Propagation Of Tulip Trees – How To Propagate A Tulip Tree

By: Teo Spengler

The tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) is an ornamental shade tree with a straight, tall trunk and tulip-shaped leaves. In backyards, it grows up to 80 feet (24.5 m.) tall and 40 feet (12 m.) wide. If you have one tulip tree on your property, you can propagate more. Propagation of tulip trees is either done with tulip tree cuttings or by growing tulip trees from seeds. Read on for tips on tulip tree propagation.

Propagation of Tulip Trees from Seeds

Tulip trees grow flowers in the spring that produce fruit in the fall. The fruit is a grouping of samaras – winged seeds – in a cone-like structure. These winged seeds produce tulip trees in the wild. If you harvest the fruit in the fall, you can plant them and grow them into trees. This is one type of tulip tree propagation.

Pick the fruit after the samaras turn a beige color. If you wait too long, the seeds will separate for natural dispersal, making harvest more difficult.

If you want to start growing tulip trees from seeds, place the samaras in a dry area for a few days to help the seeds separate from the fruit. If you don’t want to plant them immediately, you can store the seeds in air tight containers in the refrigerator to use for tulip tree propagation down the road.

Also, when growing tulip tree from seeds, stratify the seeds for 60 to 90 days in a moist, cold place. After that, plant them in small containers.

How to Propagate a Tulip Tree from Cuttings

You can also grow tulip trees from tulip tree cuttings. You’ll want to take the tulip tree cuttings in the fall, selecting branches 18 inches (45.5 cm.) or longer.

Cut the branch just outside of the swollen area where it attaches to the tree. Place the cutting in a bucket of water with rooting hormone added, per package directions.

When propagating a tulip tree from cuttings, line a bucket with burlap, then fill it with potting soil. Plunge the cut end of the cutting 8 inches (20.5 cm.) deep in the soil. Cut the bottom out of a milk jug, then use it to cover the cutting. This holds in the humidity.

Place the bucket in a protected area that gets sun. The cutting should get roots within a month, and be ready for planting in spring.

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Read more about Tulip Tree

Spathodea Species, African Tulip Tree, Firebell, Flame of The Forest, Fountain Tree

Family: Bignoniaceae (big-no-nih-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Spathodea (spath-OH-dee-uh) (Info)
Species: campanulata (kam-pan-yoo-LAH-tuh) (Info)
Synonym:Bignonia tulipifera
Synonym:Spathodea campanulata subsp. congolana
Synonym:Spathodea campanulata subsp. nilotica
Synonym:Spathodea nilotica
Synonym:Spathodea tulipifera


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater

Sun Exposure:


This plant is fire-retardant

Foliage Color:




USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

From seed sow indoors before last frost

Self-sows freely deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Allow pods to dry on plant break open to collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:


San Diego, California(2 reports)

Vista, California(9 reports)

Port Charlotte, Florida(2 reports)

Gardeners' Notes:

On Aug 6, 2016, electricdaisy from Granada Hills, CA wrote:

The tree grows in long beach,seal beach, Huntington beach, California. All are sunset zone 23 or 24. The tree grows on the side of the 405 freeway in Orange county from seal beach to fountain valley. The tree is used as a street tree in seal beach, California.
The tree gets about 30 feet tall. It flowers usually in July and August. It does not need a lot of water in this area. Some of the trees do not get as large, I think it depends on how much water the trees receive.
The trees usually have leaves year round, but in the colder months, December to February the leaves are fewer.

On Feb 6, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

In south Florida this becomes a very large, weak-wooded tree to 90'. It is one of the most prone to wind damage.

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) has placed this tree on its list of the world's 100 worst invasive species, a dubious honor it shares with only 31 other land plants.

It is a serious threat to both agricultural land and wild habitat in many tropical regions, including Sri Lanka, Hawaii, much of the south Pacific, and Queensland, Aust. read more ralia.

It has naturalized in southern Florida and is considered invasive in Hawaii.

On Aug 12, 2013, Lightray from Carlsbad, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

My Spathodea campanulata has grown well in coastal San Diego, CA. I have a nearby neighbor who has grown one with great success here as well. They are a good deal of work, with the profuse orange flowers when they bloom, so consider where you want to plant it and what will be underneath it. Its a moderately fast grower here but doesn't get as outsized as they get in true tropical climates (such as Hawaii) nor have I seen sprouts from the seeds and my tree has been in the ground blooming for over a decade now. It is deciduous in winter here and old smaller branches often die below the new canopy every year. These old dead branches require some pruning, but the new canopy provides nice summer shade. I have not seen the mass die off of bees some describe, so our local variety of bees mu. read more st tolerate it well. We also get at least one humming bird nest in the tree annually, and they feed on it regularly when in bloom.

On Apr 7, 2013, huachinango from La Paz,
Mexico wrote:

How much water should the tulip tree get? There are many healthy ones in my city but mine is pathetic. Dead branches, yellow leaves and very short flowering time.

On Nov 9, 2012, askelena from Londres de Quepos,
Costa Rica wrote:

Gosh these trees are beautiful. But. here in Costa Rica the Ticos do a "chop and drop" and then next year each trunk has 20 new trees. I have heard the tulips trap and kills bees. The story is Palma Tica brought in the trees to kill the bees and protect the workers from bee stings. Does any one know this for sure?

IF they do kill bees, then we sure don't need any more of 'em.

Also is there any use for the wood? a large 20 meter tall tree went down in last storm. Some people use them for drums. any ideas?

