, cones and seeds of pine (Pinus)
  • ponderosa (Pinus ponderosa) pine cone isolated on white
  • Close up of drips of resin on a Pine tree cone.
  • Pine spreads seeds isolated on white background
  • Cone of Swiss stone pine / Arolla pine (Pinus cembra) opened and seeds eaten by spotted nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes)
  • Bhutan Pine Pinus wallichiana (Pinaceae)
  • Bowl with pine nuts with a pinoli, pine cone in the background
  • Stone pine cone with seeds and nuts over white. Geometric Pinophyta cone, seeds, nutshells and shelled nuts in white bowls.
  • Knobcone pine tree dry open cones Salt Point California
  • Pine cone seeds hang from an evergreen tree.
  • Red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus), Arctic Haven Lodge, Nunavut, Canada
  • Pine Tree Cones & Needles
  • Green Scots Pine Cone agents a blue sky
  • Baby green pine cone, seeds, branch needles, outdoor close up
  • Three states of a ponderosa pine cone in seeding mode
  • Lodgepole pine cone, Deschutes National Forest, Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway, Oregon
  • A pile of fir cones on grass taken near Dunkeld in Scotland
  • Pine Squirrel Tamiasciurus hudsonicus adult eating pine cone Rocky Mountain National Park Colorado USA
  • A male White-winged Crossbill, Loxia leucoptera, feeding on pine seeds in a spruce tree in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
  • Pine cone and pine needles on the branch of a pine tree
  • Aleppo Pine Cone, open and having released all its seeds, growing from a tree in the Maltese Islands, Malta
  • Close up of a Pine tree cone with resin drips.
  • Open brown pine cone with seeds on brown textured background made of dry cutted wood and broken cones
  • Branch with female flowers and cones of Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris), Belgium
  • Bhutan Pine Pinus wallichiana (Pinaceae)
  • Bowl with pine nuts with fresh pinoli, pine cones in the background
  • Geometric stone pine cone in the division Pinophyta contains the reproductive structures. Scales with seeds, nutshells and nuts.
  • A Pine tree cone (Pinus spp) lying on the forest floor
  • Pine cone seeds hang from an evergreen tree.
  • Fresh green waxy pine cone
  • Pine tree cone and nuts on white wooden background with copy space.
  • Green Scots Pine Cone agents a blue sky
  • Baby green pine cone, seeds, branch needles, outdoor close up
  • Pine cones from a ponderosa pine tree, one fully closed, one seeding
  • cypress cone close up on a cupressus semperviens or pyramidalis tree or pyramid cypress in early summer in Italy
  • Developing Jack Pine Cones Pinus banksiana Northern Michigan USA
  • Red Squirrel, Pine Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus), adult eating pine cone, Grand Teton NP,Wyoming, USA
  • Pine cone detail.
  • Serotinous pine tree cones, three, one opening after heat exposure, another slightly burned and one closed
  • Aleppo Pine Cone, open and having released all its seeds, growing from a tree in the Maltese Islands, Malta
  • Stone pine, Italian Stone pine, Umbrella Pine (Pinus pinea), pine nuts in a cone
  • Open brown pine cone with seeds on grey textured background made of dry cutted wood and broken cones
  • Branch with female flowers and cones of Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris), Belgium
  • Pine cone hanging on the twig
  • pine cone on green pine branch in the woods, young pine cone
  • Pine cone closeup. Geometric conifer cone in the division Pinophyta that contains the reproductive structures, the seeds.
  • A Pine tree cone (Pinus spp) lying on the forest floor
  • Maritime pine (Pinus pinaster) pollen cone Trilho Ambiental do Castelejo near Vila do Bispo Costa Vicentina Algarve Portugal
  • Part of big pine cone on black background. Hard natural light. One fir cone. With scales and partly vivsible seeds
  • Close-up front view of pine nuts (also called pinoli), a pine cone and a pine branch, on a white background. Pine nuts are the edible seeds of pines.
  • Close up of two Pine tree cones with resin drips.
  • Baby green pine cone, seeds, branch needles, outdoor close up
  • Pinyon Pine cones with nuts, branch.
  • normal cone with seeds
  • Developing immature female Jack Pine Cones Pinus banksiana Northern Michigan USA
  • Red pine cones in early spring
  • Pine cone detail.
  • Female flower or cone of Norway spruce, Picea abies
  • Aleppo Pine Cone, still closed and loaded with seeds, growing from a tree in the Maltese Islands. Malta
  • Stone pine, Italian Stone pine, Umbrella Pine (Pinus pinea), pine nuts in a cone
  • Cone of the Roxburg pine
  • Branch with male flowers of Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris), Belgium
  • Pine cone hanging on the twig
  • Closeup of a pine cone on a branch
  • Pine cone closeup. Geometric conifer cone in the division Pinophyta that contains the reproductive structures, the seeds.
  • Pine nuts with branches and cones isolated on white
  • A young Sitka Spruce pine cone in Summer

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How to Grow a Magnolia Tree From Seeds

It is easy to plant magnolia seeds in your yard to grow a tree, especially if you already have an established tree at your disposal. The magnolia is native to the Americas, China, and the West Indies, and famous for its huge white or pink blooms with large thick petals that are tough, but look delicate. Follow these steps to recreate another magnolia tree from seed.

