Preserving Magnolia Leaves for the Holidays

December 1, 2008 | By | Comments (4)

Greetings, Thanksgiving survivors! Now that you’re wondering what to do with all of that left-over squirrel, I know you’ll appreciate some helpful holiday decorating tips that will effectively obliterate any free time you have between now and Christmas!

Debbie asks: “We are getting ready to trim some limbs from a scraggly magnolia.  I would love to preserve the leaves for Christmas decorating, but I don’t know how to do it effectively and efficiently.  I will have ten to fifteen branches of varying lengths to work with.  My goal is to preserve them so I can make a garland for my front door or banister. Any quick, cost friendly ideas?”

Answer: If you just want them to look good through the holidays, I would do the following:

1. Wait until the last minute to cut
2. Cut fresh, healthy growth from the ends of the branches
3. Keep the leaves in a cool room out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources

Now, if you want to preserve them long after the holidays are gone, I suggest you use this this link to read very thorough instructions from the Clemson University Extension about using glycerin and a number of other methods to preserve cut material for the holidays. The Grump just loves takinbg advantage of the hard work of others!


  1. D Forgash

    I have heard that you can preserve magnolia with anti freeze rather than glycerine.
    Is this true? How?

    October 12, 2011 at 2:15 pm
  2. Grumpy Gardener (His Magnificence)

    Supposedly, you can place the cut ends of branches in anti-freeze and the branches will absorb it and be preserved. However, as anti-freeze is highly toxic to humans and animals, I don’t recommend using it for this purpose.

    October 13, 2011 at 11:02 am
  3. s browder

    the utility company is going to trim back lower branches of my magnolia. should I have them cut the branches at the trunk or will the branch eventually grow back if cut a foot out from the trunk?

    January 17, 2012 at 1:21 pm
  4. Grumpy Gardener (His Magnificence)

    Cut magnolia branches usually sprout new growth. However, not if you cut them all the way to the trunk.

    January 25, 2012 at 11:02 am