How to Propagate Michelia Alba

Written by emma watkins
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How to Propagate Michelia Alba
Magnolias are prized for their large blooms. (Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

The Michelia plant family merged with the Magnolia group. Michelia champaca "Alba" is now called Magnolia x alba. Its common name is white champaca. The tree is a fragrant evergreen that blooms late spring to early fall and grows 30 feet tall. Summer is the time to propagate magnolia trees. Take either a softwood or semi-hardwood cutting. Softwood is immature and completely flexible when you bend it. Semi-hardwood has ripened to some extent and, while it is pliable, it might break if you flex it too far.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Rooting medium
  • Pots with drainage holes
  • Shears
  • Knife
  • Rooting hormone
  • Spray bottle
  • Clear plastic bag
  • Stakes, as needed
  • Potting soil
  • Leaf mould
  • Shovel

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Select sand, perlite or peat as the rooting medium. Add it to a pot and irrigate it until water drips out of the drainage holes.

  2. 2

    Harvest a 4- to 8-inch-long stem tip from the magnolia tree you intend to propagate.

  3. 3

    Slice the bark off a small area of the twig's cut end with a knife. Dip that side of the cutting in rooting hormone.

  4. 4

    Plant the treated end of the magnolia stem in the rooting medium you prepared. Pluck any foliage on the lower part of the stem.

  5. 5

    Irrigate the rooting medium and spray the stem with water.

  6. 6

    Enclose the planter in a clear plastic bag to mimic the moist and warm conditions inside a greenhouse. Hold the bag up above the cutting with stakes planted in the soil if necessary.

  7. 7

    Spray the magnolia stem with water and irrigate the rooting medium as often as it takes to prevent either from drying out.

  8. 8

    Dig carefully around the base of the cutting to check for roots weekly.

  9. 9

    Fill a 4-inch planter with potting soil after the stem develops three 1/2-inch-long roots. Transplant the rooted cutting to the planter.

  10. 10

    Introduce the baby magnolia to full sunlight over the course of one week to 10 days. Keep it in a pot through its first winter.

  11. 11

    Incorporate 2 inches of leaf mould into the permanent planting site the following spring. Transplant the magnolia sapling to a place in full sun or partial shade. Select a spot that drains within one hour of irrigation and that has a pH between 5 and 6.5.

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