On Oct 21, 2012, samm5155 from Puriscal,
Costa Rica wrote:

Has anyone had the problem of the tree losing all of it's leaves? Here in Costa Rica it is an evergreen. It gets leaves then in a couple of weeks it loses them all. There's no sign that it's the leaf cutter ants. I planted the tree about 2 years ago. It has tripled in height. It is still alive.

On Jun 18, 2012, dj63010 from Islamorada, FL wrote:

Is it possible some of the commentors here are confusing this plant with Poinseanas or Flamboyant Trees? From a distance the flowers look very similar. Or maybe the Poinseana is the same tree?

On Jun 18, 2012, amygirl from Lafayette, IN (Zone 5a) wrote:

It is very invasive in south Florida. It is brittle and breaks up easily in hurricanes. It is somewhat cold tender and can suffer extensive cold damage. I would not recommend its use in home landscapes.

On Mar 15, 2012, johnchen99 from Livermore, CA wrote:

With a little protection, African Tulip survives in Livermore Valley, CA. A fast growing tree in the summer time. Will lose all leaves during first freeze. Update: very exciting news! My african tulip tree is having flower buds and will post pictures when it flowers!!

On Oct 18, 2011, justpalms from banora point,
Australia wrote:

yes it is indeed a beautiful tree when in full bloom, it does grow pretty big here in Queensland but it is also noxious as it has the ability to pop up anywhere and especially in native rainforest remnants and can take over very quickly if not controlled. there is also a yellow flowered form quite stunning.It thrives when grown in deep volcanic red soil and forms impressive butresses but in coastal areas and in the sand it only reaches a medium size and is quite manageable.

On May 23, 2011, Frangipaniannie from Gold Coast,
Australia wrote:

In Queensland, Australia this tree cannot be sold in Nurseries anymore, apart from being invasive it kills the stingless native bees. They are drawn to the beautiful flower but it is killing them off so good gardeners are either not planting or are cutting down this tree.

On Mar 23, 2011, Kiyzersoze from Coral Springs, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

I have had this tree for 2 years. I live in South Florida Zone 10b. It barely made it through both winters. It started to bud this year but the cold killed them. The one 20 minutes South of me at Flamingo Gardens had a little more natural protection and in much older than mine and did very well through the winter. I guess a couple of years and a few degrees makes a world of difference.

On Feb 17, 2011, eliasastro from Athens,
Greece (Zone 10a) wrote:

Very impressive and fast growing tropical tree.
Blooms even when it is 3 feet (1m) tall, in a container!
The blooms are astonishing and it is not a coincidence that it is considered as one of the most beautiful tropical trees.
It looks more cold tolerant as i thought, even the seedlings survived my cool winters. It only gets damaged with prolonged near freezing or below freezing temperatures. This year i placed it indoors as i saw the first flower bud in late November and it would be impossible to bloom outdoors in the winter.
I moved the large flowerpot inside the house, in a south facing window that allowed for some direct sunshine. It took 3 months for the inflorescence to fully grow and start blooming. Fabulous floral show.

* UPDATE May 2,. read more 2012. This last winter proved fatal for the small tree. Some prolonged cold spells and near freezing temperatures killed it unexpectedly. Even Papayas survived, but they were in a more sheltered position. I agree with Kiyzersoze (comment above). Position and even few degrees (near freezing) are crucial.

On Jan 30, 2010, Cixi from Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia wrote:

There are 2 of these trees, currently 7-8 metres tall, in my garden. In the 6 months I've lived here they have flowered profusely and I haven't had the kinds of problems with them that others have noted below. They have interesting kind of twisty branches and create a nice shade for my hammock (in which I'm lounging as I write this) and a rest stop for birds. There's an owl that comes and sits in the upper branches of one of them for hours at a time.

On Jan 18, 2010, park28r from Dubbo,
Australia wrote:

I must agree about the messiness of this particular tree. Beautiful though it is in flower, I am about to remove a very large old specimen close to my house. As I rely on rainwater collection from the roof, I am constantly cleaning out the gutters and downpipes because of the large leaves which fall throughout the year, especially if there is a prolonged dry period or a sudden cold snap.

Can anyone tell me if the sap or leaves are poisonous to humans or livestock - I have a flock of Angora Goats which could use the additional feed if it is safe.

On Apr 21, 2009, mrao77 from Plano, TX wrote:

I have never grown this tree , but remember seeing it lining several streets in the city and was used a a shade tree(where I grew up in India). The tree is a beautiful sight as many have described, and the seed pods open up into 4 boat shaped woody structures. As kids we used these as boats to sail down steams of rainwater duirng the monsoon! Wonderful memories, it kept us occupied all evening!
I am however unaware of the smell that some folks have commented about, the trees were so huge and we never got close enough maybe?

On Mar 5, 2009, AfricanBlueSky from Tzaneen,
South Africa wrote:

Please think twice before planting this HUGELY messy, stinky, pain!
I have 4 huge ones on the borders of my property, and have to sweep my driveway daily. On the gravel path each dropped, ant infested flower, seedpod or twig has to be picked up individually!
lf these trees were on my property, l would CUT THEM DOWN!

On Mar 7, 2008, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have not grown this tree however, I have observed it growing in Maui, Hawaii. It has been naturalized in Florida, the Hawaiian Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

On Jan 22, 2008, lauraroxie from Saint Petersburg, FL wrote:

9B Saint Petersburg, Fl/ So far so good. I have a two year old specimen about 25 feet tall! It is probably 10 inches in diameter, but has a branching nature rather than one large trunk.

