The Complete Guide to Propagate Magnolia Tree from Suckers

The Complete Guide to Propagate Magnolia Tree from Suckers

Are you looking to propagate your magnolia tree from suckers but not sure where to start? In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of propagating a magnolia tree from suckers. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced gardener, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to successfully propagate your magnolia tree and enjoy beautiful blooms for years to come.

Understanding Magnolia Trees

Magnolia trees are popular ornamental trees known for their beautiful, fragrant flowers and glossy green leaves. They belong to the Magnoliaceae family and are native to East Asia and the Americas. These trees are often grown for their aesthetic appeal and can be found in gardens, parks, and landscapes all over the world.

Types of Magnolia Trees

There are many different types of magnolia trees, each with its own unique characteristics and features. Some common types include:

  1. Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) – known for its large, fragrant white flowers and glossy green leaves.
  2. Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia x soulangeana) – a popular hybrid variety with showy pink and white flowers.
  3. Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata) – a smaller variety with delicate white star-shaped flowers.
  4. Japanese Magnolia (Magnolia liliiflora) – known for its purple or pink flowers and compact growth habit.

Characteristics of Magnolia Trees

Magnolia trees are known for their large, showy flowers that bloom in early spring or summer, depending on the variety. The flowers can range in color from white and pink to purple and yellow, and are often fragrant. Magnolia trees also have glossy green leaves that are typically large and oval-shaped.

These trees prefer rich, well-draining soil and full sun to partial shade. They are relatively low-maintenance once established but may require occasional pruning to maintain their shape and promote healthy growth. Magnolia trees are also susceptible to certain pests and diseases, so it is important to monitor them regularly and take appropriate measures to protect them.

Propagating Magnolia Trees from Suckers

If you have a magnolia tree in your garden and want to expand your collection without having to spend money on new plants, propagating from suckers is a great way to do so. Suckers are small shoots that grow from the roots of the tree and can be used to create new plants. In this guide, we will show you how to identify suckers on a magnolia tree and the steps to successfully propagate them.

Identifying Suckers on a Magnolia Tree

Suckers are young shoots that grow from the roots of the magnolia tree. They often have a different leaf shape or color compared to the rest of the tree. Suckers can also grow close to the base of the tree or further away. To identify suckers, look for shoots that are growing straight up from the ground and have a different appearance from the rest of the tree.

Steps to Propagate Magnolia Tree from Suckers

  1. Locate a Healthy Sucker: Choose a sucker that is healthy and has a good root system. Avoid selecting suckers that are weak or discolored.
  2. Prepare a Pot: Fill a pot with well-draining soil and make a hole in the center for the sucker.
  3. Remove the Sucker: Carefully dig around the base of the sucker and gently pull it out, making sure to keep the roots intact.
  4. Plant the Sucker: Place the sucker in the hole in the pot and cover the roots with soil, making sure the base of the shoot is at the same level as the soil.
  5. Water the Plant: Water the newly planted sucker thoroughly and place it in a sunny spot with indirect sunlight.

Tips for Successful Propagation

  • Timing is Key: The best time to propagate magnolia trees from suckers is in the early spring when the tree is actively growing.
  • Use Rooting Hormone: To encourage root growth, you can dip the base of the sucker in rooting hormone before planting.
  • Provide Adequate Water: Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged to promote healthy growth.
  • Monitor for Pests: Keep an eye out for any pests or diseases that may affect the newly propagated plant and take appropriate action if necessary.

By following these steps and tips, you can successfully propagate magnolia trees from suckers and expand your garden with beautiful new plants.

Caring for Propagated Magnolia Trees

Once you have successfully propagated a magnolia tree from suckers, it is important to ensure proper care to help it thrive. Here are some tips for caring for your propagated magnolia tree:

  • Watering: Magnolia trees prefer moist, well-drained soil. Water your propagated tree regularly, especially during dry spells, to keep the soil consistently moist.

  • Fertilizing: Apply a balanced fertilizer in the spring to provide essential nutrients for healthy growth. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application rates.

  • Mulching: Mulch around the base of the tree to help retain moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weed growth.

  • Pruning: Regular pruning is essential to maintain the shape and health of your magnolia tree. Remove any dead, damaged, or diseased branches, as well as any crossing or crowded branches.

Transplanting Propagated Magnolia Trees

If you need to transplant your propagated magnolia tree to a new location, follow these steps to ensure a successful transfer:

  • Choose a new planting site with similar growing conditions to the current location.
  • Dig a hole that is twice as wide and just as deep as the root ball of the tree.
  • Carefully remove the tree from its current location, taking care not to disturb the roots.
  • Place the tree in the new hole, backfill with soil, and water thoroughly.
  • Mulch around the base of the tree to help retain moisture and protect the roots.

Pruning and Maintenance

Regular pruning and maintenance are key to keeping your propagated magnolia tree healthy and looking its best. Here are some tips for pruning and maintenance:

  • Prune your magnolia tree in late winter or early spring before new growth begins.
  • Remove any dead, damaged, or diseased branches, as well as any crossing or crowded branches.
  • Thin out the canopy to improve air circulation and sunlight penetration.
  • Regularly inspect the tree for signs of pests or diseases and take appropriate action if necessary.

Common Issues and Solutions

Even with proper care, propagated magnolia trees may encounter common issues. Here are some common problems and their solutions:

  • Leaf Spot: If you notice dark spots or discoloration on the leaves, it may be a sign of leaf spot disease. Remove and destroy affected leaves and consider applying a fungicide.
  • Scale Insects: Scale insects can infest magnolia trees, causing yellowing leaves and stunted growth. Treat infestations with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil.
  • Magnolia Scale: This pest can cause honeydew secretion, black sooty mold, and weakened branches. Prune heavily infested branches and use insecticidal soap or horticultural oil to control the scale insects.

By following these tips for caring, transplanting, pruning, and addressing common issues, you can help your propagated magnolia tree thrive and flourish in your garden.


In conclusion, propagating a magnolia tree from suckers is a rewarding and relatively simple process that can be done by any gardener, whether experienced or new to the practice. By following the steps outlined in this complete guide, you can successfully propagate your magnolia tree and enjoy the beauty of these stunning trees in your own garden. Remember to be patient and diligent in your efforts, and soon enough you will be rewarded with a flourishing magnolia tree that you can be proud of. Happy gardening!