How to Propagate Michelia Alba

Updated February 21, 2017

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.

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.

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

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.

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

Irrigate the rooting medium and spray the stem with water.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

Things You'll 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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About the Author

Emma Watkins writes on finance, fitness and gardening. Her articles and essays have appeared in "Writer's Digest," "The Writer," "From House to Home," "Big Apple Parent" and other online and print venues. Watkins holds a Master of Arts in psychology.