I am excited to report that it survived temperatures as low as 26 degrees this winter. After the freeze, the tree began to defoliate (from base to tips) from all branches/trunks. I was concerned this might be the end of my tree that is certainly a stretch in 9B. Instead the defoliation stopped about 1/3 of the way out and seems to have recovered.

No blooms from this tree yet and very few branches on the main trunk. My nursery expert has recommended topping the tree to induce branching and it sounds like this might be a good plan to limit growth though i'm hoping the cold snaps. read more here will assist with that too.

On Feb 15, 2006, wkeen27913 from Glendale, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

A beautiful tree that initially grew to 10 ft, and bloomed. Froze to the ground during the winter here in Glendale AZ. Removed it from its original home in dappled shade and planted in full sun, seems to have survived the winter but no leaves as of yet.

On Oct 20, 2004, jungleboy_fl from Naples, FL wrote:

The African Tulip Tree is an awesome sight when in bloom, to say the least. However, as a homeowner, I feel it is important to inform gardeners of the high maintenance nature of these gorgeous trees. Here in south FL, they must be pruned annually to restrict the rapid growth, and to keep them tidy. These trees have a tendency to become enormously tall, with a very open canopy. Due to it's ultimate size, this tree is much too large for the average urban lot, and is better in a large public park. Also, these trees are prone to breaking apart during high winds, and can pose a real hazard to nearby structures. I don't think I've ever seen a large Spathodea in Florida without a number of large broken limbs- even before the dreaded hurricanes. There is an issue with the near constant litt. read more er produced by larger trees- leaves, twigs, and of course, winged seeds galore. Finally, those gorgeous blossoms don't smell as nice as they look. In fact, they have a skunk-like aroma, which is in odd contrast to their extraordinary beauty.

On Apr 30, 2004, foodiesleuth from Honomu, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

This tree is considered VERY invasive in Hawaii. Though they are beautiful to see when they are all in bloom (like right now) giving a lot of color to the landscape, any place where one of their little windblown papery seeds fly will be a host for the plant. They grow to tremendous heights and do look beautiful in gulches and areas where erosion might be a problem.

I can look out my windows at this very minute and see some near, some far across the gulch. but at least 3 dozen or more trees in bloom.

The most common ones are a redish, flame orange. You do see some with saffron yellow blooms from time to time, but not often.

The blooms attract a lot of ants. as I learned when I tried to use them in flower arrangements. The canoe shaped. read more seed pods are used by some crafters in their artwork, sometimes incorporated into wreaths.

On Dec 2, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

This tree is largely used here in Rio de Janeiro. You can distinguish from a fair distance this tree when itґs blooming. The flowers are great, itґs resistant to insects, atracts bees, produces lots of seeds, and is not invasive. A great tree for warm climates.

On Aug 2, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

My own experience with this tree in Thousand Oaks, north of Los Angeles has been sad. Can't survive out winters. But I saw them all over Hawaii and they are simply incredible. Not native, howver, they are now considered a serious invasive weed on Hawaii. The seeds float gently on the breezes and little trees pop up everywhere. Oh, if our weeds here in Southern California could look so nice.

Hello! I'm new here. My experience with the African Tulip Tree is very present. I'm portuguese, live in Lisbon (Europe zone 10). This summer (July) I went to Dominican Republic on holidays. I saw that beautiful flowering and quite big tree in Princess Bavaro Resort, Punta Cana, under the tree I found several boat like pods and near lots of small paper like winged seeds. I collected several. At home, around a week ago I soaked 6 in water for about 8 hours, then I have sown 2 directly in bonsai mix soil mixed with very small pebbles ( aquarium use)and beach sand (dominican sand mixed with coral, that I brought with me), in a small bonsai pot,1 of the 2 germinated 2 days ago, is now a seedling with 2cm high and two cotiledones only, the other 4 that I also soaked in water for several hours, t. read more hen put the seeds on a wet cotton pad inside a small perspex box, 2 already germinated and are now in another bonsai pot with the same mixed soil. Lets hope they can succed the next winter and go strong. I live in an apartment, no garden, patio or balcony, only my kitchen as a greenhouse and the window sills. By now I think you understood that I love bonsai and that i intend to grow them to be small bonsai later in time. I also collected Delonix Regia (Royal Poinciana) and Caesalpinia Pulcherrima (Dwarf Poinciana ou Pride of Barbados ) seeds, I follow the same steps and also have seedlings growing, this ones with cotiledones and two real leaves already similar to each other.

How to Plant Tulip Tree Clippings

Related Articles

With their great height and large, cup-shaped flowers, tulip trees (Liriodendron tulipifera) make a stately addition to landscaping within U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 to 9. Although most commonly grown from seed, tulip trees will also grow from stem clippings taken in summer. The clippings, or cuttings, must be of soft or semi-ripe growth, since older stems will not reliably produce roots. In addition, the clippings must be treated with growth-promoting hormones and grown in moist, sterile potting mixture under warm, bright conditions to perform their best.

Combine two parts milled peat and one part coarse sand in a bucket. Stir them together until the mixture takes on a fairly uniform appearance. Cover the mixture with water and let it soak until the peat plumps up slightly.

Drain the peat mixture through a wire colander. Press it to release the excess moisture. Pack the mixture into a 4-inch pot. Leave the top inch of the pot empty.

