Saucer magnolia seed pods

Q: What are these things on our saucer magnolia?

A: They are seed pods. They look weird, I know, but that’s what they are.

Keep an eye on them and in early fall they will change color as they dry and the skin will start splitting. This will expose several bright red seeds. If you want to experiment with the seeds, soak them in water for a day or two and the red skins will become soft. Squeeze a red seed between thumb and forefinger and the black true seed will squirt out.

They need a cold treatment before they will germinate. The easiest way to do that is to get a resealable plastic bag and put a cup of damp potting soil in it. Put the black seeds in the soil, shake the bag, and put it in the back of your refrigerator. Be sure to make a note in your calendar to check on them in three months.

Went three months have passed, take the seeds out and plant them in individual small pots, about an inch deep. Put the pots in a warm spot outdoors but not in full sun. Seedlings will usually pop up randomly in the next four weeks.

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