Tulip magnolia tree: Full Care and Propagation Guide

A tulip tree or magnolia, due to its highly decorative qualities, can easily become the main decoration of the garden. Looking at its large, amazingly beautiful flowers, it is difficult to refrain from admiration. 

You can find out about reviews about planting, the features of growing from seeds, and the intricacies of care from the photos, videos, and tips posted in this article.

General characteristics of the Tulip magnolia tree

The tulip magnolia tree is a relict plant representing the magnolia family. It takes root quite easily during transplantation, does not show aggression towards the plants growing nearby, but due to its impressive size, it is not suitable for small gardens. 

Growing a tulip magnolia tree can reach from 12 to 60 m in height, annually increasing the growth by 1 m and expanding in width by 20 cm; in adult trees, the trunk girth can reach 1-2 m.

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The tree reaches 60 meters in height

It can be used for single and group plantings in yards, parks and large gardens.

In young trees, the pyramidal type of crown predominates, but over time it grows, becoming diamond-shaped or oval. The branches are painted in dark shades and, as it were, are slightly covered with a waxy coating; when cracked, they exude a sweet-sugary aroma. 

It has a rod-shaped root system, with fleshy, but rather fragile roots.

The flowering period of magnolia, depending on the region of cultivation, comes from April to June. During this period, most often the leafless branches of the tree are abundantly covered with large carved colorful flowers of pink, orange, white and other colors.

The foliage of the tulip magnolia tree looks no less magnificent – wide and long – up to 20 cm, beautifully changing its color depending on the season from green to golden.

 The tulip tree is a thermophilic plant, but capable of withstanding frosts down to -30 ° C in adulthood, which makes it possible to grow it not only in the southern regions of the country but also in the temperate climate zone.

The total lifespan of a tulip magnolia tree is about 500 years. It belongs to valuable tree species, being a source of white wood and an excellent honey plant.

Growing magnolia from seeds

The tulip magnolia tree is propagated in several ways – by seed, as well as by cuttings, layering, and grafting. A feature of tulip tree seeds is long germination – about 1.5 years. 

The seeds themselves are small tetrahedral seeds with lionfish, collected in a kind of cones and formed from flower ovaries at the end of flowering. While ripening, these fruit-cones open up, and then disintegrate, throwing out seeds with lionfish.

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The tulip magnolia tree can be propagated by seed

It is better to sow before winter – from October to December, using a deep box filled with a universal soil mixture. 

Previously, you can cut the lionfish a little from the seeds, and soak the seeds themselves for a few days, and change the water daily. 

Sowing inboxes is carried out to a depth of 1.5 cm. From above they should be covered with soil, and for the winter they should be additionally covered with a layer of peat or foliage and placed in a cool place protected from the wind, for example, an unheated greenhouse or basement.

Throughout the entire waiting period for seedlings, regular watering should be carried out, regardless of weather conditions and the absence of seedlings themselves. In winter, watering can be excluded if you arrange for them to be covered with snow.

In early spring, the seed boxes from the basement should be taken out into the light. The emergence of seedlings is possible 1.5 years after sowing – approximately in June. 

With proper care, by the end of summer, the emerged seedlings can reach up to 0.5 m in height. Sometimes the first shoots can be obtained already 6-7 months after sowing, but basically they should be expected after 1.5 years.

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American magnolia varieties sprout much faster

The next spring, the seedlings can be transplanted from the common box into separate containers to provide them with sufficient feeding area. They grow and develop quite quickly and after 3 years they are able to grow up to 1.5 m in height.

 Earlier shoots of the tulip magnolia tree can be obtained by growing it using American magnolia varieties capable of sprouting in the first year of planting. 

For this, the seed should be mixed with sand, moistened and refrigerated on the lower shelf, kept there until pecking, and then transplanted into separate containers.

Care requirements

tulip magnolia tree prefer fertile soils:

  • clayey;
  • loamy;
  • sandy loam.
  • with sufficient moisture and good drainage, and areas with sufficient lighting, but protected from gusts of wind.
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A tulip magnolia tree needs regular watering

Soil suitable for growing magnolias can have different acidity – they grow well on acidic and neutral soils – pH 6.1-7.5, slightly worse on slightly alkaline and do not grow at all on highly limed, dry and poor soils. 

The process of transplanting a grown senets to a permanent place consists of the following stages:

  1. Fertilize the area set aside for planting with compost or rotted manure.
  2. Before planting, put the seedling in water for a couple of hours – rainwater or ordinary water and add a growth stimulator.
  3. dig a hole with a depth same to the length of the foundation system and twice its width. You can put a little compost or vermicompost at the bottom of the pit, sprinkle it with soil a little on top. Such a nutritious pad will allow the plant to take root faster and build up the root mass.
  4. If the roots of a tulip magnolia tree seedling are bunched together, they should be gently spread out, treated with a rooting agent such as Eeverris Starter, and then placed in a dug hole, covered with earth, lightly tamped to avoid air pockets, and watered.
  5. Cover the tree trunk with sawdust, compost or foliage to retain moisture and protect against weeds.

At a young age, trees easily tolerate pruning, but they are quite capable of doing without it. In addition, the tulip magnolia tree needs regular watering, but does not tolerate excess moisture in the soil. 

In the first wintering in a permanent place, the seedlings should be covered with agrofibre or spruce branches, building a kind of hut.

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Fertilizing stimulates more abundant flowering of the tree

 It is recommended to cover a tulip magnolia tree in the first years of growth for the winter with the crown, otherwise, when the top of the plant freezes, it will turn into a shrub instead of a tree.

The planted trees after 2 years can be fed by applying nitrogen fertilizers in the spring, and potash and phosphorus fertilizers before winter. Regular fertilization will not only contribute to the good growth and development of the tree, but also to its abundant flowering.

Magnolias are practically not affected by pests, they calmly tolerate smoke and a large accumulation of soot, but with poor care they suffer from fungal diseases.
Among the main problems that the tulip magnolia tree faces during the growth process are:

  • drying out of the tips of the foliage or its fall, which is associated with increased dryness of the soil and air;
  • yellowing of foliage, which is caused by too bright lighting;
  • discoloration or blanching of foliage as a result of lack of nutrients in the soil.
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Tulip magnolia tree needs good maintenance

Having decided to grow a tulip magnolia tree from seeds, you should be patient, but in any case, it is justified since the seed material of this plant has a high germination capacity. Otherwise, the growing process will not require any special efforts from the gardener, if the correct site for planting is selected.