Gather a 4- to 5-inch-long cutting from the tip of a tulip tree branch in summer. Select a cutting with soft growth at the end and slightly rigid growth at the base. Sever it using a very sharp knife or a pair of pruning shears.

Remove the leaves from the lower one-third of the tulip tree cutting. Snip the remaining leaves in half to decrease moisture loss from transpiration. Use clean, sharp scissors to cut the leaves in half.

Slice away a sliver of bark from the severed end of the cutting. Remove a portion of bark measuring no more than one-quarter the diameter of the stem. Use a utility knife to remove the bark.

Treat the severed end and wounded portion of the tulip tree cutting with 0.2-percent IBA (indolebutyric acid) rooting hormone powder. Dab the powder onto the cutting using a soft paintbrush or cotton swab.

Poke a planting hole in the center of the peat mixture. Make the hole one-third the length of the cutting. Insert the severed end of the cutting into the planting hole and push the soil in against it.

Place the potted tulip tree cutting on a bright, sheltered porch or indoors near a large, partially shaded window. Find a spot with shelter from wind and extremely bright, indirect sunlight.

Set the pot on a heating coil or propagation mat set to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover the cutting with a clear plastic sack to hold humidity around the foliage. Snip a 1/2-inch hole in the bag to allow for evaporation.

Maintain a constant level of light moisture in the peat mixture, but do not allow it to become soggy. Let the surface dry out slightly before adding more water. Water with a spray bottle and lightly mist the cutting's foliage each time you water.

Check for roots in four weeks, but do not be surprised if it takes up to two months. Tug gently on the base of the stem and feel if it is "stuck" to the peat. Grow the tulip tree cutting in its pot for another few weeks, then transplant it into a larger container filled with potting soil.

Place the transplanted tulip tree against a sheltered, south-facing wall or in a ventilated cold frame for its first winter. Water it whenever the top 2 inches of soil dry out. Withhold all watering during rainy weather.

Transplant the tulip tree into a sunny or partly shaded bed the following spring. Choose a spot with deep, sandy soil and at least 20 feet of clearance from structures. Mulch around the base and keep it well-watered for the first few months to promote root growth.

Samantha McMullen began writing professionally in 2001. Her nearly 20 years of experience in horticulture informs her work, which has appeared in publications such as Mother Earth News.

Ask a Question forum→Tulip Tree rarity and seed germination

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First, how rare are they in my area?
I've tried growing about 20 seeds keeping them out in pots in winter hearing they need cold stratification but none ever germinated. What am I doing wrong?

The last few years especially, I've had hundreds of flowers, all producing what look like seeds, but nothing seems viable. This year, however, somehow I had five seedlings grow in the lawn and garden! I have to say, a lot of unusual things happened this year with many old plants that acted differently this year compared to all the previous years. So I am guessing this was a fluke with the tulip tree seedlings, too, but it can happen!

My advice is this winter (probably now) gather a grocery bag full of seeds, if you can. Mix the seeds, say half and half, with potting soil (as mentioned, they do like a peaty mix), and spread in a tray perhaps the depth of a cake pan. Keep moist and outside, by putting the whole tray(s) inside clear plastic garbage bags, and see if anything emerges by mid summer. Keep out of direct sun so it won't cook inside, and don't worry that the mix is too light. As long as the bag is sealed, there will be plenty of moisture. If you see anything emerging, remove the bag and keep moist. If you're late in finding emerging seedlings and they are already a half inch or more high, you will need to just open the bag first, and slowly acclimate the seedlings to exposed conditions over 2-3 weeks.

Name: Lin Vosbury
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)

I'm an old gal who still loves playing in the dirt!

Playing in the dirt is my therapy . and I'm in therapy a lot!

Yes, Liriodendron tulipifera is the tree. We do fall in range for it but borderline for certain areas it won't grow. It flowers every year and produces seeds. I heard it self pollinates and lots of bees show up.

Leftwood said: Sorry, I have no idea how rare or common tulip trees may be in your area. I do have one tulip tree I planted in my yard here in Minnesota (unusual for my climate). It's about 23 years old and has been blooming consistently for the last six years.But Tulip trees are said to be self infertile, meaning that if you only have one tree that can't be pollinated by another different tulip tree, viable seeds are very unlikely. I've cut open many, many of my seeds open and have never found any that looked like they might be alive. That said, I do have an encouraging true story for you.

The last few years especially, I've had hundreds of flowers, all producing what look like seeds, but nothing seems viable. This year, however, somehow I had five seedlings grow in the lawn and garden! I have to say, a lot of unusual things happened this year with many old plants that acted differently this year compared to all the previous years. So I am guessing this was a fluke with the tulip tree seedlings, too, but it can happen!

My advice is this winter (probably now) gather a grocery bag full of seeds, if you can. Mix the seeds, say half and half, with potting soil (as mentioned, they do like a peaty mix), and spread in a tray perhaps the depth of a cake pan. Keep moist and outside, by putting the whole tray(s) inside clear plastic garbage bags, and see if anything emerges by mid summer. Keep out of direct sun so it won't cook inside, and don't worry that the mix is too light. As long as the bag is sealed, there will be plenty of moisture. If you see anything emerging, remove the bag and keep moist. If you're late in finding emerging seedlings and they are already a half inch or more high, you will need to just open the bag first, and slowly acclimate the seedlings to exposed conditions over 2-3 weeks.

I will try again but not in direct sunlight like last time.

The lowest branch is way too high to reach, the tree is Huge!

Just get gobs and gobs of seed, Keith. Something is bound to be alive. You would be very, very lucky if something emerged from just 20 seeds.

