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Magnolia - Hybridisation

Creating your own unique cross

Anyone can hybridise two different magnolia varieties when they are in flower to create a new hybrid (or rather lots of new hybrids) of your own.

Cut and take a flower from one magnolia plant, the ‘Pollen Parent’ and spread the pollen exuding from its stamens onto the stigma (or female reproductive part) of the ‘Seed Parent’ flower on the other magnolia plant.

Then remove all the tepals (petals to you and me!) from the ‘Seed Parent’ flower as well as the male pollen bearing stamens. This should ensure that the ‘Seed Parent’ will not get visited by other winged insects carrying other different pollen as, without the petals, there is nothing to attract them. It will also avoid self fertilisation whereby the flower fertilises itself with its own pollen.

You then clearly mark the twig on which your cross has taken place and hope that the stigma will grow and develop into a seed pod with viable seeds which represent your unique cross. If it does, and there is no guarantee at all that it will, then the seed can be collected in October or November when the seed pod splits and the bright orange individual seeds can easily be seen.
 

1.Select Mag-1 flower, not fully open
1.Select Mag-1 flower, not fully openclick for full image
1.Select Mag-1 flower, not yet fully open.
2. bring Mag-1 flower into the warm.
2. bring Mag-1 flower into the warm.click for full image
2. Bring Mag-1 flower into the warm to encourage pollen production.
3. Remove petals to expose anthers.
3. Remove petals to expose anthers.click for full image
3. Remove petals to expose anthers.
4. Mag-1 with petals removed and anthers covered in pollen
4. Mag-1 with petals removed and anthers covered in pollenclick for full image
4. Mag-1 with petals removed and anthers covered in pollen.
5. Select flower on tree, not fully open, Mag-2
5. Select flower on tree, not fully open, Mag-2click for full image
5. Select Mag-2, find a flower on tree, which is not fully open.
6.open flower to check for insects
6.open flower to check for insectsclick for full image
6. Open flower to check for insects, if present chose another flower.
7. Carefully remove anthers on Mag-2
7. Carefully remove anthers on Mag-2click for full image
7. Carefully remove the anthers on Mag-2, leaving the stigma.
8. Dust the pollen from Mag-1 onto the stigma of Mag-2
8. Dust the pollen from Mag-1 onto the stigma of Mag-2click for full image
8. Dust the pollen from Mag-1 onto the stigma of Mag-2.
9. Remove all the petals on Mag-2 leaving the stigma covered in pollen
9. Remove all the petals on Mag-2 leaving the stigma covered in pollenclick for full image
9. Remove all the petals on Mag-2 leaving the stigma covered in pollen.
13. place bag over, ensuring not to damage stigma.
10. place bag over, ensuring not to damage stigma.click for full image
10. Carefully place bag over stigma and secure. Wait until Autumn.

When you look in October or November you might be lucky enough to find a seed pod.  Click for Further reading on collecting, storing and propagating seeds.


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