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Trees/magnolia trees


5 years ago we vacationed in Florida. My daughter and I picked up some flower pods and brought home. I put them in the freezer and forgot about them. Can I plant the whole cone?

I am sorry the freezer more than likely killed the embryo of the seeds. The magnolia seeds do need to be kept in a Refrigerator over the winter to prepare the seeds for planting. The cone contains the seed (red usually) and the seeds are to be taken out of the cones before they can be gotten ready for planting. Here is the proper method of getting the seeds ready for planting. BUT I would not throw the seeds out yet. Take the seeds out of the cone and put them in water. the ones that float are not good the ones that sink Maybe marginal but I would try them anyway. Stranger thing have happened there has been cases of seeds germinating after many, many years of being frozen. Good Luck!

If the seed is to be kept for any length of time, the red pulp should be allowed to dry enough to lose its fleshy character, placed in sealed containers and stored at 32 to 41 degrees F. If stored over winter at room temperature seed will lose its viability. The seed should be cleaned before planting or stratifying. To remove the fleshy seed coat, soak the seed overnight in warm water. Remove the seed coat by rubbing against hardware cloth or window screening. After cleaning, the seeds should be sown immediately or stored for 3 to 6 months at about 40 degrees F and planted in the spring. An excellent way to stratify seeds is to use a polyethylene bag and place alternating layers of a moist medium such as a sand and peat mixture and seeds in the bag. Tie the top of the bag and place in a refrigerator at about 40 degrees. The medium should be just moist enough to stick together but not so wet that it will drip if squeezed by hand.

Whether sown in the fall or stratified in the refrigerator and sown in the spring, the seeds should be covered with about l/4" of soil and mulched to prevent drying. Seedbeds should be kept moist until germination is complete. Partial shade should be provided the first summer for seedlings.

The magnolia seeds will sprout very easy. Place them in a pot of good potting soil and cover with about 1 to 2 inches of soil. Keep moist but not wet. Keep a bit of leaf matter over the top and this will help keep the moisture. Keep the pot in a warm area 70 to 80 degrees. Seed will sprout in a few weeks to a few months. Allow the plant to mature a bit, say 6 to 18 inches high and then place in the ground in a desired location. By planting in a pot the plants are easily transplanted but they will also grow form seed placed directly in the soil. Plant in an area large enough for the tree.  


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Jim Hyland


I am an expert in Forestry, Forest Entomology, Forest Pest Control, and Forest Health. Extensive knowledge in Identification of insects and diseases of trees. Expert on Bark beetles and other insects that attack forests. Also a Registrated Forester with extensive knowledge in the management and care of forests.


34 years as State Pest Management Chief in a Southern state. Extensive knowledge in Forestry.

BS with major in Forest Management and Entomology
Registered Forester
Certified Pesticide Appicator

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