Here is a good article with lots of details. Living in or near North Carolina might be a good way to obtain viable seeds.

According to the article, it seems there is a very short window of time for pollination to occur.

a lily expert around here said that out of the seed pod some of the seeds should germinate. but they would need a cooling off in the fridge and then planted back outside again

All Tulip tree flowers possess both female and male parts, as indicated by the link that greene posted.

Seeds do need to be exposes to a cold, moist period (2.5-3 months) before they will germinate under warm conditions (55-80F).

CindiKS said: EBay has several sellers with liriodendron (tulip tree). I bought this one last week from a seller named earthwaterwindfire365. Every tree he sent was much bigger than what he advertised. All are very well rooted. I paid $4.99 for this one. He shipped me several trees in a large box for $11 or so.

The counter is 36 inches tall, for reference.

I'm giving away free seeds if anyone wants.

The plan is take the seeds off the tree in the fall and then they will get the seeds taken out and then they send them to a nursery to see if they will geminate again. and grow in this zone..

part of the problem they say is the small window for the pollinators. this tree at 90 had tons of bumble bees and tons of honey bees. just in flower right actually. the 20 year old and 30 year old tulip trees around here have very little pollination going on. at night the tree is covered in moths. The flowers do not open all at once either and the tree has had bees for about a week now. Noticed today that there are very few bees around now and personally not seen many bees towards the bottom of tree. The tree is approx. 80 feet tall.

they are hoping the young ones can survive but like stated do not produce that many viable seeds and many tulips do not produce viable seed until they are 50 years old. a lot of seeds before that but not viable..

if you cut open a pod and it is white inside. the seed is viable. if it is brown inside. it is not. that is what I was told.

My tree has likely put tons of viable seeds for years now that get eaten by the animals in the winter time.

Viable seeds stay up on the tree in the pod. ones that are not fall to the ground.

they will be coming to climb up the tree to get the pods here sometime this fall. not sure when but likely October or so.

my tree will go to my grave far more important then me. guaranteed..hahahaha

I will post a link tomorrow to the local paper here so you can read the write up on this tree here. some pretty cool info from the conservationist.

hopefully will see if we get heritage status on this tree later this week. I also ready that germination is super low on the amount of viable seeds in the pods. so really glad to here that you got two seeds to germinate there.

Making the Cuts

Poplar cuttings do best if taken from healthy trees, especially if taken in the early morning. Use a sharp, thin-bladed knife or sharpened pruning shears and remove all the leaves from the bottom half of a 6-inch stem. If the leaves on your cutting are large, cut them in half to reduce water loss during rooting. Place the cutting up to half its length in a medium made of half peat and half sand water well and keep in a spot that receives indirect sunlight. Keep the soil moist but not saturated by occasionally misting the cutting. When it has rooted, transfer it into a larger container or into a separate bed with others as its chances of survival are improved if not immediately planted in its permanent location. Cuttings, also called whips, can be harvested in late fall and refrigerated until planting time. If using this method, be sure to soak the cutting for 24 hours before planting and keep the area weed-free during the first two years of growth as young poplars are easily overtaken by other vegetation.

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Magnolia Species, Saucer Magnolia, Tulip Tree


Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater

Sun Exposure:


Foliage Color:




USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 °C (-30 °F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 °C (-25 °F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 °C (-20 °F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 °C (-15 °F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 °C (-10 °F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 °C (-5 °F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 °C (0 °F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 °C (5 °F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)

Where to Grow:


Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

Scarify seed before sowing

Seed Collecting:

Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Citrus Heights, California

Los Angeles, California(2 reports)

Manhattan Beach, California

Santa Barbara, California(2 reports)

Jacksonville, Florida(2 reports)

Dearborn Heights, Michigan

Fredericton, New Brunswick

Winston Salem, North Carolina

Glen Margaret, Nova Scotia

Fort Mill, South Carolina(2 reports)

Summerville, South Carolina

Falling Waters, West Virginia

Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin

Gardeners' Notes:

On Nov 9, 2020, Beetreeguy from Gordonsville, VA wrote:

I drive through old downtown neighborhoods in Virginia just to see these old dignitaries blooming in early spring. Their magnificence during that time is more than enough to make me overlook the fact that they're a one-trick pony. The rest of the year, this is a pleasant, but unremarkable, tree. So, given that it's all about the flowers, I'd consider placement carefully. It has a wide growth habit, so give it room. They're slow growers, but can become surprisingly large over time. The "Ann" cultivar is better for small spaces. Magnolias typically don't grow much at all in the first couple of years, while they're developing a good root system. Luckily, they do start blooming when they're small. You can reduce the chance of late frost damage by planting them in morning shade to delay bloomin. read more g. It doesn't seem to be a frequent problem here, but if it's a concern in your area, the 'Alexandrina' culivar blooms later. I'd say they're fairly shade tolerant, and grow well enough in our poor, clay soil. I have a no-maintenance approach, and am impressed how well they've done through all of the neglect. For beekeeping, this tree is not at all what you would expect. Pollinators mostly ignore them. It's an insignificant source of pollen for our honey bees, and doesn't seem to provide any nectar. As far as fall color, there's really none to speak of. There might be a little yellow right before the leaves fall off. As far as being called a Tulip Tree, in our area that name is reserved for Liriodendron Tulipifera, which is a common forest tree here. It also happens to be in the magnolia family.

