Magnolia Grandiflora germination time?

nw_gardener(8 (WA/Kirkland))March 18, 2011


I purchased a batch of Magnolia Grandiflora seeds back in January. I live in a suburb of Seattle and we experience Zone 8 conditions during winter with extended springs.

I planted the seeds outside in late January at the same time I planted a few more in a pot on a southern exposure windowsill. In early February, I planted a few more seeds in one of those mini-greenhouses.

None of the seeds have germinated as yet. I did not expect the seeds planted outside to sprout, but I am surprised that even the ones indoors (in warm humid conditions) have failed to show any progress. Is the success rate with Magnolia seeds very low? How long can I expect seeds to take to germinate?

The seeds were purchased from a seller on Amazon who claims that they were pre-stratified. I did not stratify or scarify them, just plugged them into pots and/or seed starting mixture.

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According to the Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation, you can either stratify for 3 months at 40 degrees, or plant as is and expect to take 4 months for germination. Al

    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 8:54AM
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With fresh seeds (aril removed and planted approx. two weeks of harvesting) I had 1 in 3 germination and it took 3 and half months indoors over winter months (October '10 to January '11). I have some seedlings emerging even now - that is 6 months. I am in the UK so same hardiness zone as yours probably. Seeds were given a gentle file with a nail filer and planted 1 cm deep in multipurpose compost mixed with sand and grit. They were watered well and then covered with cling film over the top and left on a bright window sill. I didn't try any seeds direct outdoors. I watered sparingly if the compost looked dry.
So may be you need to wait. Hope this is of help.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 1:15AM
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nw_gardener(8 (WA/Kirkland))

jinginuk: Good to know, that helps a lot. No germination for me yet, but it has been just over 2.5 months or so for the ones indoors. I have been remiss on keeping the humidity and moisture levels high for the seeds, so I do not expect them to germinate after all - but you never know.

How is the growth rate of the seedlings for you after germination?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 3:09PM
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Worthwhile to wait and see - best of luck.
The stem of the seedlings measures between 3 to 4cm with healthy leaves (4-6)on top. Once the seedling hit the cling film I put the pot into a plastic bag tied at the top but still on the window sill as it was wnter. My impression (just 2nd time I've tried growing a tree from seed) was that they seemed to grow to 4 leaf stage quite fast and then slowed down. I have recently moved them out to an unheated greenhouse as there was a short spell of warm weather. But it has gone cooler so I think they might slow down even more as that's their permanent home now.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 1:33AM
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