How to Propagate Magnolia Tree in Water?

How to Propagate Magnolia Tree in Water

Nurturing Magnolia in water for rooting can be either a hit or miss. It all depends on how you cut the stems and submerge them. So, if you want to grow their roots in water pots without any mess, it is common to ask how to propagate Magnolia tree in water

Taking the stems with leaf nodes is the first step to water propagation. Placing the stems with one to two nodes submerged in water helps to propagate Magnolia trees from cuttings. But is it legal to propagate it? Learn all the nooks and crannies right here!    

How to Propagate Magnolia Tree in Water: Step-by-Step Instructions

Propagating a magnolia tree from its cutting might not be a success. Thereby, propagating it in water is necessary to promote its growth hormones to thrive in the pot or soil. Here are the steps to water propagation even novices can take up –

Step 1: Take Cuttings

How to Propagate Magnolia Tree in Water

Using clean pruning shears or scissors, start cutting below the leaf node from where brown root nodes grow. If possible, disinfect the scissors before cutting the stem so that no infection can spread to the cutting. And always take cuttings in the early morning to prevent it from dehydrating.

How to Propagate Magnolia Tree in Water

The right time to take cutting after the flowering of the mother Magnolia tree is when there are zero to little buds on the branches. So, consider snipping off the stems in the late summer or early autumn. Ensure that there is at least one node in the cut stem.

Avoid cutting the stems from magnolia branches in winter. In case you are new to propagation, get some basic tips here

Step 2: Place in Water

Remove all the dirt and debris from the cutting. There should not be any soil around the node. Then, pour clean water into a glass vessel or jar and immediately place the stem in it.

How to Propagate Magnolia Tree in Water

At least one node should stay below the water level of the jar. Keep the water jar in moderate and indirect sunlight.

In order to understand the moderate lighting for Magnolia, feel free to watch it:

As the species cannot thrive in extreme cold, it is usual to wonder if you can root magnolia cuttings in winter. Well, if the temperature is above 20 degrees F, only then put it in water. Or else they will die.

Step 3: Check the Cuttings and Prepare the Pot Mix

Keep an eye on the water level and the nodes. If the water level drops or it looks dirty, replace it with clean water. In a week or so, the roots should appear.

In the meantime, wash clay or plastic pots. Add 1:1 homemade compost and horticultural grit in the containers with enough space on the top of the pots. Insert organic charcoal into the mixture. 

Step 4: Transfer the Stems into Pots

Remove the cuttings from the water and detach them from the leaves on the lower stems with a clean scissor. Keep two to three leaves at the top and peel off a layer of bark from the lower level of the cutting. Dip each of them into honey or saliva YUK or hormone-rooting powder.

How to Propagate Magnolia Tree in Water

Make a hole in the mixture of each pot and plant one cutting per container. 

Step 5: Water the Cuttings

Keep the pots in moderate sunlight or semi-shade, and water the stems. Remember that the potted cuttings require watering only once. However, they do need minimal water in the form of spraying every 3 days.

Before snowfall or extreme cold (20 to minus 10 degrees F), place the containers indoors. They will start to bloom in the spring once they reach their ultimate size.

Is It Legal to Propagate Magnolia Trees?

Before trying to reproduce any variety of Magnolia species, always research whether the specific plant is patented or not. Because it is against the law to propagate patented plants. 

Patented ones are those unique Magnolias grown by different cultivators. They do not want other gardeners to reproduce or copy the characteristics of their newly invented plant.

So, to find out whether the Magnolia is legal to plant or not, go to HelpMeFind. Then, on the home page, enter Magnolia and click the search option to find out the patented varieties. Avoid propagating any of them appearing on the search results. 

What Are the Benefits of Propagating Magnolia Tree in Water?

How to Propagate Magnolia Tree in Water

It is possible to propagate Magnolia tree through air or soil layering. So, why one should choose the water method is a concern to many. To drop off your queries, have a look at these benefits of propagating in water –

1. Ideal for Novice Gardeners

Different types of Magnolia plants require different types of soil mix, watering methods, and maintenance. And it can get a little confusing to the new garden enthusiasts, especially Magnolia flower lovers. 

Once you place the stems in water, they require little care. Because water increases the tolerance level of Magnolias. As a result, they can thrive in any soil mixture and moderate light. And it takes out the stress from novice gardeners. They can easily grow Magnolia trees without too much hassle.

2. No Pests

If you try to propagate the roots in the soil, crawlies like Fungas Gnats and beetles can easily infest the stems. The pests deprive the plants of nutrients.  Thereby, the cuttings die before the roots can emerge from them. 

But there is no chance of infestation if you dip the cuts in water.  Nevertheless, mosquito larvae can form in murky water. To prevent that, replacing the dirty water is enough. But replacing the infected soil does not promote root growth. 

3. Less Mess

If you consider propagating in the soil first, you need to move the pots every day for different shadings and light requirements. And from the moving pots, soil can drop and make a mess.

Conversely, water-seated Magnolia does not need direct sunlight or frequent lighting. So, you can easily place the water jar in a sweet spot and forget about it until the water gets dirty. 


Magnolia is a complicated variety to grow as their tolerance level is low and they require high maintenance. Considering that, if you are new to gardening does not mean that you cannot grow Magnolia indoors or outdoors. Once you understand how to propagate Magnolia tree in water, there are fewer steps ahead to nurture it. 

Keep it noted that low level of water during the propagation can prevent the stems from rooting. So, always add water to submerge the nodes and keep them healthy. 

Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q’s):

1. When Does the Magnolia Tree Grow Roots in Water?

It depends on the variety and propagation maintenance. If the Magnolia is of Southern or Saucer species, rooting occurs at nine and four weeks respectively.   

2. Does Water Propagation Speed up the Magnolia Flowering?

No, it does not. It takes almost four to ten years for Magnolia trees to flower. Some varieties require 20 years to fully blossom. 

3. Is It Safe For Magnolia Cuttings to Let Them Sit in Old Water?

As long as the water does not turn brown, it is safe. Also, if mosquitoes do not lay eggs in the jar, there is no need to change the water.

Md Biajid

Meet Mia Biajid, a passionate nature lover. Particularly, he has a deep-rooted connection to the plant. Mia loves to spend time exploring forests and uncovering the secrets held within trees. He always inspires others to appreciate and protect our precious part of the ecosystem.

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