On Apr 16, 2018, EveAngeline from Mansfield, LA wrote:

I love these trees but cannot find the old-fashioned type anywhere. The much older ones had larger, very pale pink flowers. The ones in nurseries now have dark purple flowers which are not as pretty to me. There were two very large ones in a front yard next door when I was young. My great aunt always called them tulip trees. A lot of people did because the large unopened blooms looked like tulips. Giegertree was being a jerk!! The older generations called them tulip trees and there's nothing wrong with that. Get over yourselves.

On Mar 12, 2016, Mommo2 from Paris, TX wrote:

They are beautiful most years in Northeast Texas, along the Red River. This year (2016), we had a very early spring and most trees have already bloomed. Ours survived many years without supplemental watering in summer. Saucer magnolia is commonly used for the name, but many of my parents' generation (and I am over 70) call them "tulip trees" --which I see is also a common name in Alabama, North Carolina, and New Jersey :). So they have a long history with our hot, dry summers and erratic spring temperatures.

On Jan 25, 2015, giegertree from Savannah, GA wrote:

Of all the places I've lived (east of the Rockies) and gardened, the ONLY place I've EVER heard the saucer magnolia called a "tulip tree" is by New Jerseyites.

Go back to your annoying state and stop spreading the falsehood that this is "tulip tree" here in the South-- that name is specific to our native yellow poplar or Liriodendron tulipifera.

On Jan 7, 2014, RosemaryK from Lexington, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:

I like to prune the cross branches in late winter or early spring, and then display them in water much as one might do for forsythia. In time the leaves and blossoms that sprout from the fuzzy buds make a fragrant and pretty display.

On Jul 4, 2012, funflower from Fort Mill, SC wrote:

I have a pink magnolia or tulip tree as it is called here in Fort Mill,SC.
It bloomed in the spring, as usual, before any leaves came out. I just looked out and in the upper part of the tree nestled among the green leaves, are pink blooms. It has been 95-104 degrees so why is it blooming again? It did it last year but I thought it was just a fluke!

On Mar 15, 2012, delbertyoung56m from Medina, NY wrote:

I planted my Saucer Magnolia in 2001 and it has slowly grown, with minor pruning each year after it blooms. The tree has never lost its flowers to early blooms/late frosts. It is in my front, side yard on the northside of my home in partial shade. Very few of these trees in Medina, NY, which is a shame, because this tree deserves a wider distribution in any neighborhood.

On Mar 13, 2012, jockamo from Gretna, LA wrote:

Down yonder in Nawleens we call this tree Japanese Magnolia,a rose by any other name,would be called something else

On Mar 12, 2012, Daigon from Villa Rica, GA wrote:

We moved to TN 18 months ago and the property came with two kind of mags. One the Southern Mag, one a Saucer Mag. I have to say both are gorgeous.

The Saucer Mag blooms faster and lasts longer. It is gorgeous and makes what few neighbors (this is a farm) we have envious. I have learned from the UT Dept of Ag how to make cuttings/rootings.

This is going to be sooo cool!

On Mar 12, 2012, timed100 from Buffalo, NY wrote:

I planted my Magnolia x soulangeana at the south west corner of my house maybe 35+ years ago. The spring after planting vandals (kids?) tore off all the flowers, maybe a dozen, and scattered them around the neighborhood. I was furious! It blooms extravagantly every spring and has several dozen during the summer. It is never affected by frost. I once brought some flowers into the house but the fragrance was so overpowering I had to remove them! It is as tall as my 3 story house even after being cut back 6 feet or so in 2 different years. I expect to do some more pruning this summer. A neighbor once gave me a photo he took of it in full bloom because he thought it was so beautiful!

On Mar 22, 2011, loganintheus from Squirrel Hill, MD wrote:

Love our Magnolia. We sit in its deep shade every afternoon throughout summer. Our is flowering less and less each year. It may be as much as 30 years old - since it was planted by a previous owner. Does anyone know what is the expected lifetime of this beautiful tree ?

On Jan 20, 2011, hortulaninobili from St. Louis, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

Magnolia x soulangeana 'Jane':

I have had a successful draw with this large shrub/small tree now for the better part of a decade. Reliable flowering (and prolific every spring) and have never experience losing flowers from a spring frost. Where this plant is located in a landscape may help minimize damage to flowers from an early spring frost.

Ideally, saucer and stellata magnolias should be planted in a somewhat protected area. I have mine planted on the northwest corner of my house. This ensures the sun does not begin to heat up area too early in spring, prematurely breaking dormancy. I see all the time, magnolias planted facing south (on the south side of a house, for instance) which WILL heat up faster and sooner than a northern exposure in spring, causing. read more too early a break in dormancy.

As with nearly every tree or shrub, mulch should be used to moderate soil moisture and temperature. Supplemental irrigation and fertilizer is a must for the first five years after planting. Pruning should be done to remove crossing branches, dead branches, and thin canopy to allow air flow and light to reach interior. DO NOT prune to create a tacky geometric shape. Prune to accentuate natural growing habit. Over time EXPECT this shrub to eventually take on a broad-canopied umbrella-like tree form. The small subjects purchased at the store are just that . . . small plants that WILL eventually get large. So plant in final location!

Relatively devoid of serious pests and disease. Sometimes powdery mildew will be a problem but only cosmetic. Fall color is not incredible: usually a dull grey-yellow.