Tip: The Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) is fragrant, gorgeous, and the most common type of magnolia tree. However, there are many other beautiful varieties of magnolia. The star magnolia (Magnolia stellata) has pink star-shaped flowers with bushy light green foliage; the Black Tulip magnolia produces masses of goblet-shaped dark scarlet flowers, and the magnolia Yellow Fever has very fragrant abundances of yellow blooms with a light pink base. There are over 80 types of exotic magnolia varieties, and one should be chosen based on sun and soil needs as well as aesthetic preferences before planting.

Step 1 – Collect Magnolia Seed Pods

Magnolia seed pods can be collected in mid-September through October. Don’t force the pod open; it will open on its own, the seeds loosening when they are ripe.

Step 2 – Prepare Seeds

The seeds will be covered in a red or reddish-orange flesh. Remove the seeds from the pod and place them in a bowl of warm water for 24 hours. This will soften the flesh so that you can remove it with your fingers. It is easiest to do this in the water with several seeds in your hands at a time. You can also rub the seeds on hardware cloth or a metal screen to aid in the flesh removal. The seeds will also be covered with an oily residue which you should remove by washing them in liquid soap. Any seeds that don’t sink to the bottom should be discarded.

Nick each seed with a sharp file or rub several together between two sheets of sandpaper to scar the hard seed coat. This will help in the germination process.

Step 3 – Store Seeds in Winter

If you don’t plant the seeds immediately, store them in a well-sealed bag, containing an equal mixture of river sand and peat moss as well as a wrung-out sponge, at 40 degrees Fahrenheit (refrigerator temperature). If the seeds are stored at room temperature they may lose their viability. You can store seeds up to six months.

Step 4 – Germinate

A good time to germinate is early spring. Plant the magnolia seeds in a seed tray covered with ½-inch of compost soil. Dampen the soil by misting it with water, then cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place like above the refrigerator. Seedlings should appear in four to six weeks but may take much longer. Be patient! When germination occurs, remove the plastic wrap and place the tray next to a window.

Tip: Water the seeds with a spray bottle every few days to keep the soil moist but never soggy. Open the plastic wrap daily for a little while to provide air circulation. Temperatures above 85 degrees F encourage germination. If this temperature cannot be maintained in a sunny window, use a heating pad underneath the seed tray.

Step 5 – Transplant Seedlings to a Container

Once the seedlings have developed their second set of leaves, transplant them to their own containers. Start with pots three inches wide and move into larger ones if necessary. Plant them in a compost soil like the one used for germination. Magnolias like full sun, but take care to introduce your plants to it gradually. Keep them in partial shade through the first summer.

Step 6 – Transplant Magnolias to the Yard

Unless you are growing a small magnolia like the M. Stellata, you will need to transplant it to the yard. Seedlings are ready for transplanting when they are eight to 12 inches in height. The magnolia has a fast-growing and intricate root system so, if possible, plant it in a permanent location by the end of the first summer. Position the magnolia in an area where the roots have plenty of room to grow and where it can receive about eight hours of sunlight a day. Avoid spots next to buildings or other structures. Also, make sure you pick a spot where shallow roots will not be damaged by digging or heavy foot traffic.

Tip: Magnolias do not look their best when crowded and their beautiful blooms are best showcased standing alone. Miniature magnolias look beautiful in large flower or shrub gardens, or as ornamental trees amongst a rock or Asian- inspired garden.

Magnolias prefer a slightly acidic, well-draining loam. For the first few years, maintain a layer of mulch three inches deep around the roots to protect them. Keep the newly planted tree well watered for the first year, but never allow the soil to become soggy.

Planting magnolia seeds takes controlled method

Separation of good, well-filled seeds from the empty ones can be easily accomplished while they are still in water. The good seeds (without the red pulp) sink, while the empty seeds and the pulp float. After cleaning, the seeds should either be sown immediately in the fall or before spring planting, stratified for two to three months at about 40 degrees.

If you plan to sow them now, in the fall, this can be done two ways – either sow them directly into the soil in a well-prepared spot in the garden or sow them thinly in a seed tray or similar container filled with a well-drained potting medium. Water. Place the labeled and dated seed tray in a cold frame where the seed will be exposed to low temperatures. As this system is not controlled, germination of some seed may be delayed for a season.

A more controlled method is done by mixing the seed with moist sand or peat moss, placing it into a container, and storing in a place where temperatures will be maintained at 40 degrees. The readiness of the seed to germinate is marked by the splitting of the inner seed coat.

Allowing the seeds to dry out at any time seems to be harmful. After sowing, the germination medium must not become dry. Magnolia grandiflora seeds, and perhaps those of other species, lose their viability if stored through the winter at room temperature. If prolonged storage is necessary, the seeds should be held in sealed containers at 32 to 40 degrees.

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