On Dec 4, 2010, Hison from Dillsburg, PA wrote:

I love this plant. I live in an old farmhouse (built around the 1840's) next to an orchard form the early 1800's. I do not know how old the tree is but it is beautiful when blooming or even just with leaves. As I kid I climbed the tree (a vary good beginner climbing tree btw). The Magnolia is easily 40ft and is next to the sidewalk making a picture perfect view each day it blooms when walking to my car or barn. The tree has recently had a main limb cut down because it was hallow, hopefully this does not mean it is the beginning of the end for this beautiful tree.
If anyone has any info on how to date a Magnolia please send me an Email [email protected] , Thank you

On Jun 18, 2010, redspqr from Madison, AL wrote:

I purchased a saucer magnolia from my local Home Depot. I was unaware how large it would get, so I will have to transplant it this fall. It is in front of my house in a flower bed (morning shade and afternoon sun). I planted it in late February. Shortly after planting, it bloomed profusely (beautiful purple blooms). In 4 months it has grown considerably and I noticed today among all the beautiful leaves that it has buds that are starting to bloom again! The only things I have done to it was trim some lower branches, Miracle Grow, and the soil I planted it in was one of those "water wise" soils that I mixed with our local clay soil. It gets pretty dry here in the summer (Alabama). I love this tree!

On May 2, 2010, RichGardner from Richardson, TX wrote:

Yes, this plant is an early bloomer, which usually means it gets caught with a late freeze. This is true for every early spring bloomer in the Dallas area.

But this does not take away from the awsome beauty of this plant - it is classified as a bush as it generally is shorter than 20 feet in height at maturity. We have had this tulip magnolia in our yard for over 40 years. It has never suffered from disease or pests. It has survived beautifully thru drought, killer summers (115 degrees +) and late freezes. It loves composted manure, but I haven't been vigilant with the application and it has been growing in the "black prairie" which is very alcaline. My tulip has been growing under a huge white oak all this time and appears to suffer no ill effects.

. read more If the weather man says there will be a late freeze, why not cut some of the blooms and make an awsome ikebana arrangement?

On Jun 21, 2009, saya from Heerlen,
Netherlands (Zone 8b) wrote:

I like to give it a neutral rate. But maybe in a better and more suitable climate and in a yard without such limited space I'm sure it will get a more positive rate. In my climate there's a great chance that it will not flower without being damaged by late night frosts. Whenever this happens when it is in flower. ooohhh it looks so sad, ugly..truly a sad looking spring.. and it brings a lot of mess without having any joy to see it in flower. I have a tulip tree in my garden. It has been there when I moved in.. it has been planted by the former inhabitants. Like most Dutch city backyards my space is very limited. I think average space for Dutch city yards is about 50m2..(unless you're lucky and/or rich).. so I'm just lucky to have 200 m2. For that fact I would not have chosen to plant a . read more tulip tree ..I would choose a small tree that bears edible fruits.. But.. hence I have it in my garden I will respect it, I will try to enjoy it as much as I can and I will take care of it. Negative for me are: it sheds a lot . first its outer are its (relative big) flower petals..after that lots (most) of its unripened seeds..and finally it sheds its (relative big) foliage..
I have a gravel keeps me busy cleaning all up..its unripened seeds are to heavy for my garden vacuum I have to pick them up by hand because I cannot rake it out of the gravel. When it is in flower its heavy perfume can give me headaches. But. when it is in flower ..aaaahhh is a heavenly sight and all neighbours envy me..During hot spells..I know where I can find a shady spot in my south facing garden..its shed flower petals nurture the garden soil..its shed foliage shelter frost tender plants in my garden during winter. I collect most of its shed foliage in plastic bags ..pinch holes in it..and store them on a place not in sight and where rain and snow can easy reach them..sure to keep them time this gives me perfect leaf mold. does not withstand hard will react with huge epicormic branches..prune it only if it is necessary and only little by little and directly after flowering. If you prune later there will be lesser flowers.. It's best not to prune at all.. most of its roots are at the surface so mind that when you dig in the garden.

On Apr 14, 2009, purplesun from Krapets,
Bulgaria (Zone 8a) wrote:

I grow my Saucer Magnolia in an acidic, woodland type of soil, and it has been doing admirably. It grows in Sofia, Bulgaria at 2300 feet AMSL.
Has tripled in size since being planted in the ground in 2006, I think. I have never coddled it, apart from a few waterings in the heat of summer. It is in full bloom right now, for the second time in its life, and has somehow escaped being ruined by frost. Its buds open a bit later here because of the high altitude.
The only concern for me is that it is not the small tree that I purchased any longer. It is a quite wide spreading tree, and it can occupy a small garden easily in short time.
Otherwise, this is a justifiably popular flowering tree.

On Mar 9, 2009, therica from Falling Waters, WV (Zone 7a) wrote:

We planted a small 15-inch "tree" in summer 2007, and it's been neglected. Our soil is rather clay-alkaline, as well. It doubled in size in a year, then in fall 2008 a large windstorm ripped it in half. The remaining half rebounded quickly and in December it began to bloom again! No problems whatsoever with blooming, even when it was first planted it put out a few blooms. It's bloomed on and off nearly throughout the year despite a 7a climate, ice and snow storms. Maybe these people who are giving it Negative ratings need to stop trying so hard and just let it find its own way!

On Jul 8, 2008, mbwoody from Waverly, PA (Zone 5b) wrote:

My magnolia in zone 5 Pennsylvania is a magnificent 25' by 25'. I call it positive because although a final frost or hard rain can take the bloom away, there are an equal number of years when we have that perfect sunny spring day and open those windows to watch the flowers and smell that heavenly fragrance. It is worth it.
My tree is protected on 3 sides, is among conifers and is in highly acidic soil at the base of a low hill that stays very wet to moist all year. We do not mow under it, it has a carpet of ground violets, and the summer shade makes it an ideal place to sit. Love this one.

On Jul 7, 2008, Greenhousegirl9 from Palm Bay, FL wrote:

I love this magnolia plant. Its wonderful! I've heard it called Japanese magnolia by the students at my college.

BEWARE: certain people can be allergic-ish to the pollen! symptoms ranged from mild headache, sneezing/runny nose, to watery eyes.

Other than that it is a rather harmless tree with magnificent flowers! They are really nice, very big pink/white flowers that are excellent for picture taking.

On Jul 7, 2008, valzone5 from Mountain Top, PA wrote:

Ours has been planted for about 5 years in the sun, is about 6 foot tall, is growing like a bush also, and has never flowered! We have fertilized it to no avail and are very very disappointed.

On Jan 9, 2008, patticake512 from Clifton Park, NY wrote:

My neighbor has a beautiful tree in her yard. There are many all over this area. There are 3 very old ones where I work that put on a great display every spring! Maybe they need the real cold winters that we have up here in zone 4!

On Dec 12, 2007, NoLawns from Warrenville, IL wrote:

Tree has a great form, and hundreds of beautiful flowers. Why A negative? The tree starts blooming and all of a sudden we have a cold snap. Then you see it the next day the flowers have turned to brown mush. Out of the 18 years of having this tree only 6 winters spared its flowers. It is about 25 Ft. This fall I've noticed huge splits on every main branch and the main trunk. I'll update spring 2008. I think it will bloom and then die.

On May 15, 2007, passiflora_pink from Central, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

A mature tree blooming in late February is a sight to behold. It really cheers the winter gardener waiting for spring. True it gets nipped sometimes, but nothing says "spring" like a saucer magnolia in full bloom.

On Feb 25, 2007, Lily_love from Central, AL (Zone 7b) wrote:

I've planted these 'Tulip Trees' here in zone 7b. Once they're established they can take up neglect. I planted 3 of these on a property in 80's. 2 under big oaks' shade and one in full sun. The one on full sun is proprtionately bigger and bloomed more profusely. And yes, some year they suffer from late frosts, as it does happen quite often here. But when these gems are in its full blooms. Behold beauty and pure. The rest of the growing season. It's not too showy, but what can beat the winter blues when Saucer Magnolia are there to shout out "Spring is near".

On Nov 20, 2006, Redkarnelian from Newmarket, ON (Zone 5a) wrote:

In my neighborhood I've watched quite a few of these trees rapidly grow from small pot plantings to large trees (10 years) and they are fabulous! They always bloom profusely right after the last frost and then shower the ground with petals which can wait a bit before being picked up - they're pretty. The leaves are large and bright green - very attractive and distinctive. I've never seen the problems that other posters have indicated. Maybe my hardiness zone is better for them, even though it's colder.

On Feb 24, 2006, escambiaguy from Atmore, AL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I agree with the previous statement about this tree blooming too early. I have even seen them starting to bloom in the fall after shedding its leaves, only to have the frost get them. While the tree may be pretty in bloom, I think its just an ugly tree the rest of the year. The foliage is a light green which always looks like it has chlorosis. Plus, it looks more like a bush than a tree.

On Dec 3, 2005, ineedacupoftea from Denver, CO wrote:

I'm actaully giving this beautiful tree a negative rating because of its propensity to bloom suicidally before the last frost. Years of failure due to late frosts have been written from 1 in five to 1 in 3 years. I would also not give it a negative rating were there not a grand range of new cultivars that bloom just late enough to miss turning into a spring tree of brown rags. But ther are many out there. I do give it credit for being adaptable to extreme, even dry, soils, and being a bloomer at a very young age.

This is a tree for patient and forgiving gardeners unlike myself dug mine up (gave it away) and supplanted it with a different Magnolia.

On Jul 4, 2004, Pameladragon from Appomattox, VA wrote:

About 10 years ago I found an unusual M. soulangiana, all purple flowers, in a batch of the species. The tree has thrived in central Virginia and will put on a second bloom in late June-July when the tree is fully leafed out. The flowers are dark purple-rose inside and out.

In our climate the early first bloom is usually caught by a frost so the second set of blooms, while not as showey, is very nice.

The tree has grown into a bushy 15 feet, branched to the ground, in ten years from a 3-gallon pot.

On Mar 10, 2004, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Saucer magnolia is a beautiful small tree in my yard although I have seen a very large one in the Fort Worth botanical garden.
It blooms in late February in this zone and some years it does freeze while in bloom which damages the flowers and the wood, nevertheless I love it because of the beauty it brings early in the year.

On Aug 6, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Absolutely stunning in spring, though the flowers don't last as long as one would like. The flowers can be 4-5 inches across and have white to pink coloration from the center outward to the tip of the petal.

Our tree had another tree fall on it just before we moved into our house and, although it has recovered nicely, the shape of the tree will never be the same. It seemed to send up "suckers" from the existing branches.

On Jan 25, 2002, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

The common name "Tulip Tree" is a misnomer. M. soulangiana is a deciduous tree, with beautiful pink blossoms in early spring, before leafing out.

Plant in a protected spot, ideally with partial sun and good air flow to prevent disease. This shrub is a beautiful harbinger of spring in any garden, although the blooming may be sporadic in colder climates, where a late frost is likely.

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